Sunday, May 28, 2006

The DaVinci Trail, Armchair-Travel Style

The Real Da Vinci Code DVD cover Another way to visit relevant locales is vicariously, by means of armchair travel. It's a form of travel that appeals to may as it avoids the cost, delays and physical inconveniences often associated with actual travel. Despite Tom Hanks's enthusiasm about making the film being like a holiday trip, I'm reminded of his earlier holiday trip on the Flying Scotsman, where he wound up throwing up out the train window after eating Scots 'Mexican' food. Other 'set-jetting' would-be location visitors have been disappointed to discover on arrival that Rosslyn Chapel is covered in scaffolding, or that Temple Church was closed for repairs (as film critic Roger Ebert complained), or that the real St Sulpice Church is lit by modern fluorescent lighting rather than candles.
As armchair-travel vehicles, there are already a score of related documentaries, some being TV programmes and others non-broadcast DVD releases, some of which are companions to a nonfiction guidebook. A list of DVDs currently available is on the Channel 4 site (where they both sell and rent them): Da Vinci Code Decoded, The Da Vinci Code Tour, Da Vinci - Tracking The Code, Beyond The Da Vinci Code, Breaking The Da Vinci Code, Exposing The Da Vinci Code, and so on. Not all of them make satisfactory armchair-travel vehicles, being more talking heads (BBC4's recent The Da Vinci Code - The Greatest Story Ever Sold for example) than questing travelogue, but one that is suitable, and which was both televised and issued on DVD, is Channel 4's feature-length The Real Da Vinci Code. For anyone interested in this approach, I've done a programme-tour synopsis. [more]