Compare and Contrast
“The Da Vinci Code” Film With the Book
The Da Vinci code novel was written in 2003 and three years later the movie was produced. A book allows the reader to develop a relationship with the character, an aspect that is lost when the book is adapted into a movie. Watching a movie is definitely not the same as reading a book. Due to expenses and time constraints, a film cuts out most of the parts of a book and the viewer is left with only a shallow version of the story. This is a feature that was present in the adaptation of Dan Brown’s book ‘The Da Vinci Code.’ The film did indeed leave out most parts of the novel. In both the characters are the same. The protagonist is a Harvard professor who specializes in Symbiology. The story also involves a fugitive code breaker. In his attempt to remain truthful to the book, the producer jumps around the conversation too much. He tries to fit everything that he can about the book in a film that is approximately two and a half hours. The director relies so much on flashback it becomes a bit difficult to keep pace with the movie. He takes the viewer from one country to the other in his attempt to cover all that he can. The book provides a more relaxing atmosphere and it allows the reader to take the pleasure in all the sites mentioned. Despite the fact that there are many conversations which take place in the book, this fact has not been highlighted in the movie. Of course it would be absurd to expect every conversation, but the movie could have tried to add some of the topics that were being discussed in the novel. The movie also lacks the tension that keeps the viewer at the edge of their seats. This is a sad fact indeed since most movies will use video imagery to capture some of these facts. It could have utilized video technology to make the tense part more thrilling. The book captures and develops the relationship between Langdon and Sophie. Their relationship develops and ends up in a passionate love. Unfortunately the reader can only imagine this and can only allow himself or herself to form the images that he or she desires since the movie makes it to be so dull and boring. The book seems to be fighting more for female rights to power where all matters concerning church Christianity and religion are concerned. However, watching the movie, the same old male dominance seems to be taking center stage. The woman who is supposed to be the main focus and attention of the so called power is relegated to some beauty who rarely thinks for herself. Although the novel seems to be advocating for feminine power this is not the case as far as the movie is concerned (Karounos 2006). The book also includes more artifacts than the movie. As the story ends in the book, the reader is given the option to choose the side that he or she believes in. Langdon repeats that phrase twice. In the film the words are changed and rather than the reader, it is commented that it is what Mary Magdalene believes to be true. There are some parts which the director, Ron Howard added that were not part of the novel. For instance, when Sauniere is murdered messages begin to appear this is not something that is seen in the book. There is not much that is said in the movie even by the major characters. This is especially evident in the character of tom hanks who actually says very little. The first chapters of the book open when he is the protagonist. His importance is seen as he is called to help solve a murder case. The book had a lot of suspense build upon it. It was not easy to predict what the next thing that was going to happen was. This is something that lacks in the movie. The only character bringing out the element of suspense is Leigh Teabing a character played by Ian McKellen. When Dan wrote the book, he classified it as a work of fiction, something that the movie directors and producers refused to do (Thavis, 2006). This is an important fact, because as is common knowledge, pictures influence a lot of people more than words do. The movie is bound to make a lasting impression on its viewers. The novel begins with a fact page. In the preface, Dan brown writes that all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals that have been included in the five hundred page novel are accurate. This is something that is missing in the movie. Some of the documents cited by Dan as proof in the novels preface were discovered to be forgeries which leaves a person to question the books credibility. The character of the Opus Dei in the book is not as brutal and cruel as that portrayed in the movie. Another important factor that is given prominence in the book is that of the Vatican. The book mentions the Vatican a number of times and gives it a bad name. Although there is the mention of the Vatican in the movie, it is does happen as much as it does in the book. This fact can however be explained by the fact that the book has a lot of space to tell the story unlike the movie. Although the book and the movie, give the Priory of Sion prominence, at one time the character of Langdon declares that the organization was discovered to be a deception. Another thing that seems to cheapen the film’s adaptation is the type of codes