Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Dan Brown, where is thy sting?

Cartoon pointed out by Marcelle

At the height of its popularity, people would ask me if I had read The Da Vinci Code.

"No," I would say.

"Why not? Are you afraid that it might test your faith?" the last three words always pronounced half-teasingly half-gravely.

And actually, no. It was simply because I could never get past the first chapter of the book. Dan Brown's writing is simply atrocious, reminiscent of a juvenile Tom Clancy. Oh, yes, he's a bestselling author who could probably buy his own $47-million building in Manhattan, but that won't make me change my opinion.

Luckily, I have friends like Jute to give me a humorous rundown of the book. Unfortunately, it's pretty hard to access that portion of her site owing to her funky template.

So now comes the movie, and after the initial furor...I guess the general reaction I'm seeing on the web is a lot of shrugging and head-scratching. The movie hasn't come to Dumaguete as yet, and my friend tells me there's not a bootleg copy to be found from the usual sources. Even if it does, would it be worth the fuss?

Lauren of Laurganism.com calls for a ban of the movie, but not for the reasons that we think. The indomitable MLQ3 calls the movie a crapfest. He also provides links to Morofilm's reviews, as well as a step-by-step deconstruction from Howstuffworks.com.

Nothing sums it up better than a review from Filmstew:
The feeling moved quickly from one of great anticipation to one of, shockingly, great boredom...instead of the film building to a white knuckle conclusion, it was the audience fidgeting as Da Vinci passed the two-hour mark and unveiled the first of its half-dozen endings...by the time the big climactic moment of the film finally arrived, the audience burst out laughing, as if this were yet another classic bit of Tom Hanks comedy.

All of this is a bit of a letdown. I was actually hoping to see some sparks fly, if only for the philosophical discourse that was to follow, but it looks like I'll be disappointed.

O Dan Brown, where is thy sting? (And Ron Howard, too.)

To close things off with a high geek quotient, here's a piece of code from The Curt Jester, as pointed by Claire:
namespace DVC
{
class DaVinciCode : HolyBloodHolyGrail
{
// Set values, later to be overridden by Dan Brown method
bool monksInOpusDei = false;
bool jesusMarriedMaryMagdalene = false;
bool existenceOfPrioryOfZion = false;
bool bibleCollatedByConstantine = false;
bool nicaeaCreatedDivinityOfChrist = false;
bool gospelsLaterEditedToSupportClaims = false;
bool cupMissingFromLastSupper = false;
bool saintJohnNotInPicture = false;

public void Book()
{
while (peopleWillingToBelieveAnything && christianBashingAcceptable)
{
bookSales++;
movieHype++;
danBrownsBankAccount++;
historicalAccuracy–;
artHistoryAccuracy–;
skepticism–;
badWriting++;

if (asLongAsItIsNotTheVirginMary)
divineFeminineSupport++;

mainStreamMediaChallengeCredibility = false;

string excuse = "It's a fictional book";
string action = "Spend hours writing to debunking books complaining that "
+ excuse;
bool seeContradictionSpendingTimeDefendingFiction = false;
foreach (media outlet in mainStreamMedia)
{
bool freePublicity = true;
bool notPointOutObviousFlaws = true;
bool dontOffendMuslimsAtAllCosts = true;
bool christianBashingOkayThough = true;
bool misrepresentOpusDei = true;
bool askIsJusticeScaliaAMember = true;
}
}
}

}
}


Curt Jester also has other humorous content, including a review of The Baloney Code.

Yes, it's a real book. A parody of a parody. What could be more ironic than that?