The Da Vinci Code

What did I do in my last night in Jakarta? I went to watch the most famous of all current movie 'The Da Vinci Code'. Yup, the movie that you all can't watch in Brunei. I wasn't going to bother watching it but L* who accompanied me to Jakarta said we should try to watch it as watching it on a pirated VCD will not beat watching it on the big screen. Besides we needed to unwind after a whole day of talking about accounting standards with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and fellow ASEAN Standard Setters. I read the book last May and thought it was a fairly okay book. When the movie came out this year, the critics were not really impressed so I thought I won't even bother. But after being persuaded, I thought why not? Better to find out for myself whether it is as bad as they say it is.

We watched it at a cineplex in Plaza Indonesia. First about the cinema. It was fantastic. I couldn't believe a cinema with such huge spaces which was so much bigger than the one even at the Empire. You can stretch out your legs and your legs will come nowhere near the seats in front of you. And the seats were so comfortable, I just couldn't believe these seats were available. I am of a certain size, man, the seat swallowed me. It was the best cinema I have been in. I just can't believe I was in Indonesia. The tickets hurt a bit though, it was 60,000 Rp each which works out to be around $11. A bit steep. But pretty well worth the luxury.

What was the movie all about? If you want to read the book or watch the movie, skip this and the next paragraphs (I am too lazy to describe it, so I borrowed Yahoo's description and amended it). It started with famed Harvard Symbologist Professor Robert Langdon who happened to be in Paris being called to the Louvre museum one night where Saunier, a curator has been murdered, leaving behind a mysterious trail of symbols and clues. With his own survival at stake, Langdon who the French Police thought was responsible for the murder, aided by the police cryptologist Sophie Neveu, unveils a series of stunning secrets hidden in the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, all leading to a covert society dedicated to guarding an ancient secret that has remained hidden for 2000 years.

The pair set off on this quest through Paris, London and Scotland, collecting clues as they desperately attempt to crack the code and reveal secrets that will shake the very foundations of christianity. What was the secret – that Jesus had married Mary Magdalene and had left a bloodline and the bones of Mary Magdalene was kept hidden so that Jesus' divinity can be maintained. At the end of the movie, we found that Sophie Neveu was the living bloodline and the bones of Mary Maydalene was buried under the pyramid shaped thing (I am not really sure what that is) at the Louvre museum.

What did I think of it? I can't find really find the words but I remembered recently reading my favourite newspaper when I studied in America, the Boston Globe which described The Da Vinci Code as follows - “As a film derived from a book, The Da Vinci Code isn't a fiasco on the order of The Bonfire of the Vanities nor is it a triumph a la The Lord of the Rings. Instead, it's an acceptable but uninspired simulacrum.” Yes, it is not a fantastic movie by any stretch of the imagination nor is it as bad as people say it is.

What do I think of the religious theme? Sometimes there is a saying – discretion and silence are the better part of valour. Nuff said.

Comments

LSM said…
Guess who's going to Miri this morning to watch that very same movie ;) I'm curious as to your opinion though: Do you think the ban in Brunei is justified?
Anonymous said…
The plot is offensive to Christians/Catholics but not to Muslims.. In fact the very notion that Jesus Christ is mortal (and therefore not God) is something ingrained in Islam. All our prophets are human. I think the censors were wrong not to let this one through. Obviously they didn't get the movie, n never read the book.
anon said…
If as anonymous claims the plot is offensive to Christians, how can he then go on to say that the "censors were wrong not to let this one through?" Surely those who hold Christian beliefs should be treated with the same respect as those of the Islamic faith, even in an Islamic country. Unless of course, anonymous is suggesting that it was fine for the Danish press to print the cartoons of the Prophet as it was in a nominally Christian country.

The Brunei censorship board should be lauded for not following the example of the Danish government and for doing their best to promote peace and harmony among people of ALL faiths taking sure that gratuitous insults are not slung at any particular one.
shakin head said…
What I found amusing was that the censors have not yet realised that bookstores are still selling the darn book. If they are so concerned about the content why are they not as concerned about the actual book? I am sure that within the hallowed pages of the book there would be more "objectionable" material. Do the censors think that people might actually believe the content just because Tom Hanks says so in the movie? Come on...he's a good actor but not THAT good.
Anonymous said…
I do not know how the Censorship Board work. They banned certain film from being shown in the cinemas and yet they get through to the pirated DVDs/VCDs. Ive seen 'Constantine' being sold at our local Pirated DVDs Megastore in Gadong at any one time. It was supposed to be banned from being screened and yet it was sold. Ive havent read the book but I heard it was suppose to be good. I was planning to watch it here, but unfortunately it is banned. I eish I should have make an effort to watch when I was in KL.
Anyway it is always a sticky matter when a film is made about religion. Remember the film which is directed by Mel Gibson and ADL was very concerned that the film is Anti-Semetic. Anything negative about jew is considered as Anti-Semetic act no matter how true it is. As Muslim, I believe that all prophets are mere mortals and Nabi Isa was borned with Allah's will and is still alive. Hope Da Vinc Code will bear a positive reaction to all of the non-believers.
Anonymous said…
In other pre-dominantly Christian countries they have allowed this movie to show (eg. Philippines), and if what is offensive to one faith one of the backbones in the faith of this country do we hide that away?

I think it's difficult to find the right balance so that religious freedom and religious faith or practice doesn't offend others. So in that sense I agree with the two anonymouses. It's a theory but it coincidentally corresponds with what my religion says about prophets, they are mortal.

But at the end of the day we have to remember that this is still just a movie. =)
Anonymous said…
Piracy over-rules the censorship board. They can only ban movies from showing in the cinemas but wot about the VCDs n DVDs.

On the subject of faith, at the end of the day it is all fiction but the fact that it was brilliantly set in the 'real' world somehow made everyone wonder how true all the facts are.In fact none of it is true. One of the paintings featured in the movie is the clue. If you are so intrigued by it google it *LOL*

As I've read the book I found the movie rather boring as they've made changes from the beginning of the story. I managed to catch the movie in London before heading back to Brunei after attending a meeting The Bahamas. Everyone came out of the cinema utterly disgusted by a waste of 9.50 pounds. because they've read the book.

Truth behold everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. As it is... quote 'at the end of the day it is just a movie'.
Hafizah said…
I watched it yesterday. Though I read the book and knew which parts were missing(as like all movies based on books), I'm pretty happy with the movie.

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