"The Da Vinci Code": Sounds Boring

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Is you going to see this here flick?

For sure-at least it don't have no Tom Cruise in it.
6
50%
Oy vey! The Jews is gonna be blamed for this. NO!!
6
50%
 
Total votes: 12

Ralph
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"The Da Vinci Code": Sounds Boring

Post by Ralph » Wed May 17, 2006 9:06 pm

From The New York Times:

May 17, 2006
MOVIE REVIEW
A 'Da Vinci Code' That Takes Longer to Watch Than Read
By A. O. SCOTT

CANNES, France, May 17 — It seems you can't open a movie these days without provoking some kind of culture war skirmish, at least in the conflict-hungry media. Recent history — "The Passion of the Christ," "The Chronicles of Narnia" — suggests that such controversy, especially if religion is involved, can be very good business. "The Da Vinci Code," Ron Howard's adaptation of Dan Brown's best-selling primer on how not to write an English sentence, arrives trailing more than its share of theological and historical disputation.

The arguments about the movie and the book that inspired it have not been going on for millennia — it only feels that way — but part of Columbia Pictures' ingenious marketing strategy has been to encourage months of debate and speculation while not allowing anyone to see the picture until the very last minute. Thus we have had a flood of think pieces on everything from Jesus and Mary Magdalene's prenuptial agreement to the secret recipes of Opus Dei, and vexed, urgent questions have been raised: Is Christianity a conspiracy? Is "The Da Vinci Code" a dangerous, anti-Christian hoax? What's up with Tom Hanks's hair?

Luckily I lack the learning to address the first two questions. As for the third, well, it's long, and so is the movie. "The Da Vinci Code," which opened the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, is one of the few screen versions of a book that may take longer to watch than to read. (Curiously enough Mr. Howard accomplished a similar feat with "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" a few years back.)

To their credit the director and his screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman (who collaborated with Mr. Howard on "Cinderella Man" and "A Beautiful Mind"), have streamlined Mr. Brown's story and refrained from trying to capture his, um, prose style. "Almost inconceivably, the gun into which she was now staring was clutched in the pale hand of an enormous albino with long white hair." Such language — note the exquisite "almost" and the fastidious tucking of the "which" after the preposition — can live only on the page.

To be fair, though, Mr. Goldsman conjures up some pretty ripe dialogue all on his own. "Your God does not forgive murderers," Audrey Tautou hisses to Paul Bettany (who play a less than enormous, short-haired albino). "He burns them!"

Theology aside, this remark can serve as a reminder that "The Da Vinci Code" is above all a murder mystery. And as such, once it gets going, Mr. Howard's movie has its pleasures. He and Mr. Goldsman have deftly rearranged some elements of the plot (I'm going to be careful here not to spoil anything), unkinking a few over-elaborate twists and introducing others that keep the action moving along.

Hans Zimmer's appropriately overwrought score, pop-romantic with some liturgical decoration, glides us through scenes that might otherwise be talky and inert. The movie does, however, take a while to accelerate, popping the clutch and leaving rubber on the road as it tries to establish who is who, what they're doing and why.

Briefly stated: An old man (Jean-Pierre Marielle) is killed after hours in the Louvre, shot in the stomach, almost inconceivably, by a hooded assailant. Meanwhile Robert Langdon (Mr. Hanks), a professor of religious symbology at Harvard, is delivering a lecture and signing books for fans. He is summoned to the crime scene by Bezu Fache (Jean Reno), a French policemen who seems very grouchy, perhaps because his department has cut back on its shaving cream budget.

Soon Langdon is joined by Sophie Neveu, a police cryptographer and also — Bezu Fache! — the murder victim's granddaughter. Grandpa, it seems, knew some very important secrets, which if they were ever revealed might shake the foundations of Western Christianity, in particular the Roman Catholic Church, one of whose bishops, the portly Aringarosa (Alfred Molina) is at this very moment flying on an airplane. Meanwhile the albino monk, whose name is Silas and who may be the first character in the history of motion pictures to speak Latin into a cellphone, flagellates himself, smashes the floor of a church and kills a nun.

