Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Da Vinci debacle

Whatever happened to just going to watch a movie for entertainment? I am deeply bothered by the fact that countries around the world are debating banning the Da Vinci Code. Not only is it a violation of the most basic of freedoms – speech. It’s also just a movie, an obvious piece of fiction. Whatever happened to our right to choose what we can or cannot watch and to making up our own minds about what it all means.

I will admit I loved the book (I'm a big fiction fan, and this was a thriller extraordinaire!). The Da Vinci Code. I even like how the title rolls off my tongue. I read it in one night in Madrid, despite being exhausted by sightseeing and knowing that if I got too little sleep I’d be in no shape to do continue on the endless sightseeing the next day. I still slept only at 4am but my mind was still buzzing with the plot of the book next morning. I had no problem sightseeing - all the while rabbiting on at V about how it was one of the most exciting books I had read in a while and how he should waste no time before getting his hands on it.

Proof that EVERYONE was reading it could be seen at airport lounges, train stations, in buses and the tube, peeking out of handbags, in sweaty hands. I needed no further proof of its popularity when we saw the book in the hands of EVERY holidaymaker at the resort in Zanzibar – translations in no less than 12 langauges. We were already done reading it and stuck out like sore thumbs with our ‘Ji-Mantriji/ Pradhanmantriji’ collection!

Veering back to the current day I still can’t believe that Governments are being tasked with deciding if a film is religiously ‘accurate’. I mean, come on, Dan Brown’s book was clearly a piece of fiction and like any novel had a backdrop based in reality, for context if you like. The movie is just an adaptation of the book and is clearly just entertainment fiction, dramatised with a thriller type story. I cannot believe that ANYONE is worried that people will go watch the film and think it’s the truth. If anyone who went to the movies (as opposed to fact based documentaries like the ‘March of the Penguins’) believed that everything they saw was true we have much bigger problems my friends! We’d then have droves of people waiting for King Kong to attack their city centre, Godzilla to climb over their fences and apocalypse to strike at any minute. On the other hand all the droves will probably be hiding at home, feet at the ready toward fully stocked bunkers, with their binoculars and digital cameras at the ready to record any ‘untoward’ incident. So no need to worry that they’ll go watch the movie and yell, “blasphemy!”.

As for Governments, what do they know – and why hasn’t anyone objected to any of the other films that might offend some religion. How do all the other movies get by the various religions? And why should they be checked for religious accuracy anyway? Since when are we too dumb to make logical sensible conclusions from watching movies? This is such a big brother action. Oooh, I do not have a good feeling about this suddenly. If they do decide to ban this film I can see all kinds of problems for the film industry and the future of any kind of movie with a religious angle or undertone to it. If all these religious groups feel that the 'story' is a distortion of their religion, they should just not watch it. They shouldn't bar all the smart people, with great judgement (ie, me and the like) from watching it.

Just to be irritating I’m planning to watch the movie twice: once with friends next Friday and then again with V when he’s done with his CFA exam on the 3rd of June. And I’m sure I will enjoy the thriller bits, Tom and Audrey racing around through Paris and my lovely London. I’m also planning to re-read the book before I go watch the film – just to refresh my memory of all the details and see how closely Ron Howard has recreated the plot. I was disappointed in Tom Hanks being the choice for Langdon and am hoping he will exceed my fairly low expectations of him in this part! For the moview I have high hopes.

I hope all these Governments and all the people lobbying to ban it lose their battle. I hope you can go watch the movie – because it is just that, a movie, a piece of entertainment. Where you can leave your mind at home and sit in a cool air-conditioned cinema hall, eat popcorn, drink cola, forget your worries and revel in a cinematic experience. At the end of the day I hope your right to see a movie is still your right.


  1. Anonymous10:02 PM

    i am also not happy with the Tom Hanks casting...

  2. I was dissapointed with the reaction in India esepcially. In the 'secular' India of Congress, this is bound to happen. There is a democratic and legal process that should have been followed, not pandering to a bunch of organizations demanding a ban. Why should the government step in at all?

  3. Ahhhh, everyone wants to be in the limelight y'know. Few days and the dust will settle. I have a feeling the movie ain't gonna be as good as the book.

    On the same note, I think Dan Brown is more like a one hit wonder.. Sakrileg (Deutsche) for example, and a couple of other books are on the same lines.

    Guess DVC might be his only good book.

  4. Yes, I'm really surprised about the reaction here in India! it's ridiculous. I can't imagine that our more erudite Catholics would have anything against the movie--they know it for it is, a big work of FICTION. Just some others protesting for the sake of it think I.

  5. Anon: Yeah Tom Hanks probably won't cut it

    Parth: What is wrong with all these organisations - its almost as if they have no other work to do and would rather pick on a move for its sake.

    Me: Dan Brown is a few hit wonder I think. As for liking the limelight, the dust is sure settling fast!

    Suemamma, Anyone who sees the movie will be quick to see how much a piece of fiction it is!