Faith at Altitude

Religion and spirituality in the shadow of Pikes Peak

Friday, May 19, 2006

Early reviews

In Colorado Springs, Ron Howard’s movie “The Da Vinci Code” is generating on opening day what the book has for three years: interest, confusion and mixed reviews.

Springs moviegoers leaving “Da Vinci” matinees were generally more positive than film critics, who panned the movie as too long and too dull. One audience member said the movie was “stunning.” Others said the film was just OK, and a few felt it fell short of the book.

“It kept the pace going faster,” said Randall Niles of Dan Brown's 2003 novel. Niles is a theologian who works for the Web site All About

He also said the film's controverisal theological message was watered down compared to the book. Many Christians objected to author Dan Brown's speculation that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were involved sexually and Brown's portrayal of the Roman Catholic Church. Niles, though, believes the film might kick-start good theological discussions.

"If your faith's in jeopardy over a movie like this, your faith's in the wrong place," he said.

Bob Driscoll said the movie shook his faith. "It's a whole new perspective on what you believe," said Driscoll, who had not read the book. "Of course, it's all just based on speculation, but it (the movie) was excellent."

For Heidi Pinckert, the movie's theology was old hat. Pinckert is a practicing pagan who studies the Divine Feminine, a theme central to "Da Vinci."

"A lot of the thoughts behind this are really not all that new," she said.

Other comments:

** "I thought it was better than the reviews," said Carole Muir. "It doesn't shake my faith any. I mean, I know it's fiction, and it doesn't hurt to think about things."

** "I thought it was intriguiing and done very well," said Tina Jordan. "I thought it was hopeful and inspiring. In the beginning, it had a little bit too much violence for my taste."

** John Horn said, "If you have faith, that's what faith is and movies don't make a difference. Your faith should stand on its own."

** "I am a big fan," said Trent Garber. "I think it had mystery and action and religion -- all the makings of a great movie."

** "I think it would've been more fun to have pushed the envelope more," said Tom Paradise. "They softened some things, like Tom Hanks saying in the end 'it's what you want to believe.' That kind of takes the edge off the book."

Many thanks to Gazette staff writer Trudy Thomas for helping me round up these quotes.


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