Monday, May 22, 2006

eyeCandy: the Da Vinci Code (2006) 4/5

The Da Vinci Code, the movie, is based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown. The story begins with the murder of the curator of the Louvre museum in Paris, a man who was supposed to meet with the film's main protagonist, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (well-played by Tom Hanks), that evening. What results is an intriguing chase through riddles and historical legend to unravel an ongoing battle between the secret Priory of Sion society, whose duty it has been to protect the secret of Holy Grail over the years, and the Opus Dei, "a clandestine, Vatican-sanctioned Catholic organization" (or at least they are in the book - many of the more direct organizational connections have been "softened" in the film in an attempt to avoid provoking the church and its followers - with varying degrees of success), who wish to destroy the secret the Priory has been guarding.

The movie is directed by Ron Howard who, although a little out of his usual element in this thriller, does a capable job of the storytelling (the pacing could be a little tighter) but a laudable job of the film's gorgeous visuals (which include historical recreations of some of the myths examined, as well as some beautiful on-site location shots - I desperately wanted to travel to Europe again after seeing this). Rounding out the main characters in the story are the beautiful French actress Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu, a cryptologist who has a very personal involvement in the case, and the fantastic Ian McKellen, always an absolute pleasure to watch, as the crippled Holy Grail expert, Sir Leigh Teabing. Jean Reno, Paul Bettany, and a few other familiar faces round out the cast.

This film has been largely panned by critics, and I'm just not sure why. Let me say that I have not read the book (though my wife has, and she said the movie played quite close to the book in most instances), so I am not victim to the inevitable "but it's not as good as the book" syndrome. I expect that at least some of this has to be the result of misguided religious sentiment, as the movie (although to a lesser degree than the book, it would seem) certainly presents some ideas that would make any "true believers" more than a little uncomfortable. To this end it must be said that the author, director, and others have taken great pains to explain that this is a work of fiction that, although based on some vague historical evidence, does not profess to be taken as gospel, or so to speak >:-) . Others might want to take a bit of the shine off of golden boys Howard and Hanks, both of who I think perform at least satisfactorily here. I don't know, maybe it's just that I LIKE all the riddles and puzzles, I LIKE the historical interconnectedness - sure, there are some weak points in the movie, but I would expect that anyone who enjoys thrillers and some thought-provoking elements to their films would certainly enjoy the Da Vinci Code.

If someone questioning the mythology of Christian religion bothers you then do us all a favour - go see another movie and leave us to enjoy this one - I, for one, like movies that question established beliefs, and I believe it's this very questioning that should strengthen any belief that is worth believing in.

PS: I don't want to focus on this too much, as I have no problem with anyone believing what they wish (as long as they don't expect me to necessarily share their beliefs), but check out some of the comments for the book Beyond the Da Vinci Code, which examines in further depth some of the topics explored in Dan Brown's novel, for an example of why I find the reaction to these "explorations" frustrating. NOTE: I have NOT read this book either, I just thought it was a useful demonstration of people who take simple questioning as an attack on their values.
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5/22/2006 10:52:00 a.m.  


Anonymous Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Jeff, (ready to switch gears for a conceptual journey?)

Here's a real hot potato! Eat it up, digest it, and then feed it's bones to the hungry...

Pay close attention, profundity knocks at the door, listen for the key. Be Aware! Scoffing causes blindness...

Here is the key to understanding what the Vatican and Papacy truly fear...

There's much more to the story of the Vatican's recent machinations than meets the eye. It's not the DaVinci Code or Gospel of Judas per se, but the fact that people have now been motivated to seek out the unequivocal truth about an age of deception, exactly when they expect me to appear. These recent controversies are spurring people to reevaluate the Vatican/Papacy and the religions that Rome spawned, at the worst possible time for them.

Remember, "I come as a thief..." ?

The DaVinci Code novel and movie are no more inaccurate as literal versions of history than the New Testament. The primary sub-plot involved purposeful symbology being used to encode hidden meanings, exactly like the Bible and related texts. In other words, none of these stories represent the literal truth. This is the common and pivotal fact of all such narratives about ancient Hebrew and Christian history. Debating whether the DaVinci Code, Gnostic texts, or the Bible are accurate history is a purposeful ploy designed to hide the truth by directing your inquiry away from the heart of the matter.

There is a foolproof way to verify the truth and expose centuries-old religious deceptions. It also proves why we can no longer let the Vatican tell us what to think about ancient history or much else. It is the common thread connecting why the ancient Hebrews, Yahad/Essene, Jews, Gnostics, Cathars, Templars, Dead Sea Scrolls, DaVinci Code, and others have been targets of Rome’s ire and evil machinations. The Vatican and its secret society cohorts don’t want you to understand that the ancient Hebrew symbology in all of these texts purposely encodes and exposes the truth about them. Furthermore, the structure of ancient wisdom symbology verifiably encodes the rules to decode messages built with it. This is what they most fear you will discover.

