The Da Vinci Code

By , dayton, OH
What do people do when they encounter a book that challenges their fundamental religious beliefs? Make a movie of it, of course. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown depicts an impressive epic tale that challenges the ideology of the Christian Holy Grail. After the mysterious death of curator Jacques Sauni're, cryptologist Sophie Neveu and symbologist Robert Langdon quickly unravel the deepest secrets of a clandestine and ancient society preserving the pagan goddess worship tradition: The Priory of Sion. The enlightening and ingenious novel of The Da Vinci Code became a major motion picture in 2006. In comparing The Da Vinci Code novel and film, the movie successfully conveys the themes of the sacred feminine through artworks and the power of knowledge but fails in providing sufficient details and exploding surprise elements.
The novel and the film both include a strong theme about the significance and sanctity of women and that they are intelligent. At first, males underestimate the intelligence of French National Police female cryptographer Sophie Neveu. However, Sophie not only cleverly helps Langdon escape from the Louvre, but she assists in solving complex anagrams and clues, explicates the Hieros Gamos ritual, and elucidates the functionality of the cryptex. In the film, Sir Leigh Teabing, a royal British historian, tells Sophie, 'You are the guardian of the grail; all impression of the poor, of the powerless, those of different skin, of women. You can put an end to all that. You must explode the truth onto the world.' By saying this, Teabing is recognizing the importance and potential of Sophie. Opus Dei monk Silas, an albino follower of Teabing, underestimates Sister Sandrine, sentry of the Priory of Sion, and does not expect her to suspect his behavior. Unknown to outsiders, Sophie's grandmother Marie Chauvel Saint-Clair, guardian of the Rosslyn Trust with evidence of the Holy Grail, manages to survive in secrecy and preserve the Jesus Christ bloodline with Sophie's brother by taking care of him. All of these scenes would also be important if I were to make the movie.
Secondly, the book reveals pagan worship through symbols in Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper, Madonna of the Rocks, and Mona Lisa such as the 'V' symbol for the sacred feminine and the fusing of male and female. In both the book and movie, historian Sir Leigh Teabing also reveals that Mary Magdalene marries Jesus Christ. He continues to claim that Mary is the true Sangreal Holy Grail, not the cup of Christ, with her holy blood, and that they have a child, Sarah, the sacred female heir of the Merovingian dynasty of France. These symbols and ideas are distinctly pagan in nature: representing fertility and contradicting accepted Church doctrine.
The book and movie display the theme of 'Knowledge is power.' The Church does not want the knowledge of the Holy Grail to be publicly known because it would undermine the power of the Church. Sir Leigh Teabing dedicates his life to the quest of finding the location of the Holy Grail by analyzing texts and interpreting works of art. He desperately tries to uncover the secrets for his own power and even takes advantage of Bishop Manuel Aringarosa, Silas, servant R'my Legaludec, Robert Langdon, and Sophie Neveu. Bishop Aringarosa wants to retrieve the Holy Grail for power so the anonymous Teacher, later found as Teabing, can secure Opus Dei favor within the Church. Jacques Sauni're, grandfather of Sophie Neveu, leaves the secrets of the Holy Grail for Sophie to uncover because he knows that the truth and knowledge in the wrong hands can be dangerous.
However, the film does not have enough details. For example there are no scenes of Langdon waking up to an urgent phone call, a discussion about the number PHI, Sophie threatening senior warden Claude Grouard by stretching Madonna of the Rocks to escape the Louvre, analysis of male god and female goddess AMON L'ISA and Mona Lisa, Neveu helping Langdon and Teabing read the English cursive text backwards, scene of R'my freeing Silas, and Silas dying in a park after taking Bishop Aringarosa to the hospital, but all of these scenes are not in the film. The film, a more fast-paced version, leaves out details and thus reduces the tension and thrill of the original novel. The roles of Claude Grouard, R'my, and Andr' are downplayed whereas major characters such as Robert Langdon, Sophie Neveu, Bezu Fache, and Sir Leigh Teabing maintain their major role. The events in the movie come more quickly and less gradual like the book. In this way, the surprises are more abrupt than exhilarating.
The movie version of The Da Vinci Code nicely highlights the themes of the book with the ideas of scared feminism and the influence of knowledge but lacks the same kind of suspense, adventure and intrigue. Although the film version is certainly adequate with its similar elements, this exceptional novel is triumphant because of its remarkable trepidation, stimulating venture, and overall stunning intrigue by igniting the truth of the Holy Grail upon its readers.





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