Friday, May 19, 2006

The Da Vinci Code Movie
...my review

My brief but accurate review of the book and the movie: "40,000,000 people can be wrong."

(For other reviews: check out at RottenTomoatoes.com; and The USAToday). You'll discover that the vast majority of the secular press is panning this film as well.

I was given a free ticket to an advanced showing of TDVC which I saw last evening. It was very long, dark (in the Batman tradition), tedious to sit through, and not as entertaining as one would think. Apart from the biblical concerns this movie generates, as a film, I'd give it two out of five stars.

Content wise, it stays pretty true to the book. It comes as no surprise that it is pure unadulterated fiction not to be taken seriously. Its historic assertions on the most basic of issues (Constantine, The Nicene Creed, scriptural accounts, etc.) are so distorted that to give any meaningful analysis of it would be inadvertently to elevate its status to a credible work worthy of such careful examination—which this work does not deserve (even the audience wasn’t ‘completely buying it’ which I gathered from their very meager reaction at the films conclusion).

Matt Lauer this past week on The Today Show was in France doing a series on TDVC; and even he, with just a tertiary analysis, discovered many historical flaws and inconsistencies as to not give it any real merit.

In short, TDVC is Gnostic in its foundation and claims, and as a movie is not terribly compelling.

We all know Tom Hanks to be a brilliant actor and Ron Howard a very gifted director, but this usual winning team, in this film, falls flatter than J-Lo in Gigli. Hanks gives a fairly wooden performance and feels out of place throughout. It’s easier believing that Darryl Hannah is a Mermaid in "Splash", that there is a place called "Oz" over the rainbow, or that Indiana Jones really did find the ark of God than believing the claims made in TDVC. The experience of watching this movie is kind of like listening to the Caner brothers: it is wearisome, nonsensical, arduous, historically twisted and in the end is unproductive.

There have been many Christian authors who have written extensively and thoroughly on "unmasking TDVC" that I don’t need to repeat those same arguments here (my friend, Dr. James White, does an excellent and thorough job here; and Dr. Al Mohler gives a very solid biblical response here).

But how are we as Christians to respond in the aftermath of this film?

Four things:

1. Dan Brown is not to be taken seriously on any level regarding the Christian faith (Col. 2:8-10). Don’t give him the fuel or the platform for his historic revisionism, mystic dribble, “sacred feminine” agenda, and theological fiction.

2. Satan has always attacked the authority of God’s Word; the character of God; and the gospel, person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is nothing new and as old as the garden of Eden. But, how do we confront such attacks? With the truth of God's Word (read 2 Cor. 10:1-6).

3. Every believer needs to be able to give a reason for the hope that is within him or her with gentleness and reverence (1 Peter 3:15-16). Know the Lord and His truth deeply; you don’t have to be an expert on TDVC to address it with your friends, family or co-workers at your place of employ. Know Christ; be an authority on the once for all delievered to the saints faith (Jude 3); when asked, give a clear witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

4. Pray that the Lord will grant you an opportunity, because of the talk generated by this film, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to your neighbors, friends and family. Take advantage of this media/cultural happening to witness the truth about the Lord to others. And may I encourage you to pray for Dan Brown and all associated with this film, that their hearts would be made receptive soil to "hear" the Word of Christ--the genuine gospel (Romans 10:14-17); that they would be given godly sorrow to repent of their sins (2 Cor. 7:8-12); be granted saving faith by God's sovereign grace to come to salvation; and to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Eph. 2:8-9; Romans 10:9-10).
Now, if its fiction you want that is entertaining, may I suggest Mission Impossible III?

Guard the Trust,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

14 comments:

Unchained Slave said...

Steve,
There seems to be an 'ambiguity' here:

"There have been many Christian authors who have written extensively and thoroughly on "unmasking TDVC" that I don’t need to repeat those same arguments here (my friend, Dr. James White, does an excellent and thorough job here)"

"Don’t give him the fuel or the platform...

"But, how do we confront such attacks? With the truth of God's Word (read 2 Cor. 10:1-6)."

"...you don’t have to be an expert on TDVC to address it"

"Know the Lord and His truth deeply"

"be an authority on the once for all delievered to the saints faith (Jude 3)

Why do I need to read James White or anyone else for that matter on 'unmasking' the code - when as you say, THE defense is knowing the Truth not the lie?

In Christ,

littlegal_66 said...

Unchained:
I enjoyed Steve's intentional ambiguity in this case...he also wrote: "to give any meaningful analysis of it would be inadvertently to elevate its status to a credible work worthy of such careful examination—which this work does not deserve."
(And that's the beauty of Campi's brief review).

"In short, TDVC is Gnostic in its foundation and claims, and as a movie is not terribly compelling."
Yeah, that's about what I figured; thanks for confirming it.

Oh, whatever happened to the innocent, carrot-topped, freckle-faced "Opie" we used to know?
I'll keep the money otherwise spent on the admission price in my purse, thank you very much. That could buy me...what....maybe two, two-and-a-half gallons of gas? Maybe I'll just rent "Apollo 13," instead. Ronny & Tom did okay together on that one, and it probably stands a better chance of historical accuracy.

SJ Camp said...

unchained slave:
Because James White offers a very good biblical defense of the faith in response to the fictionalized rhetoric of the Da Vinci Code. (I have since added an excellent article by Al Mohler as well).

Littlegal
You got it right... well done. The movie admission price could also buy you two pints of your favorite "Haagan-Dazs" or "Ben and Jerry's" ice cream; or five pair of new socks. See TDVC is causing us to be more productive with our money already :-).

Steve

Rev. Scott Welch said...