If the Bible represented the literal truth or even accurate history, there would be no need for faith in the assertions of deceptive and duplicitous clergy and their ilk. It is undeniable the New Testament is awash with ancient Hebrew symbolism and allegory. The same is evidenced in the Old Testament, Dead Sea Scrolls, Gnostic texts, biblical apocrypha, Quran, DaVinci Code, and other related sources. All ancient religious, mystical, and wisdom texts have been shrouded in mystery for millennia for one primary reason: The ability to understand their widely evidenced symbology was lost in antiquity. How do we finally solve these ages-old mysteries? To recast an often-used political adage: It’s [the] symbology, stupid!

It is beyond amazing that the Vatican still tries to insist the Gospels are the literal truth. Every miracle purported for Jesus has multiple direct symbolic parallels in the Old Testament, Apocalypse, Dead Sea Scrolls, and other symbolic narratives and traditions. Recasting the symbolism of earlier Hebrew texts as literal events in the New Testament is one of the central deceptions associated with Christianity. This is part of the secret knowledge held by the ancient Gnostics, Templars, Cathars, and others, which is presented with dramatic effect in the DaVinci Code. None of these narratives or stories were ever intended as the literal truth. This fact is the key to unraveling many ages-old mysteries and exposing the truth about the Vatican's long-term deceptions.

Moreover, the following Washington Post article (The Book of Bart) describes how many changes and embellishments were made to New Testament texts over the centuries, unequivocally demonstrating they are not original, infallible, or truthful. When you combine proof that the New Testament Gospels are not wholly literal with proof that these texts were heavily reworked in the early years of Christianity, you are left with only one possible conclusion. The Vatican has long lied to everyone about the central tenets and history of Christianity. This revelation also proves they are not the Creator’s representatives but Her longtime opponents. The recent hoopla over the Gospel of Judas and DaVinci Code demonstrates they are still desperately trying to deceive the world and obfuscate their true nature and activities.

It's no wonder the Vatican fears the truth more than anything else. As further proof of these assertions, seek to understand the symbolic significance of my name (Seven Star Hand) and you will have proof beyond disproof that Jews, Christians, and Muslims have long been duped by the great deceivers I warned humanity about over the millennia. What then is the purpose of "faith" but to keep good people from seeking to understand the truth?

Now comes justice, hot on its heels... (symbolism...)

Revelations from the Apocalypse

May 22, 2006 12:05 p.m.  
Anonymous John said...

We saw it this afternoon, and I like you, not sure I want to delve any further into the validity of the subject matter other than to say it was a movie and I like where it took me for a couple hours of my day, today. And that works fine for me.

May 22, 2006 6:38 p.m.  
Blogger Jeff MacArthur said...

Yeah, I think I'm with you too, John. :-)

As potentially thought-provoking as it might be to dive into this stuff the way Seven Star Hand has (the Washington Post article he links to is interesting), I still look at this as simple food for light-hearted thought (and I try not to pass judgement on people whom I'm asking not to pass judgement on me ;-) ).

Thanks for the comments!


May 22, 2006 8:40 p.m.  
Anonymous Amber Mac said...

Wow - this is the longest comment (first posted) I've ever seen ;-).

Good to see you writing again - keep it up bro!


May 23, 2006 9:32 p.m.  
Blogger Bret Taylor said...

I try to stay far away from Tom Hanks movies anyway, and I haven't read The DaVinci Code, but I did have the misfortune of reading an earlier book of his, Digital Fortress. That one was so bad it was laughable - clumsy dialogue, even clumsier plotting, and a female lead whose IQ kept dropping as the book progressed.

As for the movie in question, I've heard a few art history buffs slagging it for the supposedly factual art history the movie was based around.

May 24, 2006 12:30 a.m.  
Blogger Jeff MacArthur said...

Yeah, we've all seen the diminishing IQ thing occur in movie and movie, but yours is the first reference I've heard of for a book, Bret :-) .

BTW I found a cool Da Vinci Code meets Mac fanatic site...


...It's a pretty funny retake of the Apple site put through a Da Vinci Code lens. Check it out!


May 24, 2006 12:25 p.m.  
Blogger Bret Taylor said...

Here's an example from the other book: the character in question is a genius-level cryptographer working for the National Security Agency. At one point she receives an e-mail from a guy who is apparently the villain, and then sits fretting in front of her computer for seemingly days about how she can possibly get word to her boss.

Who, incidentally, is sitting in front of his computer in his office.

May 24, 2006 3:47 p.m.  

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