Thursday, May 18, 2006

the da vinci code

this weekend everyone's going to be talking about the rain and the da vinci code. i'll save the rain for another day. since i'm still a bit bitter from yesterday's blogging experience, i'm not going to bother with writing; i'm just going to hawk a list of thoughts:

the good
1. the movie raises some intriguing theological issues.
2. it's fun to see mainstream seattlelites watching a film that references the nicene council or other fourth century fragments of christian history.
3. for that matter, the movie makes you think, 'gosh, does that jive with what i learned in christian history with the evil dr. ferreiro?' in other words, it almost makes one seek further learning. almost. despite the da vinci code, my christian history text books are still gathering dust...
4. no sex, (almost) no distracting love story, no swearing, no man-eating alligators
5. there are moments where audrey tatou (aka amelie) is cute--not necessarily physically, just in her french mannerisms.

the bad
1. there's too much crammed into this movie. things move unnaturally fast (it happens all in one day) and seem to lack sophistication or development. the pacing just didn't give me a chance to jump in and experience the action for myself.
2. despite tom hanks' supposed versatility as an actor, i don't think he adds much to this role. he doesn't play it bad, but he doesn't play it particularly good. perhaps this is because the film's dialogue is chiefly composed of one-liners and cheesy filler. we never learn anything about these characters -- what makes them tick? WHO are they? -- except for their tragic pasts. moreover, hanks' historian fellow appears to have confused himself with the freaky girl from the ring two.
3. sean (aka msn) tells me that thousands and thousands of americans take dan brown's fiction for fact. i wonder whether that will be true of the movie. in my opinion, the plot had the requisite number of coincidences and lucky escapes for an ordinary action movie. in other words, there were times that i consciously had to suspend my sense of reality. since i was already skeptical of the theological issues in the film, this typical action movie paradigm may have further wounded my ability to swallow all of the artsy/spiritual clues. but it was an interesting ride.
4. ...except when i got confused. at the moment i'm teeter-tottering between saying that the film was too mysterious and not mysterious enough. what i mean is that i don't think it would make a very good poker player; it showed its cards at some of the wrong times. it's tough to explain what i mean without spoiling the plot, but i think the film fails to clearly differentiate between the two key mysterious groups that shadow hanks and tatou.
5. this will make no sense if you don't know the da vinci code's premise. i might be missing something, but it seems like everyone in the film has a distorted view of the theological consequences of the grail. the movie's vision of the grail would lead to serious philosophical questions, but all of the characters seem to think that the nature of the grail also reflects the nature of Jesus. that is, the movie tries to wrestle with the question, 'is Jesus human or God? does it matter?' and it seems to think that the nature of the grail will answer those questions. i may be missing something, but establishing Jesus's divinity or lack thereof based upon the nature of the grail seems like a major (and fairly obvious) logical flaw. so why are all these characters stressing out? :)
6. i think the film wants to preach a gospel of peace and gender equality. it tries to raise mary magadelen to mother mary heights and to provide some kind of link between women and salvation. something like that. anyway, in this context, i thought that it was funny that the female protagonist hardly solves anything in this movie while hanks--the guy--is again and again the hero of the night.

the ordinary
1. ultimately this film is entertaining. it may even make you think a bit. but, grinch that i am, i felt no need to join our theater as they clapped through the first few credits.

andrew david 'a clue' mismaloya, mexico.

4 comments:

rebecca said...

Hey everyone, I have a Da Vinci code related theological question:

If Jesus did get married, or get married and have children, would that be Biblically consistent? Are there verses in the Bible that would argue for or against? I can
see an argument for both.

beth said...

Not sure about the marriage question, but here's another one. Your mention of Mary the mother of Jesus sparked this question: Isn't it interesting that Mary is a very important figure in the Catholic church, and the DaVinci code never even touched on that fact? If the church were trying to suppress the femine side of the divine, why does it elevate the Virgin Mary to a status high enough to incur the criticism of the Protestant church (and does this make the Protestant church even more the villain, according to Dan Brown standards)?
Unrelated bit of information: Andrew, the song I was telling you about is called Mushaboom; the artist is Feist. And get this: she's done vocals for The Kings of Convenience. No wonder it stood out to me.

andrew said...

REBECCA,

i really can't think of any biblical passages that would validate or refute the idea of Christ having kids. i'd actually be a bit surprised if there were passages that were relevant without making a number of acrobatic interpretive leaps.

from a philosophical perspective a Christ kidred would obviously pose a few problems. i'm thinking aloud here, but does it make sense that Christ would marry and have kids if he had some idea of his purpose on earth (or even impending death)? would that be a loving God? --also, if my sense of the gospels is correct, Jesus began (and ended) his ministry in his early thirties. it would be during this time that he first met mary mag. the gospels skip the awkward teen years and young twenties but seem a lot mroe detailed during the mary mag years. this seems important-- would a marriage to mary mag be consistent with Jesus's call to leave one's family and follow God? i forget what else i was going to say...

BETH,

as you know, i entirely agree with your merry point.

hmmm...i'll see if i can find a sample of her music and see what i think.

rebecca said...

ANDREW:

I feel what you're saying. But specifically because we know so little about Jesus' teens and twenties, what if he married someone then (not mary mag.) and had kids? Jesus called some of his disciples away from their wives and children to follow him, and some were martyred. I agree that the knowledge that Jesus had that he would be crucified is significant, although not everyone believes the Bible teaches that Jesus knew his whole story while on earth. I have a "gut feeling" that someone who was fully God and fully man marrying a human would be wrong--on the other hand, people used to think that interracial marriage was just "wrong" (this analogy has obvious problems, but my point is to look to the Bible for an answer over "I feel this way" etc).

BETH:

Well, the DaVinci code is obviously swiss cheese full of holes--it's fiction, after all! A devil's advocate counter answer is that Mary, the mother of God, was elevated into the ultimate wife/mother role--in other words, the highest you can acheive as a woman is to be a good wife and mother (or, not a disciple or teacher). Whether that's a valid statement is, of course, up for debate.