Tonight at Winchester Cathedral The Da Vinci Code will be described as “usually stilted and often worse … a sensationalist thriller … with all its inaccuracies and absurdities” – and the makers of the film, released next month, have paid for the swingeing attack.
Last winter the tombs of Victorian worthies in the nave were wrapped up in fake ancient stonework, and the glorious medieval building was flooded with special effects mist, through which ranks of armoured Knights Templar assembled to surround the Pope.
The cathedral will be seen in two scenes of the The Da Vinci Code, after several other English churches turned the film-makers down flat.
The Winchester chapter debated whether to host Dan Brown’s plot that for two millennia the church has stopped at nothing, including murder, to suppress the truth that Christ married Mary Magdalene, and that their bloodline survives to this day.
Source: Dismantling The Da Vinci Code By Sandra Miesel, Crisis, Sep. 1, 2003
Finally, Winchester decided unanimously to give permission, take the £20,000 location fee – and use it to pay for an exhibition in the cathedral itself, and the lecture series beginning tonight.
Professor Michael Wheeler, curator of the exhibition, launches the series, and later speakers include Michael Scott-Joint, Bishop of Winchester. It all adds up to a point by point demolition of the book and film. The decision to take the money was not just to help with the cathedral’s £6,000-a-day running costs, but to seize the chance to address the huge market for the book and film.
Professor Wheeler said that while The Da Vinci Code was “good for nothing” as literature, “it’s good as a white-knuckle narrative of the kind we see in action movies”. He likes a puzzle himself, and says of the plot’s labyrinth of conspiracy theories and gender politics: “It’s all quite yummy really – it just doesn’t have a lot to do with religion.”