Great post. Funny how even the Today Show can discover the "fishyness" of the whole thing. Not sure, but I may have just made up a word.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Campi,
I'm glad I wasn't eating while reading this review. I'm sure I would have spewed it all when I got to that 'Caner brothers' remark. Hilarious.

cyd said...

RC Sproul once made a comment that he was able to discern the good and bad evangelists by their coiffure. ;)

Now, look at Tom Hanks hair.
Doesn't it really just add to the 'fishyness'?

Reel Fanatic said...

Great stuff ... I won't be going to see this one for many reasons, so I've been living vicariously through people's responses to it .. I feel so bad for poor Audrey Tautou .. in all the press materials I've seen, she just looks vaguely annoyed through the whole thing

donsands said...

Thanks Steve for your input on this bad movie, and for going to see it.

Point #3 is the most important thing for us as followers of Christ to do.

It is a blessing to have teachers and pastors in the Church who have done their homework on all that is involved in this fictious heresy. I thank the Lord for those who have done so to contend for the faith, and to protect the flock of God.

Carla said...

"The experience of watching this movie is kind of like listening to the Caner brothers: it is wearisome, nonsensical, arduous, historically twisted and in the end is unproductive."

Yep, that made me laugh. I wont be seeing this flick, but I do appreciate the review.
:o)

SDG,
Carla

Scruples said...

I think it is time for Christians to have some fun with the Da Vinci Code. I read some where that Dan Brown is a committed Christian. Hmmm! I wonder if this Da Vinci code is the biggest hoax ever played on the church since they supposedly found Noah's Ark on Mt Ararat. I wonder if Brown is watching all the hand wringing and denunciations and attention being paid to his book with great glee.

So I decided if you can’t beat him, join him! Not in the sense I agree with his take on history or Jesus but in the sense I like the fun he is having with us all in discovering fanciful conspiracies and using codes to hide explosive truths. I am not alone in this, the judge, Peter Smith, in the copyright infringement trial between Brown and the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail encoded a message in his judgment.

I have posted an article at my blog entitled "The Clergy Conspiracy – Decode this Post to Uncover An Explosive Truth!" I sent out the email yesterday and I have already had a number of replies or guesses at what the code spells.

Here is an additional clue. The number of letters in the sequence to be decoded is 20. Anyone want to give it a try? Click here.

centuri0n said...

I'm gpoing to disagree with Campi on something here. I think this movie is a better opportunity to start a conversation with people about the Gospel than any movie in the last 10 years -- and that includes Narnia and the Passion.

Now, why would I say such a thing? Because the fraud which Dan Brown proposes in this book is so obviously flawed, it causes people to ask themselves if they know the truth at all.

It is in that circumstance that we, who are called by His name, have the upper hand. We have the truth -- and putting the truth down next to the lie makes the contrast stark.

My suggestion to all Campi readers is to either read the book (you can borrow it from the Library, I am sure) or see the movie, and then round yourself up a list of talking points about the Da Vinci Code so that when it comes up -- and with a $70 million opening weekend, it's going to come up -- you can give an account for the hope that lies within you.

For example: how many canons of the council of Nicea deal with the canon of Scripture?
(A) 5
(B) 3
(C) 1
(D) none of the above

.


.


.


The correct answer is "D", and the correct number of canons is ZERO -- Nicea 1 doesn't even mention the canon of Scripture! So in what way did Constantine use Nicea to invent the canon?

The origin of the canon and the preservation of the faith up to AD 325 is a key historical fact which strengthens our confidence in the Bible and, frankly, the church. It's is a great place to start a conversation.

SJ Camp said...

I treasure when informed Christian thinkers can disagree in this public forum of the blogosphere (and even if it is disagreeing with me on my own blog--keep it coming). This is the "iron sharpening the iron" in a profitable way. So may I say in advance a heartfelt thank you to Frank.

BUT, I don't disagree with Frank here and I thought my #4 encourages the conversation with others. I said, "Pray that the Lord will grant you an opportunity, because of the talk generated by this film, to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to your neighbors, friends and family. Take advantage of this media/cultural happening to witness the truth about the Lord to others."

If I didn't say it more clearly... my bad.

I agree that this movie and book can be used as a great tool for engaging others in a meaningful dialogue about the gospel and truth claims of Scripture.

If you haven't yet (if your conscience allows) go see the movie and/or read the book to better equip yourself in this discussion. BUT, knowing "the Code" isn't what will give weight or credibility to your concerns in your discussion with others; knowing Christ, His truth, and His gospel will.

Thank you brother for dropping by COT... Good to have your voice here.

Campi

Chip Burkitt said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I read the book. I found it suprisingly preachy and unoriginal. I say "suprisingly" because with 40 million copies sold, I was expecting a taut thriller, filled with unexpected twists. Instead I found myself time and again wondering when the characters were finally going to figure out the next step in the code, so the plot could move forward. A good writer doesn't leave the reader waiting for his characters to catch up!

Which brings up a curious question: why is the book so popular if it's not that good? I would suggest that several cultural forces have converged to make it unusually popular. If it had appeared 20 years ago, it would have sunk with hardly a ripple into the sea of forgotten novels.

Now, however, the Catholic church has been rocked by scandals. Postmodern relativism and suspicion of history have become the norm. Our culture is ready to believe the unsupported claims of almost any conspiracy theory. Little wonder, then, that Dan Brown's novel has taken off. So many people share his contempt for history, his suspicion of logic, and his patronizing disdain for religion (especially Christianity).

LeeC said...

Why is the book so popular?

John 3:19"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.


Unsaved people, hate, God.
this book frees them from the weight of worrying about all that wages of sin stuff and wondering why that Jesus fellow died for them because it tells them He's just another fallen man.
They love that, and no matter how nonsensical the story may be it is preferrable to the Truth.