Trailer time!

1. I know it’s been out for a while now, but I finally caught up with the latest Batman Begins trailer. I’m excited. It brings back fond memories of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One, but it also looks like it will be very much its own thing. And, as one who was disappointed by all of the big-screen Batman movies — except for the animated Mask of the Phantasm (1993) — I sincerely hope that Christopher Nolan, whose earlier films Memento (2000; my mainstream review; my Christian review; my article on memory movies) and Insomnia (2002) were pretty darn good, will be the one who can finally produce a film worthy of the character.

2. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. This is just too cool. Discovering Nick Park’s The Wrong Trousers (1992) during one of Mike & Spike’s animation festivals 12 or 13 years ago was one of the happiest moments of my moviegoing life. Also way up there was the moment when I returned to the festival with my friend Byrun (and perhaps others), just to introduce him to the film, and watched him laugh oh-so-heartily. I don’t expect this new film to surpass that one — I didn’t think A Close Shave (1995) surpassed it either — but I do love these characters.

3. It doesn’t open for another year, but apparently they’ve already released a teaser for Ron Howard’s adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, which pompously claims that the film is about “a secret that could change the course of mankind forever.” Yeah, whatever.

I happened to read Dan Brown’s book last summer on a three-day Greyhound trip back from the Cornerstone festival, and I posted some thoughts on it here. Several of the book’s assertions I recognized to be patently false — such as the claim that there are gospels in the Dead Sea Scrolls — and since I know next to nothing about art history and not much more about medievalism, I suspect there were many other falsehoods that I missed, too.

But never mind all that fine-tuned nit-picking. The entire novel is flawed to the core because it rests on two contradictory premises. First, it presumes that Jesus was merely human, not divine; second, it presumes that, if Mary Magdalene had been married to Jesus, this would somehow make her a receptacle of the “sacred feminine”. But if, as the book asserts, there is nothing particularly sacred about Jesus, then why would there be anything particularly sacred about the woman who was allegedly married to him? Or, to put this differently, why does everyone in the story make such a big deal about the bones of Mary Magdalene but show no interest in what happened to the body of her husband?

Ah, but that raises yet another fundamental flaw in the novel. The novel proposes that, if the bones of Mary Magdalene were ever discovered, then centuries of Catholic dogma and tradition would be undone. (The novel is not interested in Orthodoxy at all.) The obvious problem here is that, as far as the Catholic and Orthodox churches are concerned, they already have the relics of Mary Magdalene. Indeed, my priest — who named one of his daughters Magdalene — tells me he has a piece of this saint in his home. (And here I thought having a first American printing of T.E. Lawrence’s Revolt in the Desert, dated 1927, was pretty cool.) So the idea that ancient relics would undermine traditional faith doesn’t wash.

Now, you can certainly be skeptical, as I am sometimes inclined to be, that the relics currently held by the churches are the genuine article. But it boggles the mind that anyone who would be skeptical about that claim would treat the claims of The Da Vinci Code with any credulity, simply because they come packaged in a page-turning mystery novel or a film starring Tom Hanks.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08741378159534413277 Magnus

    “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm” was good, I agree – and far superior to the live action films. No campiness, no overt homoerotica.
    As for the “Da Vinci Code”, I believe Brown based his book on the spurious book “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” which was based on a Priory of Sion hoax perpetrated by Pierre Plantard, who claimed to be a descendant of the Merovingians. There are people still put stock in “Holy Blood…”, despite the evidence against it and the fact that no credible historian accepts its suppositions and conclusions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priory_of_Sion


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