A brief review of The Da Vinci Code 19 May 2006
Pastor, Mountain View Christian Church
I saw the movie when it opened May 19th, 2006. Unlike many of the professional reviewers I’ve read, I did not find the movie too "wordy" or that it "explained too much." If anything, the movie proceeded as if it assumed that the viewer had read the book. Having read the book, I noted a number of scenes that were adjusted to be more palatable. Some of the bigger whoppers (outright lies) that Brown uses in his book are missing or dumbed-down in the film. I don’t go to many movies, so I am always easily impressed by the large screen. The pace, setting, and effects of the film were excellent.
My complaint with the film is, of course, with the plot. If it had been any other plot, it would have been a good detective story. But the plot itself, which is supposedly fiction but touted by Dan Brown as factual, is the problem. There are many helpful resources to discover the errors of history, theology, architecture, politics and art in the movie, so I won’t go into that here. It is the not-so-hidden agenda of Brown to re-image Jesus and therefore all of church history that irks many Catholics and Christians. If I were a Roman Catholic, I would be seriously offended by the implications of the film. It borders on slanderous against Catholicism and Opus Dei. To historical, Biblical Christianity it is a crude, ignorant joke; except Brown is neither crude nor ignorant. He knows what he is doing, and the book and movie can only be described as propaganda. Repeat an old lie often enough and with enough technique and soon it will become tomorrow’s truth. The lie in the story is ancient: either Jesus is all divine, but not really human at all; or He, being fully human, is only human. Both of these errors were met in the Nicene Creed.
Not found in the book, is a speech by Hank’s character Langdon after the identity of the grail is revealed. In it, he muses that whether Jesus was divine or human (it can’t be both in Brown’s theology) doesn’t really matter. If belief is helpful, that’s what matters. I could almost hear Lennon’s Imagine in the background.
After the film I saw a lot of stunned looks on the mostly over-50 audience (I saw it at noon). Information flows in this film so fast that it is impossible to counter the propositions stated. Before one can recover from one statement, another assault on faith is at hand. I wouldn’t recommend the movie unless a viewer is prepared to read the book and to delve into the bald misrepresentations that Brown offers there. Most non-Christians are probably too Biblically illiterate to understand the issues, and will just see it as another wave in the flood alternative Jesus stories going about today. The myths of the Da Vinci Code come with such authority and arrogance that the mild protestations of Langdon (Hanks) are swept away.
This movie has given Christians the opportunity to explain the true, historical, ancient and original Gospel. We do not need to become experts in the Da Vinci Code, which will very quickly be yesterday’s news. Rather, we need to be well acquainted with "the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints."
©Scott Jacobsen, 2006. Permission granted to reproduce in entirety, with this note.