Monday, May 29, 2006

At Least it Wasn't the Butler

Ninety two percent of the eighty five million Filipino population are Christians with eighty percent being Roman Catholics. They take their religious duties seriously some to an extent that could be called fanaticism. During Holy Week in Pampanga Province some Filipinos indulge in flagellation and some even braver souls are crucified for as long as they can stand the pain.

Consequently it comes as no great surprise that 4 of the 10 Glorietta Mall screens are showing continuous sessions of The Da Vinci Code. Admittedly it isn’t the box office bonanza that Mel’s Passion of Christ was, but then it doesn’t have the same graphic appeal. Who would have thought that if you scratch Mel Gibson you’d find a Filipino from Pampanga Province?

Howard sanitizes the gory bits with his Happy Days approach to film making. The Da Vinci Code is Indiana Jones meets Happy Days and the mix don’t work all that well when the humour is left on the cutting room floor. It is little wonder that Cannes gave it the bum’s rush.

I must admit I haven’t read the book. Airport Literature is not my preferred reading material except when stranded between flights. This fortunately hasn’t happened since Dan Brown released his best seller. The last time it did happen I managed to down both of Mitch Albom’s novels, Tuesday’s with Morrie and The Five People you meet in Heaven, along with more Starbucks than is good for one. But that is another story.

To give the master mind behind the code his due, Dan Brown’s taking a hunt for buried treasure, mix in some mud to throw at a sacred cow, add a reluctant hero, a beautiful heroine who is more than she seems, an evil genius and a misguided flat foot and you have the recipe for a good old fashioned pot boiler. When the sacred cow takes the bait and bellows long and loud, best seller here we come, not to mention a lucrative movie deal.

The movie itself is ok, in a who done it sort of way, which if there are no other pressing matters will keep you seated until the final reel. Although I was sorely disappointed that Harrison Ford didn’t make an appearance. Tom Hanks just doesn’t have his rugged good looks nor his laconic humour, but perhaps folks the latter wasn’t his fault.

My other gripe with The Code was the ending, well more precisely the number of endings. A false ending can give a nice kick to send you on your way, but 4. Really Ron how many sets of steak knives do you think I can use.

The final word on The Code must go to my best beloved, who unlike your scribe is a card carrying Christian although not of the Roman persuasion. Her 4 word comment as we left the cinema was “I don’t believe it.”


Anonymous said...

How you goin' mate? I wouldn't equate the gory flagellation of Pampanguenos with any moral or religous devotion to the Catholic faith.

I know of Pampaguenos who do metamphetamines and gamble all year long and "absolve" of these sins by this once a year ritual of flagellation. It's a bit hypocritical, but that's their sick little way of justifying and absolving their Catholic guilt.

For some, it's also just a right of passage, something to prove your manhood, nothing more.

Henry Bateman said...

I have no doubt what you say is true and I suspect that Mel's Passion is of a similar ilk. It is just interesting to note that Passion did much better box office that The Code.

Henry Bateman said...

Thanks anonymouse #2 I try, some say I am very bloody trying Ü.