A chase, as Bezu's American colleagues might put it, ensues. It skids through the nighttime streets of Paris and eventually to London the next morning, with side trips to a Roman castle and a chateau in the French countryside. Along the way the film pauses to admire various knickknacks and art works, and to flash back, in desaturated color, to traumatic events in the childhoods of various characters (Langdon falls down a well; Sophie's parents are killed in a car accident; Silas stabs his abusive father).

There are also glances further back into history, to Constantine's conversion, to the suppression of the Knights Templar and to that time in London when people walked around wearing powdered wigs.

Through it all Mr. Hanks and Ms. Tautou stand around looking puzzled, leaving their reservoirs of charm scrupulously untapped. Mr. Hanks twists his mouth in what appears to be an expression of professorial skepticism and otherwise coasts on his easy, subdued geniality. Ms. Tautou, determined to ensure that her name will never again come up in an Internet search for the word "gamine," affects a look of worried fatigue.

In spite of some talk (a good deal less than in the book) about the divine feminine, chalices and blades, and the spiritual power of sexual connection, not even a glimmer of eroticism flickers between the two stars. Perhaps it's just as well. When a cryptographer and a symbologist get together, it usually ends in tears.

But thank the deity of your choice for Ian McKellen, who shows up just in time to give "The Da Vinci Code" a jolt of mischievous life. He plays a wealthy and eccentric British scholar named Leigh Teabing. (I will give Mr. Brown this much: he's good at names. If I ever have twins or French poodles, I'm calling them Bezu and Teabing for sure.)

Hobbling around on two canes, growling at his manservant, Remy (Jean-Yves Berteloot), Teabing is twinkly and avuncular one moment, barking mad the next. Sir Ian, rattling on about Italian paintings and medieval statues, seems to be having the time of his life, and his high spirits serve as something of a rebuke to the filmmakers, who should be having and providing a lot more fun.

Teabing, who strolls out of English detective fiction by way of a Tintin comic, is a marvelously absurd creature, and Sir Ian, in the best tradition of British actors slumming and hamming through American movies, gives a performance in which high conviction is indistinguishable from high camp. A little more of this — a more acute sense of its own ridiculousness — would have given "The Da Vinci Code" some of the lightness of an old-fashioned, jet-setting Euro-thriller.

But of course movies of that ilk rarely deal with issues like the divinity of Jesus or the search for the Holy Grail. In the cinema such matters are best left to Monty Python. In any case Mr. Howard and Mr. Goldsman handle the supposedly provocative material in Mr. Brown's book with kid gloves, settling on an utterly safe set of conclusions about faith and its history, presented with the usual dull sententiousness.

So I certainly can't support any calls for boycotting or protesting this busy, trivial, inoffensive film. Which is not to say I'm recommending you go see it.

"The Da Vinci Code" is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). It has some violent killings and a few profanities.

The Da Vinci Code

Opens tomorrow worldwide.

Directed by Ron Howard; written by Akiva Goldsman, based on the novel by Dan Brown; director of photography, Salvatore Totino; edited by Dan Hanley and Mike Hill; music by Hans Zimmer; production designer, Allan Cameron; produced by Brian Grazer and John Calley; released by Columbia Pictures. Running time: 148 minutes.

WITH: Tom Hanks (Robert Langdon), Audrey Tautou (Sophie Neveu), Ian McKellen (Sir Leigh Teabing), Jürgen Prochnow (Vernet), Paul Bettany (Silas), Jean Reno (Bezu Fache) and Alfred Molina (Bishop Aringarosa).
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu May 18, 2006 12:40 am

I balked as soon as I heard they had cast Tom Hanks as the prof. He just didn't fit my mental image. I was thinking more along the lines of William Hurt, or John Hurt. I can probably wait. I heard tonight that people laughed at some of the serious parts. Howard's golden touch may have eluded him here.

