Today, mrh posted the 1,000th comment on my blog. Holy crap. That seems like such a mammoth number for such a dusty corner of the webbertrons.

Also: this weekend The Boyf and I went to see The Da Vinci Code, where we ran into Joey and Carl. And I finished The Subtle Knife, the second book of His Dark Materials. I’m currently two chapters into the final novel, The Amber Spyglass. Thoughts below the fold, for spoiler-avoidance.

Seriously, if you’re going to read these books or see this movie and you don’t want spoilers, just know this: if you liked the book The Da Vinci Code, see the movie. If you thought the book TDVC was forgettable crap, guess what? The movie is forgettable crap. If you hated the book TDVC, don’t waste your money. If you haven’t read the book, but are curious about it, save yourself some time and watch the movie. Sir Ian McKellan is worth it, and you will have effectively just read the book because there is not a thing different between them.

Also, His Dark Materials rules us all, and you should read it.

OK, so TSK totally made me cry like a baby. I’ll be the first to say it. Lee Scoresby is my personal lord & savior. In discussing the novel with The Boyf, who has not yet read it, I referred to him as “my favorite character, Charisma McHottiePants.” Who doesn’t want to go pal around in the sky with a guy like that? I sobbed. I was so mad. It wasn’t a good few minutes. You have to love Hester, though: “It’d be a shame to die with one bullet left.” That’s a rabbit to respect.

That said, um, Eve? As the kids say, WTF? Also, how in the eighteen hells of Jupiter did the wingnuts fixate on Harry Frickin’ Potter when His Dark Materials was out there telling kids to run away with gypsies so they can (maybe – I’m still only 2 chapters into TAS) wind up fated to make direct war against God, fighting on the side of Satan, and that Satan’s side is all about individuality and freedom and honesty and honor and fate and God’s is just, like, shut up and obey, worms? Also, gay angels.

Gay. Angels.

I love this book. But I don’t understand how some freaky Christian nutjob hasn’t killed Phillip Pullman yet.

As for The Da Vinci Code… meh. I don’t regret having seen it, but that’s largely because at this point I am more interested in the cultural trainwreck that is TDVC than I am in the book itself. The book is an excellent example of meticulous research being draped over a very flimsy narrative framework. It is popcorn action, forgotten the moment you put the book down. The movie is popcorn action, just as easily forgotten the second you walk out the door. They try to cram in as much backstory as they can on people like The Monk, but it’s grainy flashbacks that try so hard to avoid the “as you know, I am your uncle” sort of expository monologues that they wind up telling you very little. Ultimately, you will think of the movie exactly the way you think of the book because it is an (almost) unaltered, word-perfect translation of the book to film. In that regard, I found it fascinating. A few touches here and there are different, yes, but overall it really was just straight-up here’s the book, filmed. Ron Howard is a total cheese-master, and the fact of the matter is that the edgy and funny and touching star of Philadelphia died on the cross of You’ve Got Mail a long time ago, meaning Tom Hanks does his thing and that’s pretty much that. In no way do they try to expand on the book, or improve upon it. They just show you the book. Period. Maybe that’s a good thing. The Boyf was pissed when the scourging of the Shire got axed in the movies of LotR, and I have frothed angrily for fifteen years every time I’ve talked about Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula because all that bullshit at the beginning about Wilhemina being Drac’s long-dead bride, reincarnated, is no-fucking-where in the novel and it completely destroys the whole point of the story, in my snooty opinion. So, maybe it’s a grand service to do such a direct, unblemished translation of book to screen. But maybe they could have… I don’t know. Done more. The novel does a crappy job of playing with a fascinating story hook. Since the movie is such a direct and literal translation of the novel, it suffers from the same criticisms. Tom Hanks does a fine job of playing Langdon, meaning he does a lot of self-righteous gasping and self-satisfied problem-solving, but that’s not Hanks’ fault, it’s Dan Brown’s for writing it that way in the first place.

The best part of the whole movie is Jean Reno playing Fache, because he’s who I kept picturing in my head when I read the novel last summer. Hey, Jean Reno getting a paycheck is a bonus in any circumstance, as far as I’m concerned.