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The Da Vinci Code

Media reports about the movie.

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Dan Brown, "The Da Vinci Code"

Read reviews or order the hardcover book safely from Amazon.com online book store. It is also available in paperback and other formats

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Media reports:

bullet2005-DEC-07: Roman Catholic priest comments on consultant role: Father Richard McBrien, a theology professor and Roman Catholic priest, is employed by Sony Pictures as a consultant for the Da Vinci Code movie. On 2003-NOV-03, he contributed to an ABC Documentary "Jesus, Mary and Da Vinci." His participation generated a great deal of emotional reaction from persons "across the religious spectrum." He wrote in a DEC-01 column about the concept that Jesus married Mary Magdalene:

"I think what bothered most critics was the fact that the question [of Jesus being married] was even being raised and that I was open to discussing it." 1

bullet2006-MAR-23: Sony Pictures start public-relations program: Aware of the strong probability of anger by conservative Christians against the Da Vinci Code movie, Sony and the film's producer -- Imagine Entertainment -- hired Grace Hill Media to create a web sites:  http://www.thedavincidialogue.com They contain essays written by about four dozen religious leaders from Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant denominations. Opus Dei was asked to contribute, but they declined the offer. The web site has taken on controversial topics within The Da Vinci Code. They offer resources for congregations and para-church groups  2
bullet2006-MAY-16: France: Movie premieres at Cannes Film Festival: The Sony Pictures movie "The Da Vinci Code" premiered at Cannes on Tuesday evening.

Director Ron Howard said:

"There's no question that the film is likely to be upsetting to some people. My advice since virtually no one has really seen the movie yet, is to not go see the movie if you think you're going to be upset. Wait, talk to someone who has seen it. Discuss it,. And then arrive at an opinion about the movie itself."

When the cast were asked if they believed that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married, Tom Hanks commented: "Well, I wasn't around."3

bullet2006-MAY-16: Critics pan movie: Movie critics were not kind in their reviews of The Da Vinci Code:
bulletBaz Barnnigboye, London Daily Mail: "If you want so see a movie about the Holy Grail, see Indiana Jones."
bulletLina Hamchaoui, IRN radio: "...really disappointing. The dialogue was cheesy."
bulletKirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter: "Da Vinci never rises to the level of a guilty pleasure."
bulletChristy Lemire, Associated Press: "Hanks...can't work miracles when he's got nothing to work with."
bulletReuters: "Plodding."
bulletStephen Schaefer, Boston Herald: "Nothing really works...It's certainly not fun."
bulletJoe Utichi, FilmFocus.co.uk: "A flawed and lifeless adaptation."
bulletTimeout: "A movie marriage made in Hell."
bulletVariety: "Lurid material sucked dry by a desperately solemn approach." 4
bullet2006-MAY-16: France: Actors' comments during press conference: The focus of the press conference following the world premiere was on the movie's potential to cause a controversy.
bulletTom Hanks, the lead actor, said: "There's no doubt about it that it is controversial to a degree. But again, it's to a degree....It still comes down to a conversation between two people in a dark and secret room, And there have been a lot of conversations like that in the world....[The film is] a great opportunity to discuss and to perhaps clarify one's own individual feelings about his place in the universe and in the cosmos, as well as in the mind of God...This is not a documentary."
bulletRon Howard, the director, said: "People who think things are true might be more dangerous than people who ponder the possibilities of maybe they are and maybe they aren't...There's no question that the film is likely to be upsetting to some people. My advice, since virtually no one has really seen the movie yet, is to not go se the movie if you think you're going to be upset...This is supposed to be entertainment...It's not theology. I don't think it should be understood as such. Yes, it stimulates conversation, but that's what good fiction does. And I think that, in that spirit, it's ultimately a positive kind of story."
bulletAlfred Molina, who plays Roman Catholic Bishop Aringarosa, said: "Everyone that bought this books bought this in the fiction department...I think it's been pressure from the media to find a story that somehow feels juicy and sexy. In fact, the truth is, the controversy hasn't materialized."
bulletIan McKellen, who plays Sir Leigh Teabing, commented on an angle that has not been widely discussed: "When I put the book down, I thought: 'What a load of p0otential codswallop.' And that's still going on in my mind. I'm very happy to believe that Jesus was married. And I know the Catholic Church has problems with gay people and I thought this would be absolute proof that Jesus was not gay." 4
bullet2006-MAY-19: The movie is released worldwide -- almost: The movie "The Da Vinci Code" was released to theatres in the U.S., the UK, Canada. Elsewhere in the world, it was released on various dates, ranging from MAY-17 to MAY-20. It will be screened in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar on JUN-06. A video game is being created by 2k Games; it will be released at the same time as the movie. 5
bullet2006-MAY-19: Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman comments on his work: Commenting on the controversy swirling around the movie, Goldsman said:

"I am intrigued, certainly. Anybody to whom it will be offensive or unpleasant, I hope they avoid it. Clearly our attempt has never been to create or cause despair. What I hope is that people who like to have a fun afternoon at the movies can play around with ideas of how history might have or might not have played out."

He recalls only one protestor during the movie production: an outraged, motorcycle-riding nun who turned out to be an impostor. 6

bullet2006-MAY-19: Christian Science Monitor's film critic not impressed: Peter Rainer writes, in part:

"With the glorious exception of Ian McKellen, who plays the Grail expert Sir Leigh Teabing with cranky panache, the rest of the cast is dull. That includes Jean Reno as a French police captain and Alfred Molina as a bishop in the Catholic sect Opus Dei."

"Hanks never cracks a smile, as if to do so would expose the shallowness of the material. In what is perhaps a sop to the book's critics, Robert has been made more disputatious and spiritually inclined. Tautou, who is given little to do but look pretty, is colorless."

"In the book, both Sophie and Robert are constantly exercising their wits in order to solve a series of cryptographic puzzles. In the movie, the puzzle-solving is kept to a minimum. What this means is that the film lacks the deductive appeal of the book - the way it compelled you to match wits with the protagonists." 7

bullet2006-MAY-23: Another movie planned: Sony allegedly is planning to make a movie of another novel by author Dan Brown. It will be of his year 2000 novel "Angels and Demons" which involves a secret group, the Illuminati, trying to plant a bomb at the Vatican. 8

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Kate Antonacci, "Professor consults for 'The Da Vinci Code'," The Observer, 2005-DEC-07, at: http://www.ndsmcobserver.com/
  2. John Lippman, "Da Vinci Damage Control," Wall Street Journal, 2006-MAR, at:  http://online.wsj.com/ (Subscription required).
  3. "Film premiere sparks protests," Associated Press, 2006-MAY-17.
  4. Geoff Pevere, "It's just a movie, folks," Toronto Star, 2006-MAY-18, Page A29'
  5. "Worldwide Release Dates, The Da Vinci Code," at: http://www.sonypictures.com/
  6. Ron Dicker, "Cracking 'The Da Vinci Code'," Forward magazine, 2006-MAY-19, at: http://www.forward.com/
  7. Peter Rainer, "Da invincible 'Code' falters on the big screen," The Christian Science Monitor, 2006-MAY-19, at: http://www.csmonitor.com/
  8. "After 'Da Vinci' success, Sony plans film based on another novel by Brown," Agence France Presse, 2006-MAY-23. at: http://news.yahoo.com/

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Copyright © 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2006-MAY-18
Latest update: 2006-MAY-27
Author: B.A. Robinson

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