You need a "maybe" in your poll.
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Post by jbuck919 » Thu May 18, 2006 1:34 am

Corlyss_D wrote:I balked as soon as I heard they had cast Tom Hanks as the prof. He just didn't fit my mental image. I was thinking more along the lines of William Hurt, or John Hurt. I can probably wait. I heard tonight that people laughed at some of the serious parts. Howard's golden touch may have eluded him here.

You need a "maybe" in your poll.
I'll go as soon as I can, which is iffy here. And I agree about Tom Hanks.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Post by david johnson » Thu May 18, 2006 3:42 am

the book was fun & the movie will be, too.
i don't trust critics to evaluate music...why in the world would i think they know an entertaining flick when they see it? too many times they've proven to me that they confuse their opinions with truth.
i'll make up my own mind.
hans zimmer writes effective movie music.

ah, roasted critic...yum.

dj

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Post by Gary » Thu May 18, 2006 4:27 am

Umm...am I the only one on the planet who still hasn't read the book? :roll:
"Your idea of a donut-shaped universe intrigues me, Homer; I may have to steal it."

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Post by Ralph » Thu May 18, 2006 6:26 am

Gary wrote:Umm...am I the only one on the planet who still hasn't read the book? :roll:
*****

Hurry up before the sequel, "The Elliott Carter Code," hits the shelves.
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Post by mourningstar » Thu May 18, 2006 7:21 am

I am reading the book right now.. Funny, People don't seem to understand that it's just FICTION. :lol: I am anxious to see the movie though, but i wil hold up my desire and wait till i finished the book, i am already 200 pages deep. . so it won't be long :wink:
"Desertion for the artist means abandoning the concrete."

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu May 18, 2006 1:21 pm

mourningstar wrote:I am reading the book right now.. Funny, People don't seem to understand that it's just FICTION. :lol: I am anxious to see the movie though, but i wil hold up my desire and wait till i finished the book, i am already 200 pages deep. . so it won't be long :wink:
I don't understand the reaction to the book either. It's a good read, nothing more. I watched a series of lectures - 2 years old! - on BYU TV recently parsing the theology, including the Goddess movement. I've seen many documentaries on it, early christianity, Templars, and the Gnostic gospels all in an effort to contextualize the book. It's all been very interesting and informative - any chance to hear Elaine Pagels is a good thing. But really, it's only a story.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu May 18, 2006 1:23 pm

david johnson wrote:hans zimmer writes effective movie music.
Uh oh. I may have to see it soon after all.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu May 18, 2006 1:24 pm

Gary wrote:Umm...am I the only one on the planet who still hasn't read the book? :roll:
Yeah! Get with the program, man! 8) What are you going to have to say for yourself around the water cooler?
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Post by Lark Ascending » Thu May 18, 2006 2:53 pm

I haven't read it either, it doesn't appeal to me, although seeing as the film has incurred the wrath of the religious ban everything brigade it may be worth a look.
"Look here, I have given up my time, my work, my friends and my career to come here and learn from you, and I am not going to write a petit menuet dans le style de Mozart." - Ralph Vaughan Williams to Maurice Ravel

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu May 18, 2006 2:56 pm

Lark Ascending wrote:I haven't read it either, it doesn't appeal to me, although seeing as the film has incurred the wrath of the religious ban everything brigade it may be worth a look.
The rage is all doctrinal. I'm interested in the subjects, especially Gnostic chrisitanity, so there's a hook for me.

