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15 Nov, Thursday
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‘The Da Vinci Code’ Not That Bad

Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu standing in front of a blown up portion
of “The Last Supper” painting that allegedly shows Mary Magdalene eating with Jesus.

 


I WAS finally able to watch “The Da Vinci Code” last night and found it to be a very faithful adaptation of the book. I had read so many bad reviews of the movie, with people writing that they had slept through portions of it, that when I actually watched it I liked it.

Since there are no cinemas in Saudi Arabia, and since the film isn’t out yet on DVD, I had to watch a pirated copy of it that I bought outside my local supermarket. Don’t worry, I buy a lot of original films, but with the buzz surrounding “The Da Vinci Code” I just couldn’t wait several months to see it on original DVD.

Tom Hanks as Harvard professor Robert Langdon was much better than I had imagined he would be from looking at stills from the film before it was released. His long hair even looked okay in the film, despite looking extremely goofy in the still photographs used by the studio to promote the movie.

I loved Paul Bettany as Silas the murderous albino monk, especially the scenes of self-flagellation in which his creamy buttocks were shown. Very erotic in an S&M sort of way. I’m sure Shias, who also beat themselves on Ashoura, will be able to relate to these scenes.

Audrey Tautou is okay as Sophie Neveu, but I don’t think her flat acting in this film will win her any prizes.

I read Dan Brown’s book two years ago at the beginning of the first phase of “The Da Vinci Code” frenzy. I then read all of his other books, and found that I kept thinking of his different plot lines while I watched the film. I must say that I found “The Da Vinci Code” very badly written, and was shocked at some of the passages for being so badly constructed. I really enjoyed “Angels and Demons” much more, which I’m sure is also going to be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster soon.

My favorite lines from the film were when Sir Leigh Tebing (Ian McKellan) says that “We often don’t see things that are right in front of us,” after he manages to sneak Langdon, Neveu and Silas off his private jet in England; and when Langdon tells Neveu that “being human is sacred.”

Many people have written about Brown’s so-called “mistakes” in the novel, such as the Louvre Museum not having bars of soap but using liquid soap, thus proving how impossible it would have been for Langdon to throw his GPS spot out of the window embedded in a bar of soap. I saw “so what!” to these geeky nit-pickers. This is a work of fiction after all, and I don’t think that every single detail needs to be fact-checked, though I do think that Brown has tried to keep his facts as straight as possible.

The whole uproar in the Catholic Church over the book’s main claim that Jesus was in fact married to Mary Magdalene who bore him a daughter, and that a secret group in the church kept up a cult of the scared feminine, seems to be much ado about nothing.

Since Jesus was human, I don’t see why he couldn’t be married. Prophet Muhammad was and had several children too. This hasn’t stopped Muslims from revering him as God’s prophet. Of course there is no definite proof either way whether Jesus was married or not. I just think that if he was it only makes him more human and sacred at the same time.

‘Fun With Dick & Jane’

 

Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni with illegal workers crammed into their car
in a scene from “Fun With Dick & Jane”.

 

ANOTHER film that I watched this week was the remake of the 1977 comedy “Fun With Dick & Jane”. It’s not the sort of movie that I usually would watch, but I love Jim Carrey so much that I decided to give it a try.

Carrey is married to Tea Leoni in this film, and they look like age is finally catching up with both of them. Even so, the film has many funny moments as it shows how a successful couple who lose everything they own try to cope with being down and out.

One particularly hilarious scene occurs when Carrey is arrested with illegal Mexican workers that he is forced to join in looking for day work. The immigration police allow him to call home when he insists that he is an American and not a “wet back”. His son, who is very close to their Hispanic maid Yolanda, answers the phone by saying “Hola!” which seals Carrey fate.

My other favorite scene is when Carrey is duped by his bosses at Globodyne and is put on live TV to answer questions about his company that has suddenly gone bankrupt a la Enron. The graphics used on the TV screen as Carrey looks surprised and aghast are fantastic, changing every few seconds according to the news that is being delivered. “Globodyne Goes Down in Flames!” scream the graphics.

The ending of the film is a bit too right-on, but doesn’t manage to erase the extremely funny moments that came before. “Fun With Dick & Jane” is an entertaining movie that manages to comment on the current rash of corporate corruption cases and the fact that modern America is addicted to cheap, foreign labor.