Newsbites: Nothing but Da Vinci Code!

The Da Vinci Code star Tom Hanks tells the Evening Standard:

If you are going to take any sort of movie at face value, particularly a huge-budget motion picture like this, you’d be making a very big mistake.

I guess we should all keep this in mind the next time we see Apollo 13 (1995), Saving Private Ryan (1998) and so on…?

In the meantime, here are some other recent related news items:

  1. Da Vinci Code music – not the killing – is too scary for children, say censors
    The BBFC told executives at Sony, who are distributing the film in Britain, that unless significant changes were made to the film’s audio content they would end up with a restrictive 15 certificate, which would have had a serious impact on the film’s box office prospects.
    A move to turn down a film’s certification on the basis of its soundtrack is virtually unheard of. Normally, film producers have to cut only visual scenes to get the certification they require.
    Sunday Telegraph, May 7
  2. “Da Vinci Craze” thrives thanks to cardinal, judge
    Forthcoming blockbuster “The Da Vinci Code” has received the kind of publicity money can’t buy thanks to a real-life cast including a cardinal, an archbishop, a judge, and countless art historians and religious scholars.
    Reuters, May 11
  3. ‘The Da Vinci Code’ Follows Grail Trail
    The mega-selling book — the film version of which opens next week — is fiction. But, as far as Grail legends go, it’s in good company. The only undeniable truth about the Grail is that there’s no shortage of tales about it.
    Since the Holy Grail became part of the popular Christian imagination in the Middle Ages, it’s taken an array of forms. The most enduring Grail image is as a vessel perhaps a chalice held by Christ at the Last Supper and later used to catch his blood during his final hours.
    But the stories also soar off in many other directions.
    Associated Press, May 11
  4. Grail Guy: McKellen Does ‘Da Vinci’
    Forget busy summers. Ian McKellen has more big-screen action packed into the month of May than most British stage actors could hope for in a career.
    In the adaptation of Dan Brown’s best seller “The Da Vinci Code,” McKellen plays Sir Leigh Teabing, the sinfully wealthy, polio-afflicted aristocrat who joins Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou’s characters on their quest for the Holy Grail.
    Associated Press, May 11
  5. Philippine bishops issue their own “Da Vinci” guide
    Philippine Catholic bishops gave priests and parishioners guidelines on Friday on how to refute the plot of religious novel “The Da Vinci Code” as the Asian country gears up for its cinema release. . . .
    The bishops, whose words are closely followed in the predominantly Catholic country, did not, however, call for the blocking of the film, starring Hollywood star Tom Hanks. . . .
    The Philippine censor has not yet given its opinion on the film but there was speculation it would award a “R18” rating, meaning that only people aged over 18 can view it.
    SM cinemas, the country’s largest cinema chain, do not show R18 films.
    Reuters, May 12
  6. “Da Vinci Code” leads Hollywood pack to Cannes
    Last year it was the final installment of “Star Wars.” This year it is “The Da Vinci Code.”
    With an eye on the international box office, Hollywood studios are choosing the film festival in Cannes to launch some of their biggest blockbusters, and 2006 is no exception.
    Reuters, May 12
  7. Blessed are the spin doctors
    In the run-up to the release of the film of The Da Vinci Code on May 19, the communications director for the U.K. branch of Opus Dei, a bundle of nervous energy even in calmer times, can hardly contain himself. “This is going to be the most exciting month of my life,” Jack Valero grins, as he passes me a bundle of some of the astonishing recent coverage: pages and pages from Time magazine, Le Figaro, The New York Times, Eve — upbeat coverage getting inside the “real” Opus Dei, contrasted with the murderous conspirators in the Dan Brown megaseller.
    National Post, May 13
  8. Opus Dei’s man in Canada
    Father Fred Dolan’s alarm beeps at 5:35 a.m. every morning, but he’s usually already stirring.
    His first thought is: “I will serve.”
    As Vicar of Opus Dei in Canada, he works with his members to spread their gospel. Lately, Fr. Dolan’s been meeting with media across the country, ahead of next week’s release of the film version of Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code.
    National Post, May 13
  9. Da Vinci Code movie a target for US evangelicals
    America’s evangelical Christians who see “The Da Vinci Code” as Bible bashing at its worst are taking a cue from Hollywood to attack the story as well as capitalize on the hit novel’s impending movie version.
    Largely forgoing boycotts or protests, leaders of Christians who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible are turning out professional videos with titles such as “The Da Vinci Delusion” and “The Da Vinci Deception Experience.”
    They are designed to show the perils of blurring fact and fiction in Dan Brown’s bestseller and take advantage of the reawakening of interest in the Bible it and the upcoming movie have caused among faith seekers.
    “A boycott at this point would not do any good. When you have a tsunami coming it doesn’t help to build a wall,” said Dr. Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Bible Church in Chicago.
    Reuters, May 14
  10. Filipino hawkers cash in on “Da Vinci Code” fever
    Philippine hawkers are repackaging a documentary on the “The Da Vinci Code” as an authentic version of the movie, cashing in on public interest in the religious thriller ahead of its release this week.
    The film, based on the best-selling novel of the same title, has whipped up a storm of controversy in the largely Roman Catholic country and the Philippines’ censor has yet to grant it a release permit despite a slated opening date of May 18.
    Reuters, May 15

Meanwhile, there is also a movement afoot called “the Other-cott“, which, instead of advocating a simple boycott of The Da Vinci Code, encourages Christians to go see the DreamWorks cartoon Over the Hedge instead — the idea being that, if enough Christians go to the cartoon, The Da Vinci Code will not be the #1 movie that weekend. Because, of course, box-office rankings — not income, but rankings! — are the sort of thing Jesus really cares about.

MAY 14 UPDATE: I’ve added two more news stories to the list.

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  • “Because, of course, box-office rankings — not income, but rankings! — are the sort of thing Jesus really cares about.”


  • I wonder what level in Hell their ranking will be?