Sunday, May 28, 2006

Read The Book, See The Movie … Now Visit The Locations

Regarding TDVC, what may be of interest for our purposes here is the glimpse afforded in the film of the ‘sacred’ sites used in the novel and the film. Hanks called making the film "one fabulous vacation adventure moment after the next" – which perhaps give some insight in his decision to star in a story he has called a lot of “hooey”. However for those who want to follow in the characters’ footsteps to pursue the film’s “Seek the Truth” motto, there are various resources. For those who want to see the story’s various settings but don’t want to have to plan their own itinerary, a number of tour packages have been created, now that “set-jetting” is a recognized form of tourism. There is a representative itinerary, from The Scottish and French tourist boards have joined forces to offer a “Codebreaker” prize (the adjacent photo is from a London travel-agency window), VisitBritain offers a destinations list, VisitScotland are promoting a 3-night DVC-themed short break, and are offering a June charter trip from London to Paris for £169, are offering a package in conjunction with EuroStar, who seem to be the most involved with this idea. The cross-channel train company put on a special-livery train to take 300 of the film’s cast and crew and studio reps to Cannes for the premiere, and now offer their own travel package ‘The Da Vinci Code Eurostar Quest’ with $200,000 in prizes and gifts. (One press report implies EuroStar were inspired by the fact Dan Brown’s novel was the most-left behind item on train seats – though of course this fact is capable of an alternative and more negative explanation.) The Channel 4 ‘microsite’ (done in lurid comic-book style as part of their ‘Weird Worlds’ section) from Feb 2005, lists itself as produced “in association with EuroStar”. For the independent traveller, there’s information from the VisitBritain site. Fodor's, the travel-guide publishers, also have an online 'Da Vinci Code Tour' guide detailing the various locations covered in the novel, such as London. In print, some of the discover-the-real-Da-Vinci-Code guidebooks have site info. There’s now also The Da Vinci Code Travel Journal book (“Retrace Robert Langdon’s footsteps”), issued in the US in March. I haven’t seen it yet, but the Random House blurb says it uses descriptive text from the novel, plus “plenty of lined pages for jotting down observations as you experience these phenomena firsthand.” (Although somehow I don’t think Robert Langdon ever actually needed lined paper to write on.)