Love your sig, Lark.
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Post by Lark Ascending » Thu May 18, 2006 3:14 pm

Thank you. I took it from the Vaughan Williams section in Harold C. Sconberg's The Lives of the Great Composers. He and Ravel must have been like chalk and cheese together - what the elegant little Frenchman made of a big bluff Englishman who, as someone anonymously stated, "dressed as though stalking the folk song to its lair," is anybody's guess.
"Look here, I have given up my time, my work, my friends and my career to come here and learn from you, and I am not going to write a petit menuet dans le style de Mozart." - Ralph Vaughan Williams to Maurice Ravel

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Post by Gary » Thu May 18, 2006 4:11 pm

Ralph wrote:
Gary wrote:Umm...am I the only one on the planet who still hasn't read the book? :roll:
*****

Hurry up before the sequel, "The Elliott Carter Code," hits the shelves.
Corlyss_D wrote:Yeah! Get with the program, man!8) What are you going to have to say for yourself around the water cooler?
Oh, peer pressure. :)
"Your idea of a donut-shaped universe intrigues me, Homer; I may have to steal it."

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Post by Mark Antony Owen » Thu May 18, 2006 5:28 pm

Gary wrote:Umm...am I the only one on the planet who still hasn't read the book? :roll:
I haven't bothered, either. Saw a fascinating documentary or 12 some years back, so I feel no compulsion. And if I want 'murder-mystery', who better than Agatha Christie (God, I love Poirot!)?

I have plenty of texts dealing far more intriguingly with religious symbols and their hidden meanings. Corylss knows what I'm on about. :wink:
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Post by mourningstar » Thu May 18, 2006 5:40 pm

And people, if we all are tired of the religion thing. We must go back in time and read "Rousseau's : Emile" its a good read. its funny. but brutal in really weird way.
It's a nightmare for feminist, A literature one that is :lol:
"Desertion for the artist means abandoning the concrete."

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Post by Gary » Thu May 18, 2006 5:40 pm

shadowritten wrote:I have plenty of texts dealing far more intriguingly with religious symbols and their hidden meanings. Corylss knows what I'm on about. :wink:
You mean that "theosophy" stuff that only you and Corylss know about? :wink:
"Your idea of a donut-shaped universe intrigues me, Homer; I may have to steal it."

--Stephen Hawking makes guest appearance on The Simpsons

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Post by Mark Antony Owen » Thu May 18, 2006 5:58 pm

Gary wrote:
shadowritten wrote:I have plenty of texts dealing far more intriguingly with religious symbols and their hidden meanings. Corylss knows what I'm on about. :wink:
You mean that "theosophy" stuff that only you and Corylss know about? :wink:
And more, Gary. So much more ...
"Neti, neti."

Formerly known as 'shadowritten'.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu May 18, 2006 9:36 pm

Gary wrote:You mean that "theosophy" stuff that only you and Corylss know about? :wink:
Yes. It's so nice to have someone to nudge in the ribs and smile slyly at.
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Brendan

Post by Brendan » Fri May 19, 2006 12:10 am

Some others know, but aren't enthusiasts. For theosophy I like Boheme in small doses and few others.

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Post by mourningstar » Fri May 19, 2006 5:03 am

1 Question, : is the Opus Dei really corrupted and maffia-esque? :roll:
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Post by jbuck919 » Fri May 19, 2006 11:23 am

mourningstar wrote:1 Question, : is the Opus Dei really corrupted and maffia-esque? :roll:
No. It is part of the fiction. There is also no skyscraper in New York City that is the HQ of this organization, though the most impressive high rise building in New Haven, Connectitut really is the headquarters of the Knights of Columbus.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Post by mourningstar » Fri May 19, 2006 11:26 am

Yeah, but At the first pages, you have a special page, summoning all the facts that are true, they say Opus Dei exist, which i knew, but they don't say that they are not corrupted and maffia-esque :roll:
"Desertion for the artist means abandoning the concrete."

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Post by DavidRoss » Fri May 19, 2006 11:30 am

It’s a tough call. Could we have a voting option that says “I probably won’t waste my time seeing it even though it doesn’t feature Tom Cruise?”

