Friday, May 19, 2006

Tiny epiphany

Watching Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark tonight with Kid #1 made me realize what bothers me most about The Da Vinci Code (other than the fact that Da Vinci is not a last name). Whereas the magnum opus of Dan Brown takes itself far too seriously, this fun little piece of American movie making refuses to deploy any of its mythology in a heavy-handed way. Nazis, the face-melting Angel of Death, rainforest temples loaded with rolling stones and poison darts: I'd forgotten all the chuckles the film provides, while in a way taking all these things seriously enough.

I love the fact that the United States ends up with the Ark of the Covenant, making the U.S the New Chosen People of the Biblical God ... only the ark gets misplaced in warehouse somewhere, and no one really cares.

10 comments:

JKW said...

Of course, the Sean Connery character (Indy's dad) is a medievalist, is he not? And isn't there a line in the film to the effect that Indy's dad teaches medieval literature, the class that no one wants to take?

Karl Steel said...

JKW, I hadn't realized that. At any rate, Sean Connery doesn't appear until the third film. But I can say that I saw film #1 for the first time when I was 9 and I loved it. I checked the soundtrack out from the library and listened to the 'Jones get dragged underneath the truck' music 100s of times.

(confidential to all link-followers: I apologize for my snarkiness on that DVC comment thread. I wrote those comments before I reinvented my online persona)

J J Cohen said...

A Karl without some snark just wouldn't be Karl.

Here is some more Da Vinci flusteration, for those who haven't had enough.

J J Cohen said...

PS Were Sean Connery teaching medieval literature, everyone would want to be a medievalist. We need more medievalists with Scottish glam.

Rick Terpstra said...

Your comparison highlights how badly Brown failed in trying to invoke the Indy feel for his books. Remeber, he described Langdon as "Harrison Ford in Harris tweed." Alas, no.

J J Cohen said...

Are you the same Rick Terpstra who studied medieval lit with me here at GW many moons ago? If so, it's good to hear from you!

J J Cohen said...

And what's all this about academics having to wear tweed? Who wrote that rule? True, the legendary tweed tuxedo of Dr. Richard Nokes must be a thing of beauty, but I don't understand tweediness in non-formal situations.

Rick Terpstra said...

Yep, it's me. I'm doing well. I'm now a lawyer practicing in the Philly area. Deb and I are getting married in September after nine(!) years. Things really couldn't be better.

I'm glad to hear things are going well at the alma mater. I tell ya, reading a lot of the stuff you have posted brings back some good memories.

Lindsay Raddeman said...

Is it wrong that I still picture Kid#1 as the toddler who tried to grab my chest at the department graduation party in 1998?

By the way, a belated congratulations on Kids 2-beyond.

J J Cohen said...

Rick: congratulations on the impending nuptials -- I'm so pleased to hear you and Deb are getting married. And if you happen to become a wealthy lawyer at some point in your career, don't forget that my life's ambition is to have a former student endow a chair of medieval studies for me at GW.

Lindsay: It might be a little bit wrong. But now you can see why it took us seven years to get up the courage to have another -- and she is just as challenging! (She sweetly asked me yesterday as she plunged her finger into a white spot on a bench: "Can I touch this dirty bird poop?")