... The Da Vinci Hoax. The May 22, 2006, feature article, "Debating Da Vinci," was written by Jeffery L. Sheler, who quotes from our book a couple of times in the course of addressing some of TDVC's main assertions. Entire article is available online here.
It is clear from the opening scenes, featuring the Louvre curator
running in fear through the museum's dark galleries with the homicidal
albino monk Silas in pursuit, that this is a film that will race along
at a breakneck pace. ...
(Note: Silas's ability to run around at night with great stealth and agility is emarkable, I suppose, considering that people with albinism have poor to very poor vision.)
Although the movie closely follows the book's
storyline, Howard delivers something Dan Brown doesn't - dramatic
recreations of events relating to the book's central inflammatory
theory that for 2,000 years the Catholic Church has been covering up
the fact that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and fathered a
daughter, whose bloodline has survived into present-day Europe.
well as scenes of the Inquisition and of women being tortured, burned
and drowned, Howard shows Mary Magdalene fleeing the Holy Land for
France and giving birth there.
Very early on, within weeks after deciding that
I wanted to do the movie, Brian Grazer, my producing partner at
Imagine, Akiva Goldsman, the writer, and I went on the “Da Vinci Code”
tour in London and in Paris. The person giving the tour didn’t know
that we were working on the film and that we had already read the novel
three or four times each. He kept describing everything about the story
in great detail and at a certain point we said, we really know the
story. Just drive us to the places and talk about the history. It was
great—this blending of real places, verifiable factoids with these
conspiracy theories that made the novel popular. During filming, I got
to virtually live the Da Vinci Code Tour for about four or five months
and it was fun and eye-opening. You do learn a lot about your world.
Perhaps "your world," but not the real world. After all, even Dan Brown's descriptions of modern-day places are full of errors — a remarkable achievement considering how many maps, travel books, and online information are available. But I digress. Back to Howard:
Early on, when I seriously began considering
doing the movie, Tom gave me a call and said, “Do you want to talk
about ‘The Da Vinci Code’?” He had read it and really liked it. He was
intrigued about playing a career academic and man of that [level of]
intellect. He had a real instant sense of the character that I thought
was absolutely authentic. I really wanted authenticity in the
characters to counterbalance the strangeness of the story. One of the
things that he kept saying was, “Let’s get as much of the book into the
movie as possible.” He was a big advocate of that. He has a fantastic
bullshit detector. He wants to try to find the truth in his character
and present it as much as possible so he was never interested in trying
to turn it into something that it wasn’t—some kind of a superhero,
super sleuth of a role.
Dare I suggest that someone's "detector" wasn't working very well when he read and filmed The Da Vinci Code? As for Langdon's vaunted intellect, it was fully exposed as severely lacking on page 298 (hardcover), when it took him an eternity to realize that he (a symbologist!) and Sophie (a detective!) cannot figure out that they are staring at reversed text. "I don't know," Langdon whispered intently, "My first guess is a Semitic, but now I'm not so sure." Uh, how about holding it up to a mirror, brilliant boy? Anyone--and I mean anyone--who has looked at Leonardo da Vinci's sketchbooks will know what they are seeing. But, again, I've strayed. Back to Howard and Hanks:
Frankly, if Tom Hanks did not become an actor, I
am really certain that he would have become a high profile academic. He
loves history. He loves that kind of problem-solving. He’s fascinated
by the world and the way it works, loves to talk and think about it,
loves to consider all the possibilities so he took to this character
He loves history. Neat. Quick, Ron and Tom, give us the name of one real art scholar (with a real degree from a real school) who thinks that The Last Supper depicts Mary Magdalene seated to the right of Jesus. Or one biblical scholar who thinks that gnostic texts present a more human, believable Jesus than do the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John (all it takes to prove otherwise is to actually read them. Really, it's that simple). Or any historian who thinks that nobody believed Jesus was divine until A.D. 325. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
This fully illustrated guide to the best-selling novel gives you fresh insight into the Da Vinci Code phenomenon. Following the path of the novel's characters, Fodor's Guide to The Da Vinci Code delves into the locations, people, historic events, and symbols involved in the story.
Inside you'll find answers to questions such as: Do cryptexes really exist? Is there a secret chamber below Rosslyn Chapel? And what did conservators discover when they restored Leonardo's The Last Supper? Photographs interviews, maps, and smart lively essays from experts in their fields reveal the eye-opening true tales behind the mystery.
