Thursday, June 1, 2006

The DaVinci Snore


There are critics and Catholics plenty enough blogging about the blasphemy and historical errors that glare in Ron Howard's film adaptation of The DaVinci Code, and I won't reiterate them here. The subject of long standing conspiracies concerning a secret Catholic society's efforts to conceal the true nature of Christ on earth has become a bore as well as cottage industry in publishing, and all I can say to that it's not likely to spur an interest in Renaissance Studies or an examination in core Christian virtues. We are in love with our distractions and special effects, and a mass audience such that that author Dan Brown has reached prefers to be lied to in the name of entertainment rather than grasp a more personal truth from the glibly mentioned philosophies and attempt a better, less consumptive life as a result. Entertainment is fine, of course, but we are being crushed by our banality. The disturbing thing about The DaVinci Code isn't the blasphemy, the errant reading of Catholic history, or even the disrespect it shows towards the Church, but simply that it's a bad movie, a dull movie, a ham-fistedly constructed movie. It's not thrilling, scary, provocative, alluring. For all the racing around, the murders, the frantic scurrying about European cities and mountain ranges, the film is static, and very, very talky, with the experts and priests talking very, very fast to outline the convolutions of this knotted plot. Director Ron Howard's usual graces--pacing, narrative construction, tight editing--
are absent here, and can assume from his absence from the talk show circuit to plug the film that he wanted a safe distance between his name and the mess the DaVinci Code movie turned out to be. A New York Times full page ad last week for the film last week featured star Tom Hanks' name in banner print over the title. One would note the lack of critical blurbs. Under the title , in very small print, were the rest of the credits, and last of all, very tiny, almost invisible,
we find the words "Directed by Ron Howard". It's doubtful Howard's lone and diminutive mention in the ad is due to modesty.

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