Wandering around the video store (which despite the absence of videos I cannot seem to start calling the DVD store) with instructions to “grab a movie to watch tonight”, I ended up renting The Da Vinci Code – not with any great hopes of it being a good movie, but judging that as Husband had read the book he may find it less objectionable than Serenity (aka cowboys in space), which I also rented to re-watch. We agreed that while The Da Vinci Code was terribly written, perhaps the story was exciting enough to make a good movie.
“I don’t think,” I mused after watching Paul Bettany screaming in agony while strapping a length of hooks onto his calf, “that the insane albino monk character quite works on screen.” Said insane monk is easier to accept on the page – watching him creep about in brown hooded cloak and sandals, in the decidedly modern streets of Paris and London, is ludicrous. Inspired by the pages and pages of exposition the book suffers from, Tom Hanks as the smug Robert Langdon finds it necessary to provide short lectures on various subjects which sound just as awkward as they do in the book. While the bewildered and troubled Sophie does her best on behalf of the audience to ask our incredulous questions – “The who? The what?” – it is difficult to get worked up about their quest. Why do we care who the current descendant of Jesus is? Particularly when the “royal bloodline” is going to be rather watered down several thousand years later. The answer seems to be, “Because the bad guys do – look, they’re trying to kill us!”, which I don’t find particularly satisfactory.
And why – which is never explained – is there only one descendant? Have the bad guys been so diligent in killing off Jesus’ great-great-great-etcs that we’ve ended up with one left? I find that hard to believe – and I can’t remember how or if Brown resolves that in the book. And the good guys, who so diligently protect Jesus’ progeny, also apparently have a penchant for pagan sex rituals. Make up your mind, lads – you’re either sacrificing your lives to protect the Christian bloodline, or you’re getting in on pre-Christian rituals. One or the other, please.
A fairly dreadful movie, although amusing in parts (most of those involving Paul Bettany’s insane albino monk). Neither of us feel any great compunction to read Brown’s sequel, scheduled for publication later this year, although I probably will at some point. It would be interesting, after all the criticism of Brown’s writing (I particularly liked Stephen Fry’s “arse gravy of the worst kind” description) whether he has changed anything for this book – although why change a formula that works, I suppose.