Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Da Vinci Code

We actually saw Da Vinci Code last weekend –despite the wildly varying reviews, and we really did like it. It’s a bit slow in places, and sometimes there is a “lecture” quality to the dialog but all in all, it was a fun movie, beautifully filmed, and defintely a fun movie. It’s not moviemaking genius, but any means, but who cares? The music is great (I really like Hans Zimmer) and the scenery in Paris and London is great.

I liked the book. It was fast-paced, interesting, and if it was a bit predictable, I still read it in a single sitting. I belong to a number of writers’ forums and the sheer venom directed towards Dan Brown as “a hack”, “the worst writer ever”, “complete trash” is startling. At some level, it starts to sound as if some people don’t like the book simply because it’s so popular. If so many people who normally read Harlequin romances and People magazine liked the book, it obviously can’t have any literary value. Just a wee bit of literary snobbery, in my opinion. Is it good literature? No. In some cases, Brown writes incredibly clunky, amateurish prose. His dialog can be laughable. But the plot is tight and moves quickly and you want to know what happens. He’s a good storyteller, even if he is not an artist with words. I don’t understand the very vocal condemnation of the book based on “historical fact”…c’mon, people. It’s FICTION. Fic-tion. While based on some history, and some rather specious religious conspiracy, there is enough of a plausible story there to make a good novel. Many of the facts are right on and verifiable, and the representation of the history of the christian church is pretty close. But some of the other stuff in the book? A bit harder to support. Brown gets a lot of criticism for gettig some facts wrong (geography, albinos, etc) but on the core stuff he’s pretty close – changing what he needed to make the story work. Because….

Once again, repeat after me…FICTION. The giant hoo-hah from the religious right over banning this movie, or protesting it, and spending so much time trying to “prove” that it was wrong – what a waste of time. All it does is convince people who might not be terribly interested to go see the movie, to see what the hoopla is about.

If your faith is so weak and flimsy as to be threatened by being exposed to alternate views, then perhaps you really do have reason to worry about the impact of the Da Vinci Code. Intelligent people question their beliefs, and consider opposing ideas before just blindly accepting one view. Perhaps that is the problem. If you have to think about something, and there are plausible ideas you need to consider, then you can’t just retreat into the safety of what you’ve been told. I suppose I have to like any book that at least prompts people to start talking about things.

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