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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Beyond the Da Vinci Code
Beyond the Da Vinci Code
A&E Video // Unrated // June 28, 2005
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted July 3, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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A U D I O
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R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
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The Movie:

With the major movie starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard gearing up for a major release next year, one can easily bet on the fact that a fresh wave of promotion and discussion regarding "The Da Vinci Code" will start up. This History Channel doc does discuss the Dan Brown novel, but focuses mainly on the theories behind the story, expands upon them and talks about the potential realities involved. The 90-minute program introduces some of the elements of the book, and then discusses (with interviews with historians) as to whether there are any realities behind it all.

Essentially, The Da Vinci Code notes that Jesus and Mary Magdalene did have a relationship and there were children. Eventually, information about this and the events that the blood line encountered were passed down to Leonardo Da Vinci, who encoded information in his artwork. It also presents theories about the existence and the destination of the Holy Grail. Overall, the story takes a look at what could have been Christian origins.

Those familiar with these sort of History Channel programs will find that "Beyond the Da Vinci Code" stands up nicely alongside the rest in terms of quality. There are several nicely staged reinactions of some moments, and the program smoothly cuts between reinactments, additional footage (shots of artifacts, scenes, etc) and interviews. Narration smoothly holds together the entire enterprise, and although there's a few too many questions from the narrator, it all does keep the interest and is superbly paced.

Many of the readers of Dan Brown's novel may not be familiar about the fact that some of the ideas and theories present have existed for many years, so this documentary will certainly provide a lot of interesting backhistory for those who have recently read Brown's work. There are some varying opinions offered and a few questions that seemed left unanswered, but keeping some of it a mystery continues the fascination in the subject. Given that this "Da Vinci Code" piece isn't so heavily tied into the book, it may also be of general interest to the three or four who haven't read the bestseller.


The DVD

VIDEO: The presentation is offered in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation quality is terrific for a made-for-television documentary. Sharpness and detail are quite good, as the picture appeared crisp and well-defined, with no concerns. No edge enhancement, pixelation or shimmer was seen, and colors appeared bright and well-saturated.

SOUND: The stereo soundtrack was perfectly adequate, with clear dialogue, narration and sound effects.

EXTRAS: Nothing.

Final Thoughts: "Beyond the Da Vinci Code" is an excellent documentary that touches upon Dan Brown's bestseller and then opens up a complete and engaging look at - and debate regarding - the whole history of the theories and ideas involved. Again, it's certainly recommended to those who have read the book, but those who haven't may find it a very interesting stand-alone program.
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