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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Beyond the Da Vinci Code (review)

Beyond The Da Vinci Code? Not so much beyond: more like a cashing-in, a ride on the coattails of the immensely popular book. This hastily thrown together History Channel documentary purports to examine the “truths” and “controversies” of Dan Brown’s bestselling novel, but actually it just tosses out some elementary comparative mythology, a few talking-head scholars , and some reenactment footage of a handsome Jesus smooching a sultry Mary Magdalene, to illustrate the novel’s “shocking” suggestion that the much-maligned Biblical gal was Jesus’s main squeeze and not a prostitute after all. The narration, courtesy of the soothing, authoritative voice of actor Edward Herrmann, casually reveals one of the big secrets of the novel — if this was about Citizen Kane, Hermann would have say, “Because of Kane’s fixation on his childhood toy of a sled named Rosebud…” — but never mind. Any mainsteam suggestion that Christianity might benefit from a return to the idea of the feminine divine — as both the book and this doc do — is A-OK.

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MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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