The existence and the identity of the Holy Grail is one of the most enduring mysteries of all time. Dan Brown's 'The Da Vinci Code' claims to be based on much research and fact, revealing the existence of a hitherto secret organisation supposedly set up to protect the Grail in the 11th century.
It identifies Leonardo Da Vinci as one of the few in history who are in on the secret - one that can only be revealed in code. Tony Robinson goes on his own personal Grail hunt in this entertaining but thoughtful inquiry. Travelling to the Middle East, France, Spain, Italy, America and Glastonbury, he gradually strips away the layers of myth to arrive at his own extraordinary conclusion.
Though I am an absolute fan of the book by Dan Brown I don't think I was taken in by the story as much as some. Despite Dan's claims that all of the rituals, secret groups, symbols and places in the book are real or historically factual, the way he has strung them together just didn't feel right. However, that didn't stop me from totally enjoying the read. It takes a good author indeed to take a pile of threads and weave them into a tapestry so engrossing.
When the DVD documentary Cracking the Da Vinci Code came out, I was unimpressed with the production quality, and the petty playground-politics of many of the interviewees... it just ruined an otherwise possibly-enjoyable different point of view. So I was a little hesitant to see what Tony Robinson had to say on the matter. After all, he became famous for being the underdog, rat-eating, gutter-dwelling 'Baldrick' from the highly successful Blackadder series starring Rowan Atkinson (aka rubber-faced Mr. Bean). I had a surprise coming to me...
Tony actually took a quite serious approach to the topic of "What is the reality behind the book". However, he didn't really stick to The Da Vinci Code as much as he should, considering the title. He spent a lot of time researching the premise behind another book, released prior to Dan's book, called "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" written by a trio of authors.
Despite the sometimes sharp detours Tony took on his quest, he did start out by defining his approach, and stuck to it overall. The disc is split into two episodes, the first of which quickly goes into the first 4 of Tony's 6 points of research, leaving the two major ones for episiode 2. It is important to keep this in mind, otherwise, like me, you'll get a shock at the abrupt ending to episode 1. Be patient, there's more coming after the closing credits.
Overall, I can't really comment too much, otherwise I will defeat the purpose of buying this disc. However, I can say that if you like historical mysteries, or have an interest in Christian history, or just enjoy a bit on brain-stimulation in your viewing choices, then you will find this a good 'snack' indeed. It has some interesting information, some on-the-spot interviews, and some good old-fashion evidence-debunking. All good stuff. A worthy purchase, at a great price too. You'll find it at any good bookstores and DVD sales outlets.
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