The Da Vinci Code movie is being released on DVD on November 14th. If you haven’t seen it yet, now’s your chance to finally see what everyone’s been talking about. The international best-selling novel has sold over 60 million copies in 44 languages, and now the movie has grossed hundreds of millions of dollars around the world. Why is this story so popular? What’s the big attraction?
The reason that The Da Vinci Code sold so many books, movie tickets, and soon DVDs isn’t Dan Brown’s writing ability. (It’s a fast paced, fun tale, but plenty of those are written every year.) No, it’s clearly the controversial content that has made it such a bestseller.
There has been substantial confusion among readers about whether the book is factual. While promoted as fiction, Dan Brown repeatedly claims the details of the story are historically accurate, and the “FACT” page of the book states “All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.”. However, nearly all scholars disagree. Many of the biggest claims of The Da Vinci Code story have been shown to be false.
So if you’re wondering which, if any, of the supposedly historical facts in the movie are accurate, you aren’t alone. Here is a sampling of some of the issues raised by the movie:
The reason the story captivates people is that there is something about the person of Jesus Christ that just intrigues. He enchants our minds and our hearts. When we consider what really know about Him, the real Jesus outside of The Da Vinci Code fiction, author Max Lucado asks “What do we do with such a person? We applaud men for doing good things. We enshrine God for doing great things. But when a man does God things? One thing is for sure, we can’t ignore him. Why would we want to?” (Max Lucado, Next Door Savior)
The real Jesus is much more incredible than the false one portrayed in Brown’s Code. If Brown’s book has piqued your curiosity, you can explore the life of Christ for yourself with an interactive online experience called Who is Jesus?, a free, guided, 5 part course.
Toronto Sun columnist Michael Coren made the following comments in his article “Da Vinci Code a ‘disgrace’“, appearing in the May 20th 2006 issue of the newspaper:
“Surely a mild disclaimer at the beginning of the new movie might be nice. This is all that was asked of director Ron Howard, but the polite request was dismissed. Yet similar disclaimers have been inserted before movies many times in the past. For Asians before Year of the Dragon, blacks before Birth of a Nation, gays before Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jews before Merchant of Venice. No, don’t stop me. For Mormons before Big Love, Muslims before True Lies, Native Americans before Pocahontas II and the Nearsighted before Mr. Magoo. Oh, and for Wolves before White Fang. So Christians, it would appear, matter slightly less that our friends in the wolf community.”
Should The Da Vinci Code movie have included a disclaimer, considering that many of its purported historical claims (such as Jesus’ supposed marriage, the Priory of Sion, Jesus’ divinity, and many others) are extremely dubious at best?
“The government of China has decided to put a halt to the runaway success of The DaVinci Code, pulling the high-grossing thriller from all of the country’s movie theaters, according to the film’s distributor, Sony Pictures.” (CNN, June 8 2006)
Why would the Chinese government decide to ban The Da Vinci Code? Some news stories suggest it was due to pressure from Catholics and other Christian groups within China. But Christians comprise only a tiny portion of China’s population (3-4% according to the CIA Factbook), and China is officially an atheist country. Could the real reason China banned the movie is to try to prevent discussion of the movie like we do on this blog? Persecution.org reports that “Foreigners are not allowed to proselytize … Illegal materials (any unapproved foreign religious material) cannot be sold, distributed, copied, or shipped.”
Perhaps the Chinese government was worried that discussion of the movie would lead to opportunities to proselytize (share the gospel) and banned the movie for that reason? (Thanks to ChristianCADRE for the idea for this article)
…and so-so the movie of Dan, especially the anagram portions, wouldn’t you agree? They were all solved in a matter of seconds! It reminded me of when my wife looks at those MagicEye 3D puzzles and says, “Oh yeah, do you see the sailboat?” and I’m still trying to figure out what color the picture is supposed to be.
It turns out Dan Brown was onto something when he used anagrams as clues in The Da Vinci Code. According to Wikipedia,
Jews are often credited with the invention of anagrams, probably because later Hebrew writers, particularly Kabbalists, were fond of it, asserting that “secret mysteries are woven in the numbers of letters.” Anagrams were known to the Greeks and also to the Romans, although the known Latin examples of words of more than one syllable are nearly all imperfect. The Romans called the art of finding anagrams the “ars magna” (great art). Interestingly, “ars magna” is a perfect anagram of the word “anagrams.”
Indeed, the right to lampoon royalty and politicians via anagram was enshrined in English law in 1215, when King John, albeit under duress, signed the Magna Carta (Magna Carta = Anagram Act) at Runnymede, in Surrey?W. Camden (Remains, 7th ed., 1674) defines “Anagrammatisme” as “a dissolution of a name truly written into his letters, as his elements, and a new connection of it by artificial transposition, without addition, subtraction or change of any letter, into different words, making some perfect sense applyable (i.e., applicable) to the person named.”
Some interesting anagrams for you to ponder from Anagram Genius, Da Vinci Code anagrams:
“The Da Vinci Code” -> “The candid voice.” (by Frank LaRue using Anagram Genius) (2003)
“The Da Vinci Code” -> “Convicted. Die! Ha!” (by Stanley Accrington by hand) (2006) (pending approval)
“The Da Vinci Code” -> “Addictive con, eh?” (by Mick Tully using Anagram Genius) (2006) (pending approval)
“The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci” -> “Reputable and splotched visionary.” (by Barzin Barry Sabahat using Anagram Genius) (2005)
“Mona Lisa” -> “Mail a son…” (by Shayon using Anagram Genius) (2005) (pending approval)
Some other anagrams for you to ponder:
“Jesus Christ” -> “Chess Jurist.” (by Anantha by hand) (2005) (pending approval)
“Christian” -> “Rich at sin.” (by Joe Fathallah by hand) (2002)
“Christian” -> “Rich saint.” (by unknown by hand)
Anagrams are interesting because they bring new words to the original word, and sometimes they connect. The word “Christian” has various meanings in our culture. How has this word influenced you… what do you think a Christian is?
The Da Vinci Code movie was screened Tuesday night at the 59th Cannes Film Festival in France for hundreds of journalists from around the world. Initial screenings opened to some ?lukewarm praise? as Reuters reports, but much of the response has been very critical so far.
The Hollywood Reporter headlined its review, ” ‘Da Vinci Code’ an unwieldy, bloated puzzle.” And Stephen Schaefer of the Boston Herald writes, “It seems like you’re in there forever. And you’re conscious of how hard everybody’s working to try to make sense of something that basically perhaps is unfilmable.”
?At a news conference, Howard and Hanks defended the film, calling it a piece of fiction. British actor Alfred Molina, who plays a Machiavellian bishop in the movie, blamed the media for creating controversy where there was little or none.
At a screening late on Tuesday in Cannes, members of the audience laughed at the thriller’s pivotal moment, and the end of the $125 million picture was greeted with stony silence.
Howard had some advice for those who objected to the story.
“There’s no question that the film is likely to be upsetting to some people. My advice is … to not go and see the movie if you think you’re going to be upset.”