Codes and Jesus the Superstar

I was reading a review of the Da Vinci Code movie over at the Atlasphere (The Da Vinci Code: Fighting Faith and Force) the other day, and noticed one of the links at the bottom of the page labeled the U.S. Catholic Bishops Brown-bashing site” I found the link intriguing, so I clicked on it.

The title of the page was the funny part. Jesus decoded, it proclaims.

That’s a great idea. Maybe they can explain the trick with the fishes and the loaves of bread, or perhaps the walking on water. That would be good to know. The most important trick to know is, of course, changing water into wine. That trick would be very popular at parties.

Too bad this sort of insight wasn’t available to Judas back in the day. Might have saved him a lot of missteps. “Who are you, what have you sacrificed?” One of the most memorable lines of lyrics from Jesus Christ Superstar. Judas, as one of the disciples, should have known how to decode Jesus. Obviously it isn’t as easy as the Catholic Bishops would have us believe.

A fondness for Jesus Christ Superstar is one of the few things that remains constant from my days as a ‘born again’ to my current ascribed atheism. I picked up the DVD recently and watched the movie for the first time. Alamo Drafthouse aired snippets of the movie between showings of The Da Vinci Code (I have written about the movie and the book before) and it intrigued me. I’ve listened to the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack since the early eighties, but I’ve never had the occasion to watch the film made from the play. Little did I know that the soundtrack was in fact the original version, created before the play even took shape.

That makes it all the more interesting to me that they chose to alter some of the lyrics from the soundtrack in making the play and the film. One of the most telling lines, for me, has always been Jesus’ despairing declaration to the lepers “Heal yourselves!” which is the last line in that song on the soundtrack. The movie uses a much more ambiguous “Leave me alone!” to end the song.

I prefer the more empowering declaration, myself. More fitting in describing what is wrong in the world today. The vast majority of people seem to think that what they need to fix themselves is external to their selves; when, obviously, the answers lie within.

Judas fails to comprehend were the answers lie as well. The movie, album, etc. ends with Judas still asking questions of Jesus (which still plays quite well) when the real question is why Judas would turn in the man he professes to love. Jesus Decoded, indeed.

The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code (2006)

We saw the film at the Alamo Drafthouse South yesterday evening. Ron Howard pulled off another excellent film with this one. Personally, I thought it was every bit as good as Apollo 13.

Also hearkening back to Apollo 13, Tom Hanks appeared to be channeling his characterization of Jim Lovell in that film, and to great effect. Although I had my doubts, I really did buy him as Robert Langdon. There was some great chemistry between Hanks’ Langdon and Sir Ian Mckellen‘s Leigh Teabing. I’m going to have to pay to see it again just to get the grail arguments between the two of them down in memory. Ian McKellen, Gandalf and Magneto. I love that guy. Two films coming out this month. (saw the 7 min. teaser for X3 last week. Magneto’s speech to the mutants was great. Can’t wait to see that film) I would love to be getting his paychecks.

The rest of the cast delivered solid performances as well. I’ve not seen Audrey Tautou (who played Sauniere’s grandaughter Sophie Neveu) before, but I look forward to seeing her in other films. Good to see Jean Reno (Captain Fache) again. I think the wife has drug me to every film that he’s been in (released in America, that is) He has a very good comic wit in most films, although they didn’t have any use for it here. Fache has very little to find humorous during the course of the story.

Paul Bettany who played Silas was also a great cast. I had no doubts about his casting in the role, having seen him in Gangster No. 1 a few years back (the lead in that film is another one that the wife just ‘has to’ see every time he’s in one) I knew that Silas was not going to be a stretch for him.

The movie preserves the intent and feel of the book, while exploring some nuances of the characters that I hadn’t picked up on before. I think I’m going to have to re-read it, just to see if I missed something. Those who haven’t read the book shouldn’t have any trouble getting into the film, one of the friends who went with us hadn’t read it, and I didn’t hear a single word out of her until the show was over; and then the words were just praise.

