Thoughts to Ponder are my musings regarding community, things of the Spirit, and living as a Christ-follower. I don't offer the words of a professional or an expert; just a fellow traveler and explorer. Please don't take my musings more serious than I do. I've discovered a long time ago that I do not hold the keys of knowledge or wisdom. If I did, I misplaced them somewhere...typical.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Movie Review?

I hope this isn't overkill. My daughter and I went to see The Da Vinci Code today. On the technical aspect: Ron Howard is an incredible director. The visual imagery is stunning. Much of his technique was reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind. I found the flashbacks into Sophia's and Langdon's past effective. Much less effective were the flash-backs to the so-called historical events. They tended to be rather tedius and unnecessary. It was almost an insult to one's own imagination. Let Teabing's storytelling and facial expressions do the job--don't feel obligated to provide a video flashback!

One of those flash-backs was an incredible bit of psuedo-history where Christians were actually rising up in arms against the Roman people before Constantine's legalization of Christianity. So much for meticulous historical research!

My friend Dick Soule may have been right in his post recently when he replied:

"The only thing I might disagree with is your suggestion that the Da Vinci Code is not a major threat. By itself it might not be, but the media feeding frenzy is really unprecedented, and the presentation is sensational.”

While watching the movie—especially during Leigh Teabing's lecture on Leonardo's "Last Supper" (complete with computer graphics) I heard gasps and a few "ahs" from audience members when he highlighted certain images. If one did not know the actual history and background of Leonardo's painting, first century history, and the Gnostic "gospels" it could be quite convincing. This was troubling to say the least.

Fun lines: when Langdon tells Teabing that the Priory of Sion was proved to be bogus in 1967, Teabing fires back: That’s what they want you to believe. Of course, that is the same line every flat-world and every “we-never-made-it-to-the-moon” (ala Capricorn One) conspiracy proponent levels when presented with evidence to the contrary. (I can almost hear Mel Gibson using the same line in Conspiracy Theory).

One line hit me, and I don't remember reading it in the book--but I'm certain it is there: "Ever since there has been one God there has been killing in his name." Obviously that's true, but not exclusively true. Ever since there has been anything (many gods, one God, goddesses, money, property, self) there has been killing for its sake! But to imply the Judeo-Christian concept of one God is, by nature violent compared to polytheism and goddess worship is patently disingenuous. The idea polytheism is inherently peaceful would be news to the ancient Greeks, Romans, Babylonians, Assyrians, Syrians, Egyptians (just pick your ancient polytheistic culture bent on world domination)!

Another line struck me as completely incongruous with the entire message of the movie. Langdon tells Sophia in the end what ultimately matters is that you believe. He references to a time when he was a child drowning in a well how he prayed to Jesus (whom he does not really believe is God)to keep him alive—and, lo and behold, it worked! And yet, the premise of the movie is: Seek the Truth. You cannot have this both ways. If the truth is so all fired important as every character in the movie would have us believe—then what ultimately matters is not whether you believe something—but whether that something is true. Even the Opus Dei villians believed in what they were doing.

George Barna warns movies and films are very persuasive and this is no exception. Again, I do encourage people to see the film—but at the same time: don’t be intellectually lazy!

Overall impression: it was a fun murder-mystery-chase-scene movie. It was an artistically well-done movie. Tom Hanks and Ian McKellan are wonderful actors. It was not a great movie though. If I didn’t think it was important to be current, I would encourage you to wait and rent it on DVD.

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