23 May 2006

mona lisa

Da Vinci Code

Not even Prospero's Cell escapes the film of *that* book about the Holy Grail being the body of Mary Magdalene, news of whose marriage to Jesus the Church has suppressed these ages.

I have wasted words on this subject before, when I first took up the book.

Funny bad: Actually, the cinematic treatment is rather a boon to good literature: such rambling rubbish in an hilarious way that no right-minded person on Corfu is even contemplating reading the actual book.

sir ian mckellenSir Teabags: There is one improvement in the movie treatment: the casting of the brilliant Sir Ian McKellen to play the villain, 'British Royal historian' Sir Leigh Teabing.

Sir Ian, as they say, chews up the scenery and I love the bit where he faces his pursuers with a throwaway, "If you must shoot someone, start with *him*", pointing at his manservant.

Highbrow thick: At least he ignores Brown's stage directions in the book where he has Sir Leigh speaking sometimes in a "thick English accent", at others in "highbrow British". It makes one wonder if Brown has ever talked to any thick highbrows. I'd have been delighted to entertain him to tea and chatter away in my fluting highbrow Oxford burr.

Oh, O! (Anag.). The code that needs cracking is

'O, draconian devil! Oh, lame saint!'

which turns out to be an anagram of

'Leonardo da Vinci! The Mona Lisa!'
In my opinion, that cheats in that it requires one to spell 'O' both ways.

Privileged membership: Back to Leigh Teabing (ridiculously unlikely name, Teabing, but I suppose Brown thought its closeness to 'teabag' would ring more authentically in American readers' ears): Brown has clearly never met a Knight of the Realm (or a widow or wastrel elder son of one) because he comes up with some extraordinary scenarios

  • When Teabing flies sexy Gauloise Sophie to Britain, he gets her thru Immigration thanks to his knighthood ('Membership has its privileges'). Actually, mamzel's owed a few privileges of her own, purportedly being the latest in a line of children descended from Christ's "membership" with Mary Magdalene.

    As for Sir Teabing traipsing thru on a mere K, in today's emasculated Britain of multi-cultural eggshell tiptoeing and cloying inclusive racial correctitude, it's best to keep one's gongs pretty damn'd quiet lest the bureaucracy yobs and illiterate illegal aliens at their 'puter screens decide to put one through various equal rights hoops just to show they're every bit as good as you.

  • Poshpartout : He has 'an embossed card identifying him as a Knight of the Realm' and which he just has to show to have security guards fawning and forelock tugging and waving him thru.
  • Parks butters and shoots: He instructs his driver to park in Horse Guards Parade, where he causes his demise with peanut butter before gliding over to Westminster Abbey to shoot Tom Hanks.

    Where in God's name did Brown do his homework? I can understand flubbing the arcane trivia of British ennoblement, but his notion of basic London parking is crazy.

    You'd have thought Sir Ian would have put them right ... on the other hand, I guess not: he'd have spotted it as a lost (but lucrative) cause and just lain back and thought of England.

    A crumb of comfort is the possibility that a blip of a per centage of Brown's readers might visit the UK and use his research for the gospel truth it for which it has been so loudly hailed the length and breadth of academe.

    Can't you see it?

    Ted: "Goddam country. I thought the Brits were meant to have got this right-"

    Julie: "There's a space - there. Quick. Oh, darn."

    Ted: "Goddam country. What's with all these freakin' cars anyway? I thought they were supposed to go round in those horse and carriages like in Sherlock Holmes - same to you, fellah - I mean *look* at all these cars ... "

    Julie (brainwave): "Ted! Hang a left - there, where the sign's pointing to Horseguard's Parade."

    Ted: "A-riigghhtt! This is more like it. This is what I call parking. No danger of dings here."

    Julie: "I suddenly remembered it from the Da Vinci Code."

    Ted: "Nice one, hon'. Man, that Dan Brown is one smart cookie."

    the divine Sophie Marceau Sophie's the choice: Speaking of 'flying Sophie', the feisty française is played by the delightful Audrey Tautou who so beguiled us as Amélie, but I'm flattered to see that my own suggestion from yonks back of Sophie Marceau is supported by others.

    Tautou is cute enough and the perfect gel to take back to mum or simper her way thru Immigration, but even Brown's inability to add an ounce of flesh to his characters made clear that Mr Hanks' con-soeur was a ballsy broad.

    sophie marceauAnyway, excellent excuse to run a pic of MlleMarceau.

    Craig Brown: Last word has to go to my old mucker, the brilliant parodist Craig Brown whose Daily Telegraph piece nails the Fifteen things you didn't know about The Da Vinci Code

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