Sunday, May 28, 2006



I have this compromise to avoid reading trash. I just wait for the movie adaptation. And such is the case for Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’. Although the book is rubbished by the critics, it is perhaps not fair for me to lump it as garbage because I haven’t read it (and still don’t have any urge to read it in a hurry) and should not judge it before going through it , but I never like books that ride on hype and always feel distaste when I find that millions of people who never read any fiction in their lives start praising the book as the best they ever read. Probably right too if that’s the only book they ever read (with the exception of may be the children books from the Harry Porter series).

So when the film opened and despite the bad reviews, I went to see it in one mid night show a couple of days back. One main reason I wanted to particularly see the film was because one of the first scenes was actually filmed in the Lourve – just goes to show that Da Vinci Code has very powerful influence and even the Louvre will prostitute itself if it feels there are gains to be made. And as this is not mean to be a review of the film, all I want to say is that what struck me most about the film was that I now understand why the government of Malaysia did not ban this film and perhaps even gleefully promoting and hyping it with all kind of documentaries on the National Geographic channel relating to this book on ASTRO –our very own ‘satellite’ TV , weeks before the film opened here.

Although the Malaysian main ruling party (UMNO) is far from being a fundamentalist Islamic party hell bent in proselytizing Islam , it is not averse to prove a point or two about Islam or promoting anything that is to Islam’s benefit if opportunity arise. Why not? Simply put, I think the reason why the government allowed Da Vinci Code be screened here is because the book and the film’s main proposition is that Jesus is just a regular bloke , like the Muslims believe all along but not God (or part time god) as average Christians believe. This is very naughty of the government to do, knowing fully well that it may hurt some fundamentalist Christians and Catholics’ feelings ( but not the ‘cafetaria catholics’ who just pick and choose what aspects they like of the religion – as one of the opus Dei fellow memorably exclaimed early in the film). Seems like any films or books rubbishing other religions apart from Islam are perfectly OK here . It’s quite strange that sometimes back an animated film ‘The Prince of Egypt’ was banned due to the depiction of Moses (which hurts the sensitivity of Muslims who are against depiction of prophets ) but not a film that gives strong argument about Jesus having a wife and sired progenies that survive to the present time (which goes against both Christain and Muslim beliefs). But I guess for the Malaysian government, the main argument that Jesus was just a regular Jew more than make up for a little apocryphal blemish of claiming that he ran away, got married and have children and lived quietly in France or somewhere in obscurity.

Having said all that, I not proposing Da Vinci Code to be banned, far from it. I think all films should NOT be banned full stop. And so do I like the film? All I can say is that it does not make me want to go and read the book and yes, it’s too noisy. Too much distraction by out of placed background music ,just another typical Hollywood summer blockbuster and though I did not hear anybody tittering when Jesus’s heir on earth was finally revealed , I felt quite cheated. Lucky I do not spend precious time reading the book.

i haven't seen the film yet, but plan to ... but if you haven't read the book, seriously, don't bother, you've got the main story and know what the controversy is about
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