that are to be broken. Some of them are at the elementary level and it does not take much effort or skill to break them (Giese 2006). An additional point where the difference between the movie and the novel are clearly exhibited is the movie’s claim that the church played a role in hiding Mary Magdalene’s tomb. This part is not clearly spelled out in the novel. Furthermore the movie claims that the source of God’s power here on earth is provided by St. Mary’s relics. Another difference is that the novel does not say that Silas is an albino but classifies him as one without tan. However, the movie directors chose to use an albino. The movie also uses more violence in some scenes than the book called for (Green 2006). Some of the differences noted include the physical appearance of the characters. Dan brown has spelt out how he expects his characters to look like a fact that has been ignored in the movie. Sophie’s character is described as a lady who is tall and redhead. In the movie, Tautou, who plays the character, is a lady of average height who is also a brunette. Another difference is Teabing’s character who;, according to the book is plump and fat. This is not the case in the movie. There are other points which the movie cannot explain, but which are brought out clearly in the book. For instance, the book seems to be obsessed with sexual themes. According to Dan, the Star of David is represented by two triangles which show the male and female parts. It also sees sex as an act through which a person gains gnosis or spiritual knowledge. Another peculiar thing is that according to the book, the worshippers of Mary Magdalene see orgasm as a form of prayer (Brown pp 308-309). One of the major similarities between the book and the film is their inaccuracy where history and biblical facts are concerned. There is also the desire by both the author of the book and the director to demonize the church especially the Catholic Church. Dan brown, when writing his book, knew very well that he would rub a lot of people the wrong way when he chose the subject of Jesus. He knew that if he sparked controversy in the church a lot of people would be attracted to his book. One of the inaccuracies made in the novel is that of the Priory of the Sion. This is a sect or a secret organization that worships Mary Magdalene. According to them she is a goddess who was left to head the church instead of peter. According to the catholic website this is not true and it is a fraud that was discovered a long time ago (Thavis 2006). One of the biblical inaccuracies is that Jesus Christ was a mortal man who was married to Mary Magdalene and they apparently had a daughter. This was apparently done so that they could unite two royal Jewish families. Dan does not seem to realize that prior to Mary Magdalene meeting Jesus, she had been a prostitute. The only thing that made her follow him was the fact that Jesus, unlike other men, had looked favorably upon her and had not judged her. he had instead forgiven her and accepted her. According to Dan, Jesus left his descendants on earth. In the novel, it also talks of the followers of Jesus seeing him as just another prophet and not the son of God. Another controversial fact which the book claims is that the church used the pagan idols and rituals and incorporated them ion their services. This fact is not dwelt on in the movie. Infact, brown contradicts himself when he says that the same pagan idols that the church used are the same ones that it demonized (Watts, 2006). Whichever way a person may choose to look at it both the movie and the book are very controversial. It requires a person with a sober mind who is not into religion to review the work and note the differences. The differences noted, though some may seem minor, are very important. The director tried to flow the flow of the book but this is not easy to do. Adapting a book to a film requires the careful scrutiny of the most minute details. The two are of different media. While literary text allows the reader to engage his imagination and create the images as he would want them, such s not the case with the film. A person gets to see what is presented before them and can only critique it without hope of seeing any changes being done. Adaptation gives the director an opportunity to correct the points that the book had left out. Some of the directors are quick to capitalize on this and they end up making a good movie. Others miss the opportunity and they do not want to do the extra work. So in the end, they end up presenting shoddy work which may even be poor than the original text. Works cited: Brown, Dan. The Da Vinci code: novel. Doubleday. 2003. Print Giese, Rachel. The Da Vinci code: from page turner to cinematic snooze. 19. may 2006. Web. 21 June 2010. Green, Frederica. Worse Than the Book. 19 May 2006. Web. 21 June 2010. Karounos, Michael. The Da Vinci Code. The Greatest Story Never Told. 2006. web. 21 June 2010 Thavis, John. ‘Da Vinci Code’ Softens Book’s Hard Edges, Draws Press Viewing Laughs. 17 May 2006. Web. 21 June 2010. Watts, Gordon. Book and movie review if the Da Vinci code. 23 may 2006. Web. 21 June 2010.
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