Uh, isn't the novel just a novel? Isn't that what so many people keep saying to us silly Christians who are clearly too dull to understand the difference between fiction and reality? Or, is this just a marketing ploy? Of course it's a marketing ploy — and one that shamlessly revels in the nonsensical and stupid claims made by the novel. And Fodor's website features "The Da Vinci Code Tour," (Paris, London, Scotland, England, and New York!), and includes quotes from the novel while resorting to this sort of silly copy-writing:
"A must-read before a trip to Paris," wrote "Jay" on the Fodors.com Travel Talk forums earlier this year. The book he was describing: Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code, a suspense story wrapped around a lecture on art and religion. Although the real meaning behind Leonardo's art is ultimately unknowable, the real-life places in which Brown has set his tale are known to historians and tourists throughout the world, and the book has inspired travelers to visit them.. ...
The Da Vinci Code opens with a late-night visit by the police to Robert Langdon, a prominent symbologist from Harvard University. The curator of the Louvre has been killed inside the museum, and a cryptic message has been found alongside the body. Thus begins a tale involving murder, religious intrigue, and a quest for the Holy Grail. To operatives of the Vatican and Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic group, the secrets the curator was trying to protect flew in the face of church teachings, giving both organizations an incentive to suppress them. [emphasis added]
So, in light of this copy (and there are other examples), what does it mean to say, "The novel has really given people a new way to look at these destinations and these sights"? Obvi0usly it refers to the connections the novel makes between real places and real groups (Catholics, Opus Dei) and not-s0-real events (the Lecture, the suppression of "secrets"). Tourists are encouraged to associate fictional events with real places as a way of enhancing and even enlightening their travels. Sadly, as Sandra Miesel shows in our book, The Da Vinci Hoax, Brown's descriptions of modern day places and buildings are often incorrect. As Sandra likes to dryly note, The Da Vinci Code is correct in saying Paris is in France and London is in England. After that, you'd be better of trusting Fodors. Maybe.
From a reader, who wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons:
My son attends a Catholic high school. Last year, when he was a freshman, his history teacher offered extra credit to a student to to read this book. I found that appalling, and let him know it. Even though the book is "fiction", I have several coworkers who believe that much of the historical information in this book is true. Apparently, the author gives that impression. Catholics, and nonCatholics, are so ignorant of Church history that they just fall for anything.
Quite true. After all, the Chicago Tribune said Dan Brown's fourth novel is "brain candy" that "trans[mits] several doctorates' worth of fascinating history and learned speculation." The Library Journal opines that TDVC is "a compelling blend of history and page-turning suspense." And BookReporter.com states:
A stunning new thriller that will provoke much debate. Dan Brown's extensive research on secret societies and symbology adds intellectual depth to this page-turning thriller. His surprising revelations on Da Vinci's penchant for hiding codes in his paintings will lead the reader to search out renowned artistic icons as The Mona Lisa, The Madonna of the Rocks and The Last Supper. The Last Supper holds the most astonishing coded secrets of all and, after reading The Da Vinci Code, you will never see this famous painting in quite the same way again.
Well, we know a lot more about that "extensive research" now, thanks to the trial in London. Brown's reliance on Holy Blood, Holy Grail is obvious (regardless of whether or not it is plagiarism), as is his admitted reliance on The Templar Revelation for nearly everything in the novel about Leonardo da Vinci's life and artwork:
The Templar Revelation discussed secret Templar history and the possible involvement of Leonardo da Vinci. This Da Vinci connection fit well into my desire to write in Langdon's domain, the world of art. I became excited about using Leonardo da Vinci as an historical touchstone and plot device for my new novel. Bernini had been central to Angels & Demons and I had enjoyed writing that book. Moreover, I knew Blythe was an enormous fan of Leonardo da Vinci and would be eager to help me research. It was probably at about this time that I came up with the title The Da Vinci Code. ... Da Vinci is also the connection between art and the secret society that I chose to include in The Da Vinci Code - the Priory of Sion. Like Da Vinci's paintings, the Priory of Sion and Da Vinci's involvement with it is discussed in Templar Revelation. (Witness Statement, pars. 97, 102)