I haven't seen The Da Vinci Code yet, but it's fascinating to monitor the jabber circus that surrounds it:
+ The New York Post ran a quotable feast of splendiferous verbiage with "Ron Howard's splendid The Da Vinci Code is the Holy Grail of summer blockbusters: a crackling, fast-moving thriller that's every bit as brainy and irresistible as Dan Brown's controversial best-seller." (If I recall, using the words "blockbuster," "crackling," and "thriller" to describe one movie is like a Trinitarian blessing of perfection.)
+ Cannes reviewed it as "grim," "unwieldy," and "plodding." (Do these reviewers live in the same world or just have an opposite reaction to the panegyric "intellectual thriller"?)
+ A Cannes audience laughed at the film's climactic revelation and showed no reaction whatsoever at the end.
+ The makers felt great pressure to closely follow the book so as not to muck up a made-to-order franchise. (How many times does anyone get to make a movie after 40 million people have already read the book?) Harry Potter never took it on the chin like these guys. Nevertheless movies are a different medium, where literalism can seem boring (to the unwashed masses). (Brainy people like brainy fare though.)
+ The Vatican has called for a boycott of the picture, which is a work of pseudohistorical fiction claiming that "Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and had a child by her, and that elements within the Catholic Church resorted to murder to hide the truth" (Reuters). (Even members of the Magdalene Community don't believe this story. More telling, elements in the Catholic Church have throughout history committed murder, not to mention pedophilia, and in every instance have tried to cover up the truth. This is known as irony.)
+ Conservative Christians all over the world live to pooh-pooh the book, telling everyone to stay away from the movie in droves (or, if one must see it for debunking purposes, at least not to go on opening weekend). Many plan to picket or pass out leaflets outside theatres, or use the movie as an entree to church-sponsored seminars about "the truth behind The Da Vinci Code." (Again, since it a work of fiction, this is known as redundancy.)
+ In the vastly Catholic Philippines, the censors have given the movie an "adult only" rating. (Community standards are an excellent way to say, "We're all adults here, but speak for yourself.")
+ Alfred Molina, who plays the evil bishop, blames the media for the (negative) controversy. (Unlike Ken Lay, or a Palestinian terrorist for that matter, who wants to blame everyone but the one who is actually responsible for his actions, I would blame the book, the author, the director, and the actors -- if blame must be laid -- for creating and promoting a story that is controversial. The media didn't invent the controversy, it merely chronicles the reaction that tens of millions have to a story they find offensive or at least threatening. Molina would never blame the media for positive controversy, so his comments are false, self-serving, or both.)
+ I can believe Ron Howard would make a film that is dull and plodding. Our older Opie doesn't seem to be a cracklin' kind of cracker. Either way, he and Tom Hanks have got the biggest cinematic tiger yet by the tail, so whether or not the movie is truly good is beside the point (for now). It's huge, and the market for a potboiler that doesn't toe the conservative church party line is only beginning to open up.