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article imageCritics Blast the Book and the Catholic Church Hates the Movie, But Nothing Stops The Da Vinci Code

By Julia Suppa     May 15, 2006 in Lifestyle
Digital Journal — It’s one of the most anticipated films of the year, and on Friday, millions of people around the world will be flocking to movie theatres to be some of the first to witness Robert Langdon crack the now-infamous code: Da Vinci’s Code.
Tickets for the long awaited Christianity-questioning feature have been selling through advanced sales for more than a week. It’s not even out yet and the film — starring Tom Hanks as the real-life Harvard professor — has been fiercely protested by the Catholic Church and ridiculed by literary critics for being poorly written. But the hype surrounding Dan Brown’s best-selling thriller novel-turned-film doesn’t seem to be bothering fans at all.
Da Vinci Code actor Alfred Molina says the protests have only made the film more popular. "You think that religious leaders would know by now that when you say 'don't see that film', it just makes everyone want to," Molina told BBC Breakfast about the blockbuster.
Molina, who plays Bishop Aringarosa, says the film encourages your imagination to follow the story. It’s primarily a work a fiction, he maintains.
Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou star in Columbia Pictures' suspense thriller The Da Vinci Code. — Photo by Simon Mein

But that hasn’t stopped tourists from wanting to engage further with the content. In addition to blogs and copycat novels, millions are travelling around the world to visit The Louvre in Paris, the setting for the majority of the film. Surprisingly, the museum gave director Ron Howard unprecedented access to the buildings in the making of the movie. In 2004, 6.7 million people were recorded visiting, but by the end of 2005, an astounding 7.5 million visitors walked through the glass pyramid entrance.
And Leonardo’s Mona Lisa has also never had so many fans — she’s arguably the lead character in the story, regardless of being simply a painting. But despite the millions that visited the portrait prior to the original release of the novel in 2003, in the last few years, she’s become a celebrity.
Also, the novel is being touted as one of the greatest phenom to ever hit the world of publishing (much to the confusion of hundreds of renowned critics and literary scholars). According to the critics, the prose is flat with unimaginative characters, and Brown overuses and misuses literary devices including ellipses and words like “astonishing.”
Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code. — Photo by Simon Mein
"His dialogue's pretty clumsy, his sentence structure is monotonous, and even the pace of the novel…I found it sort of wearing,” Deborah Nelson, a professor of English at the University of Chicago, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Donna Seaman, associate editor of Booklist, a review journal published by the American Library Association goes even further, ranking Brown just below Nicholas Sparks, author of The Notebook.
So what’s the deal with the critics? With 60.5 million copies circulating worldwide in 44 different languages, it obviously hit the right chord with a few people. What’s the secret? Are people enraptured by secret societies, religious conspiracy theories and cracking codes and anagrams? Or is it the defiance of the Church that has contributed to the popularity?
Either way, based on early ticket sales, the initial success of the film seems predictable. With an all-star cast, gigantic fan base and media hype, even bad diction or religious groups’ suggestions to ban the film isn’t enough to combat the Code.
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