Harvard Square Observer:
An Inconvenient Truth: the "Da Vinci Code" movie is a mess
I picked up a copy of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code in paperback at Dillon's Bookstore, Gower Street, in the midst of the University of London, several years ago. (The bookstore is now part of the Waterstone chain.) I read the book with great pleasure. A very imaginative work, dealing with aspects of history. As I read, however, unlike others, apparently, I remembered that it is a novel, not a book of history.
When I returned to the United States, I happened to notice that, here, it was not yet in paperback, which, I presume, meant that it was still selling well in hardcover.
I usually avoid seeing movies based on books I have read, for they never quite live up to my expectation. (I must admit that the one exception are the novels of Jane Austen, the screen adaptations of which I always find interesting.) But, with all of the stir over The Da Vinci Code, I violated my principle and attended a showing in Harvard Square, which, I believe, I will regret until it fades from memory years from now.
Regret, for the producers have made a hodgepodge of the book. It being a Hollywood production, I should have known that it was obligatory to include at least one car chase and one shootout. And, it does. But, to my consternation, it altered the story enough, for, I suppose, cinematic purposes (although, I don't see why!), that I kept comparing it to the book, with suppressed groans.
The one satisfaction I got out of it was the thought that it will make Dan Brown even richer than the book alone has done, and, I always approve of authors getting rich! (Have never experienced it myself, of course, but, as they say, hope springs eternal!)
I did think that the critique in The New Yorker was unfair. Instead of really discussing the motion picture, the reviewer latched on to a passage in the book that he found less than felicitous. What this had to do with the film, I could not figure out.
My advice. If you want to enjoy the story, buy the book and read it. It will take somewhat longer than the two-and-one-half hours that the movie consumes, but, I believe you will find it well worth it.
Since My Better Half and I wanted to see Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, as well as The Da Vinci Code, we found ourselves in the Harvard Square movie house two days in a row. Where, from my point of view (my wife had not read the book), the film version of The Da Vinci Code is a disaster, Al Gore's motion picture is a gem.
I read Al Gore's book, Earth in the Balance, several years back. And, now, the motion picture is a record of Gore's slide show on global warming that he has delivered at a number of places in the U.S. and abroad. If one is a skeptic concerning global warming, one has to contend with the picture as he shows the disappearing snows of Kilimanjaro, the breakup of the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic, along with polar bears swimming for their lives, some drowning in the process. The collapse of glaciers, I am sure we have all seen on television, and Gore shows how they are receding, as are various ice fields.
In a manner understandable to all, he demonstrates how, thanks to CO2 produced on earth, heat is reflected back onto the earth.
One critic complained that it was unfortunate that the director insisted on including two personal stories: one of the near death of his young son, in an accident; the other of his older sister, a heavy smoker, dying of lung cancer, and the family's decision to give up growing tobacco. As the critic pointed out, it was unnecessary to include these clips, to show that Gore is a warm, devoted person, since the rest of the movie demonstrates that very well. It certainly does.
You may recall that Gore was criticized in the presidential campaign for being "wooden," and "stiff," as if a presidential candidate should be expert in soft shoe dancing. I will never forgive Margaret Carlson for saying that "it is so much fun to criticize Al Gore." So much for objective reporting!
The man is brilliant, and everyday we should shudder that the manipulation of the Florida vote and the "activist judges" of the Supreme Court imposed the mentally deficient present incumbent on us.
I suppose that we have become such an entertainment state that anyone who is serious, thoughtful, does not stand much of a chance of being elected president. The foolishness of the question, "Who would you prefer to have a beer with?" shows how low we have sunk in this country.
In any case, I recommend that you avoid the motion picture version of The Da Vinci Code and make sure to see Al Gore's splendid An Inconvenient Truth.
I was about to wind up this column, when, thumbing through the issue of the Boston Metro newspaper for 23 June, I read that, according to the National Academy of Sciences, the earth is the hottest it's been in 2,000 years. The study includes the statement that "human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming."
All the more reason why folks should see Al Gore's motion picture, An Inconvenient Truth.
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