‘The Da Vinci Code’ or ‘Hype Noon’
Pop quiz, hot shot. What’s the biggest sign that a movie is going to suck harder than a fat kid trying to eat syrup with a straw?
Time’s up. It’s hype, that relentless marketing beast that does everything in its power to cram as much advertising for a movie that it can from buying bus ads to convincing the media to treat the premiere as “news” to tattooing the release date on your mother’s forehead.
Hype tells you that you have to see a certain movie or the world will shun you like an Amish boy who is spotted by a village elder shopping at the Sharper Image.
If you didn’t see Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” then God wouldn’t love you and your guardian angel would be replaced with one of those uppity temps who would spend all day filing her nails and getting indignant when you ask her to put more toner in the copier.
If you didn’t see “United 93,” then you weren’t a good American and you were not only letting the terrorists win, but you were also letting them go on to the bonus round where they could win even more fabulous cash and prizes.
If you didn’t see all three of the “Star Wars” prequels, then you weren’t a good movie buff and George Lucas would have you killed in your sleep by an Ewok.
Recently, “The Da Vinci Code” unleashed its hype brigade and the efforts have paid off handsomely. The movie, starring Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, a framed symbologist whose hair stunt doubles for Journey frontman Steve Perry, raked in over $77 million smackers, which, divided by $8 a ticket minus discounts for senior citizens and multiplied by the number of free passes, is roughly – a lot of tickets.
Normally, I avoid movies drowned in hype like a psycho ex-girlfriend with the plague because when you set the expectations that high, failure is bound to follow. And with “The Da Vinci Code,” the expectations couldn’t have been much higher if it was a girl in a Doors song.
Day after day, there were reports reminding us that the premiere date was just a few days away. Bookstores piled Dan Brown’s overblown epic in sales stacks on tables like so much literary crack. The day of the film’s opening there was a front page, above-the-fold story in the local newspaper just about the movie. I’d rather see “Marmaduke” on the front page.
There were even reams of religious protesters who joined in the fun by boycotting the film because the plot suggests that Jesus had a wife and that the Catholic Church was trying to cover it up. All that did was feed into the hype. What do they think they would accomplish? They are boycotting a movie that isn’t geared toward them. That’s like PETA vowing not to buy Ted Nugent’s line of beef jerky.
Of course, the big problem that no one seemed to address until it was too late is that, guess what, the movie sucks. I know because I saw it and there’s not enough Visine in the world to stop the burning in my eyes.
I took my brother out for a movie over the weekend, and because “M:I:III” (now with more I’s!) was nearly two hours away, I swallowed my pride, wiped the sweat off my brow and said in a cracked voice, “Two tickets for ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ please.” The massive strain this put on my ego almost gave my brain a hernia.
We plopped ourselves down in the cushy theater seats, put our feet up on the arm rests in front of us and waited for the movie to start. A half-hour later, the opening credits rolled and I mumbled under my breath about having to wait so long to watch what I paid to see. Little did I know that a harsh mistress named “Irony” was about to give me a good, hard spanking.
Two hours passed, and this snorefest wasn’t even close to finished. I was squirming in my seat like an astronaut who overdosed on prune juice before takeoff. The movie dragged on and on and on and on, and the audience was being dragged behind it. They not only explained the secret of the secrets, but they took more time to explain the explanations of the secrets, the nature of the explanations and, just to make sure, the nature of the secrets again, and they did it all in this painfully slow, measured tone that could make William Shatner sound like a livestock auctioneer.
So the next time some overhyped movie blows into your town, run, don’t walk, from your nearest theater because if you don’t, then the terrorists win.
Danny Gallagher is a freelance writer, reporter and humorist living in Texas. For more editions of “Movies that Suck,” visit him on the Web at http://www.dannygallagher.net.
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