There’s so much resentment against wildly successful schlock books, and so much prejudice one way or another over the silly religious claptrap in the story, that damned near every reviewer’s judgment is suspect. Even so, Peter Travers hated it and Rogert Ebert liked it, so it probably stinks. And though it's unlikely that a movie with a strong cast and directed by Ron Howard would be an absolute stinker, if you've seen The Missing you know just how bad a movie can smell. (Far and Away was burdened with Tom Cruise, and damned few flicks ever overcome that handicap!)

Still, I might have to see it: my wife has already made plans. She’s frightfully smart and a fine musician with wonderful taste in many respects (she married me, didn’t she?), but she has an incomprehensible weakness for trashy disaster movies…and this one promises to be both trashy and a disaster!
"Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." ~Leo Tolstoy

"It is the highest form of self-respect to admit our errors and mistakes and make amends for them. To make a mistake is only an error in judgment, but to adhere to it when it is discovered shows infirmity of character." ~Dale Turner

"Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either." ~Albert Einstein
"Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end, there it is." ~Winston Churchill

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Post by jbuck919 » Fri May 19, 2006 11:39 am

mourningstar wrote:Yeah, but At the first pages, you have a special page, summoning all the facts that are true, they say Opus Dei exist, which i knew, but they don't say that they are not corrupted and maffia-esque :roll:
Both of Dan Brown's novels begin with pages listing that kind of thing. It is part of his attempt to lend verisimilitude to his fiction. It is, in fact, part of the fiction, since he knows perfectly well that he is misrepresenting the Illuminati, Opus Dei, etc. I suspect, though I do not know, that he set out to entice relatively educated persons who might also have been readers of the novels of Umberto Eco. Well, he probably got most of them, but he also got a whole lot of readers who believe in UFO abductions because they read it somewhere. He's made a lot of money from it, so you don't see him going on Letterman to deny that he ever intended it to go that way. On the other hand, maybe he did, but he still never intended it to be anything but fiction.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Post by lmpower » Fri May 19, 2006 11:50 am

I haven't read the Da Vinici Code either. I consider it a trivial and insignificant piece of fiction.

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Post by lmpower » Fri May 19, 2006 11:54 am

We're all Jesus' children
'Da Vinci Code' got its genealogy wrong. If anyone is descended from Jesus, it's all of us.
By Steve Olson, STEVE OLSON is the author of "Mapping Human History: Genes, Race, and Our Common Origins."
May 19, 2006


DOES JESUS have a secret line of descendants who are living today? It's an oddly appealing idea. We tend to think of ancestry in terms of bloodlines, in which some individuals are descended from famous ancestors and others are not. And the idea echoes deeper religious themes of individuals and groups favored by God.

But this is one idea in "The Da Vinci Code," which opens today in theaters worldwide, that just won't wash. Jesus couldn't have just a few descendants living today. If anyone alive today is descended from Jesus, then so are most of the people on the planet.


This absurd-sounding statement is an inevitable consequence of the workings of ancestry. People may have just a few descendants in the two or three generations after they lived, but after that the number of descendants explodes. For a population to remain the same size, every adult has to have an average of two children who grow to adulthood and have children. So the number of descendants for the average person grows exponentially — two children, four grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and so on. In just 10 generations — roughly 250 years — an average person can have more than 1,000 descendants.

Of course, no one is average. Some people have lots of children; some have none. But over time the fecund and the barren balance each other out. Also, a person's descendants eventually start having children with each other. That slows the rate of growth of a person's descendants, but usually not much, at least in the short term.

It's virtually impossible to "manage" a genealogical lineage so that a person has a limited number of descendants. The lineage would quickly go extinct in the occasional generation in which all of a person's descendants do not have children (or their children die). And a managed lineage inevitably would "leak" — someone would begin having children at a normal pace, and the usual process of growth would commence.

In real genealogies, a person's descendants either peter out within a few generations or begin to grow exponentially. That's why people who came to America on the Mayflower now have thousands of descendants. People who lived just a few centuries earlier have many millions of descendants.

