Friday, June 09, 2006

the da vinci code

Well - today I handed in my last two assignments of the semester; I have one exam in about two weeks but suddenly I feel free! My friend Katie and I thus went shopping, and we also saw The Da Vinci Code for the first time.

My review: I read the book a few weeks ago and thought it was one of the biggest let-downs I have ever had to suffer. Obviously, being a Christian, I was very skeptical of the content already, but I figured it had to be really well-written and very exciting to make up for the dodgy history, so I was looking forward to reading it.

What a disappointment I underwent. The only thing that keeps the reader interested is the suspense. It is merely a page-turner and once you find out what happens - no more interest. The characters are either one-dimensional (Langdon) or totally amazingly annoyingly cliched (Silas); the writing style is just... I don't know how to describe it - a total lack of mastery of English prose. Maybe not total, but it is noticeably juvenile in its style. I just found it very annoying, the whole way through, that a book like this, which lacks the skill that really makes a book great, should be so popular and so widely-sold. It's depressing, from the point of view of someone whose dream is to be an author, but not to sell out to sensationalist audiences by writing crap.

So I did not expect much of the movie. To my surprise, I enjoyed it better than the book. In a movie format, a page-turner works much better. I thought the acting was generally pretty good, although Tom Hanks disappointed me a little, as I usually expect such a high standard from him. It was the kind of acting that we've seen him do very much in the past; just a little bit been-there-before. Tom, if you're reading, I think you're wonderful, and you're one of my favourite actors ever - I would love to ride off into the sunset with you You've Got Mail-style if I were not only nineteen - but please, please, go back to roles like your ones in The Ladykillers or Road to Perdition! (Well, not like them as such, I'm meaning more unlike them, as in just as original and surprising and amazing and three-dimensional.)

Audrey Tautou I thought was wonderful, as always - I've only seen her in Amelie before but I was not surprised to see her as charismatic as always. Jean Reno - well, I have a secret crush on Jean Reno and think he can do no wrong so I was always going to approve of him. Paul Bettany is someone who is impressing me more and more lately with his versatility; his Silas was a much more interesting character than I ever expected he could be. Ian McKellen of course was technically great, as usual; I especially enjoyed him yelling at Robert Langdon as he got taken off by the police, and his slight sleaziness. All the same, Ian McKellen is the sort of actor I can get sick of - he seems slightly predictable. Eg, I've always loved Judi Dench, but in the latest Pride and Prejudice I felt it was just more of the same from her in the role of Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

I didn't think Langdon's speech at the end was selling out to Christians, as some people have accused the movie-makers of doing. The book itself includes positive aspects of Christianity, and I quote (roughly): 'no one can deny the immense good the Church does in the modern world in charities' (or something like that!), for example. I thought it was nice to see that despite this sensationalist tale (and sensationalists usually seem to me to go over the edge of reason, a la Sir Leigh Teabing), the people telling it were prepared to acknowledge they don't have a monopoly on truth. It makes me a lot more inclined to take what they say seriously, and research it for myself to make my own opinions on the matter. (Although, yes, the people telling the story don't necessarily believe it.)

Photos: something weird is going on where the computer will upload photos onto other posts but not onto this one. So I will put these particular photos up another time.

1 comment:

slskenyon said...

I haven't seen the movie or read the book myself, but when I did pick up the book, I wasn't very interested in the writing style myself, either. Audrey Tautou is a fantastic actress, and I am so glad she was chosen for this role above so many other less talented but more recognizeable actresses (if they put J-Lo in another role like this one, I was going to vomit). I don't think anything was written to offend, but I can see how it can appear that way at times with sensitive subjects like the basis for Christianity. Oh, well, I may shell out the GBP to watch it....why not?