Friday, May 19, 2006
Duh Vinci Code
Well the verdict is in. It sucks. The movie, that is.
But first more important news.
I just finished the book last Wednesday.
As chronicled here before I grew up a voracious book reader but as I have “matured” I find myself having trouble starting and finishing books. A Prayer for Owen Meany is still sitting there with 100 pages to go. Lonesome Dove too. Meanwhile I can rip through The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged for some reason but I think that may be because I welcomed both of their altruistic natures. And maybe because I was stuck on a boat in the middle of the Arabian Gulf some 20 years ago.
Now, I travel a lot – but not really far enough to blow down a book (and besides I read the paper like its nobody’s business). I marvel at these people who pull out hardback copies on a plane to read at their leisure. I mean I don’t have room in my laptop-briefcase –purse-satchel-thing to cram a hardback in there – I have files, contracts and a computer to carry – don’t any of these people have work to do? It’s much more functional for me to cram a Time or People next to the laptop than War and Peace. Besides I really need to know what Heather and Denise are up to.
And I don’t really like the small compressed paperback – but I am in love with the “in-between” paperback that is sort of the size of the hardback but still soft – if you know what I mean. So I got one of those for the Da Vinci Code as they rolled them out in preparation for the movie’s release.
And, of course, there is no greater motivation to completing a book than when the movie blockbuster is due to come out. I mean – I cannot see the movie without reading the book – it’s almost sacriligious. Hmm – that’s almost prescient.
Now Deborah had already read it a year ago so I had to blow it down. And I liked the premise. First I’m a mystery murder fan to no end (I still have my Hardy Boys collection somewhere). Next I grew up Catholic so I was going to be preeminently interested in what the book had to say (and more importantly what my parents might say later). And lastly I spent some time in Paris for work a few years after I. M. Pei’s beautiful creation at the Louvre was finished and had the pleasure of spending several hours there – I mean I have been in that tourista crowd mingling before the Mona Lisa as they say. Been there done that. So I was very much looking forward to what this tome may provide – and a trip down memory lane.
After the first few pages I had a revelation – this guy can’t write! This murder action was written worse than a comic book! This swill sold 50 million! Jesus Christ!
But soon our hero Langdon is brought in and it starts to read pretty good (Hey Dan work on your intro buddy). And then you start to notice as it goes along – this is written like a movie! I mean the chapters are all of six pages long and he cuts to varying plot lines like a Tom Clancy novel, er, I mean movie. So as I am reading this in preparation for the movie I am anticipating the film to be great. It has my alter ego Tom Hanks is in it and I can see him playing Langdon, but where did they come up with this French chick – hmm, I don’t think so. Where was Juliette Binoche?
I thought the book ended badly – all this build-up for what? I dunno – do you? I kept looking for the other pages. I checked Deborah’s hardcopy for the other pages. What was it? Bones? Is this all we get?
Anyone who lives in airports can attest to all of the ancillary Da Vinci books that are out there. While wiling the way in Oakland or somewhere I picked up Fodor’s Guide to the Da Vinci Code. Anybody who travels know Fodor’s knows best. This edition debunks most of the Code in a very friendly conversational way – while showing you all of the works of art and places in the book. I wanted to see what this Madonna on the Rocks deal was big time – and it doesn’t really come down as it was portrayed in the book. And yeah John the Baptist looks like a girl - hey back then who didn't? Duh?
Meanwhile I think the historical and religious conversation is great. Hope it doesn’t tank Hanks’ and director Ron Howard’s career though – two of this H-town’s nice guys. It’s amazing to me what can look like a slam dunk in Hollywood can be something else. Bonfire of the Vanities anyone?
I didn’t finish that book either.