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Home > Movies > Hey, Is The "Da Vinci Code" Movie Coming Out Soon?

Hey, Is The "Da Vinci Code" Movie Coming Out Soon?

April 26th, 2006

Because I’m just not sure.

Okay, that’s as much snark as I’ll allow myself on this topic. I realize that one person’s incessant drumbeat of media hype is another’s eagerly awaited summer movie blockbuster. I’m sure that plenty of non-Star Wars geeks did not share my enthusiasm last spring during the build-up to Revenge of the Sith.

I am perhaps one of the five people in America who have not read The Da Vinci Code. I don’t say that in an “I’m better than you” way. Truth is, I don’t read many novels these days, and I’m not especially proud of that. I find that I have the attention span of a fruit fly, and that it’s difficult for me to devote the time necessary to consume a lengthy narrative.

From what little I know about the book, I don’t understand the fuss. Apparently it revolves around some standard-issue religious conspiracy hoo-hah involving the secret life of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Okay, I can understand that this is stepping on the hooves of some sacred cows, so to speak. For some reason, it seems to have inspired serious discussion of the topic among church groups, which just strikes me as odd, something akin to the American Bar Association debating the merits of the latest John Grisham legal potboiler.

My own personal peeve about the book–which again, I haven’t read and clearly don’t know enough about to have an informed opinion–is that it’s one of those shaggy dog stories in which seemingly innocuous details are really deliberately planted pieces of an insanely complex puzzle leading to a dark secret and/or great treasure. In this case, it turns out that Leonardo Da Vinci was leaving coded messages in his great works of art, which is, of course, something that artists do all the time. (It’s a well-known fact that in Renoir’s 1876 painting, A Girl with a Watering Can, the phrase “I loves me some cheese” can be seen spelled out in flower petals.)

It’s similar to that Bible Code craze from a few years back, in which it was declared that hidden, prophetic words can be found in the King James Version by picking out every twelfth letter or somesuch. Why? Because it’s likely that people writing a religious text would want to hide their prophecies. Never mind that you can find seemingly significant words in any large hunk of text if you try hard enough. (For example, I’m sure that you can find the word “moonbat” in the above paragraph with the right algorithmic sequence. Go ahead, keep trying. Let me know what you come up with.)

[The movie National Treasure, which is not, not I tell you, an attempt to rip off The Da Vinci Code, also deals with coded messages concealed within well-known items: here, the Declaration of Independence and the dollar bill. Trivia: Every time a commercial for National Treasure comes on our TV, my wife shouts, “Will you please be quiet?! The dollar bill is trying to talk!” I don’t think that they actually said that in the film, but it’s still funny.]

Stories like The Da Vinci Code turn the entire world into one big John Edward “cold reading” session: if you really, really want, you can score enough “hits” off random bits of information to convince yourself that you really are receiving messages that no one but you–and possibly Dan Brown–can understand. There’s a word for that, and it ain’t Mona Lisa.

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