The same observations would apply to Jesus, although we'll never know if he really had children. But let's assume that he did, and that he also had a lower than average number of descendants — say 500 in the year AD 250. Where would they have lived? Those centuries were a time of great ferment in the Roman Empire. Although most of Jesus' descendants probably would have lived in the Middle East, at least a few would have moved as far away as modern-day Italy and central Asia (whether as soldiers, traders or slaves).

Many of these individuals also would have had 500 to 1,000 descendants 250 years later. And these tens of thousands of descendants of Jesus likely would have been scattered along trade routes from western Europe to southern Africa to eastern Asia. After another 250 years, Jesus would have had millions of descendants. Repeat that cycle five more times and the whole world begins to fill up with descendants of Jesus.

Essentially, whether you have descendants is an all-or-nothing proposition in the long run, as two coauthors and I showed in an article in the scientific journal Nature a couple of years ago. If a person has four or five grandchildren, that person will almost certainly be an ancestor of the entire world population two or three millenniums from now. And if a person lived longer than two or three millenniums ago, that person is either an ancestor of everyone living today or of no one living today.

The idea that we all could be descended from Jesus takes some getting used to. After all, if we're all descended from Jesus, and Jesus is the son of God, that's a pretty illustrious bloodline. But don't let it go to your head. You're also descended from Pontius Pilate and Judas, as long as they produced the requisite four or five grandchildren.

We're all descended from beggars and kings, judges and murderers, merchants and slaves. We're caught up in webs of ancestry — a big, tangled, sometimes dysfunctional

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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 19, 2006 11:59 am

mourningstar wrote:1 Question, : is the Opus Dei really corrupted and maffia-esque? :roll:
Well, before there was Da Vinci Code, there was Robert Hanssen's connection to Opus Dei. That was the first that any of us had ever heard of the "secret" society.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Fri May 19, 2006 12:03 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
mourningstar wrote:Yeah, but At the first pages, you have a special page, summoning all the facts that are true, they say Opus Dei exist, which i knew, but they don't say that they are not corrupted and maffia-esque :roll:
Both of Dan Brown's novels begin with pages listing that kind of thing. It is part of his attempt to lend verisimilitude to his fiction.
It's a powerful set up, kinda like Amadeus being part fact and part fiction. I didn't like Angels and Demons (rather overdoes the crazed killing machine gimmick) as much as I did prior spy novels, but I think he's a good writer of mystery fiction, nothing more.
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Cosima__J

Post by Cosima__J » Tue May 23, 2006 5:10 pm

For those of you who read the book, am I remembering correctly that supposedly Mozart was a member of this off-the-wall group called the "Priory of Scion" That seems so far out, since Mozart considered himself a good Catholic who said he would never want to live in a country that wasn't Catholic.

The book really was a fun read. But how could anybody take seriously (let alone be offended by) all that "blade and chalice" hokey stuff.

Tom Hanks did a reasonably good job in the movie, but I completely agree with those who said that he really wasn't right for the part. By trying to include so many of the details of the book, I think the movie got a little too complicated and disjointed. Would have been better to pare down the book and keep the plot simpler.

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Post by Teresa B » Tue May 23, 2006 8:34 pm

I voted "yes" even though the reviews have been not-so-hot. (I love that NY Times review Ralph posted--nice writing.) Curiosity, maybe?

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Post by miranda » Wed May 24, 2006 8:47 pm

I haven't read the book.

I did see the movie. One of the biggest wastes of $7.50 ever, in my opinion. Just total and utter crap. :?

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Post by Corlyss_D » Wed May 24, 2006 8:54 pm

miranda wrote:I haven't read the book.

I did see the movie. One of the biggest wastes of $7.50 ever, in my opinion. Just total and utter crap. :?
Don't hold back, Miranda. We can take it . . .
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

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