Yes I know, it’s an over-hyped film. Go see it anyway. It’s worth the ticket price, and more.

Reading Least I Could Do today, came across a good one on The Da Vinci Code.

Rev. 06/14/22

Time Wasters

Disease, death and various other inconvenient things, like house work and child rearing, get in the way of regular blogging and the pursuit of meaningless trivia. Consequent to this, I offer my apologies for the long gap in entries. I’ll probably fill it in with stuff I was musing over during my automobile confinement for the last week, so the gap may not be apparent on the blog later on. (Yeah, that happened. -ed.) Life just gets in the way sometimes.

Like this morning. I added “The Da Vinci Code Quest” to my Google homepage, and very quickly discovered that I really didn’t waste enough time obsessing over the facts (or lack of facts) in the book; or even the trivia relating to it. I couldn’t answer the first question on the two different versions of the webquests that I ran across (here and here; answers here) much less remember the names of different symbols from the book just to complete the first days puzzle at Google. Thank goodness the trivia game includes the answers if you look hard enough.

I need to “Get less life” (the inverse of Shatner’s ‘get a life’ comment to Star Trek fans) I guess, so I can spend time on what’s really important; trivia games and heated arguments, relating to fictional novels that are transitory at best.

…I am looking forward to the movie, though. Oh, and if you are looking for the answers to Googles code quest, you might want to look here.

Editor’s Note

Flash ceased to be supported by most browsers back in 2020, so the only value of this article is sentimental.

Rev. 06/13/22

Da Vinci Court & Opus Dei

Noticed on news today that the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail are looking for a slice of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code pie. (they weren’t the only ones, either. -ed.)

Maybe they should have written a fiction novel instead of trying for the non-fiction label themselves. They would have needed more of a plot, though.

I read this defense of the antagonists faith from the novel, Opus Dei the other day. I gotta tell you, he doesn’t convince me that the behavior makes sense, or that I would want to sign up for that kind of self abuse. What he does convince me of is why the church is so desperate to retain membership that they would do some of the things that they’ve been accused of doing of late.

“You want me to inflict pain on myself so that I can experience some spiritual growth? Uh, no thanks, dude.”

I would suspect that, if you believed that inflicting pain on yourself will lead to your long term benefit, you might come to believe that inflicting pain on others might be to their long term benefit. Sounds pretty sick to me.

I’m looking forward to watching the upcoming movie made from the book. I can’t quite picture Tom Hanks in the lead role, but the clips I saw on the news story seemed pretty interesting.


Rev 02/05/2022

Beyond the Da Vinci Code

I read the Da Vinci Code; I thought it was a good bit of fiction, a gripping who-done-it with a clever twist at the end, as good as any of the mystery writers that I’ve enjoyed over the years, with just that bit of ‘what if’ that stirs the mental soup even when you’ve finished reading it.

I’d like to stress the word fiction again, just for those jumpy christian types who keep thinking that it is possible to disprove something that is published as fiction.

Seriously, three hours, and counting, of material on the History Channel (which gets confounded sometimes as to whether it’s actually supposed to be the PTL or the militarism channel) attempting to prove that a work of fiction is in fact, fiction.

“Yeah, it’s says it right on the spine of the book, thanks for caring, though.”

Not that they didn’t have some interesting sources during the course of the three hours. Sources that lent more credence to the thought that the story was a bit more than fiction, than to the blatant attempt to discredit the book as, once again, fiction.

So, just for grins, here are the sources:

Dr. Deirdre Good – General Theological Seminary
Dr. Karen RallsThe Templars and the Grail
Richard Leigh – Holy Blood, Holy Grail
Timothy FrekeThe Jesus Mysteries
Margaret StarbirdThe Woman with the Alabaster Jar

A heartfelt encouragement of good reading I give to you all. May you find it as intriguing as I found the History channel programs frustrating, with the exception of the insights from the sources listed above.

People should question their most firmly held beliefs. Every day. If your beliefs cannot withstand your own questioning, then are they really your beliefs?