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Beyond the Da Vinci Code (History Channel)

3.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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(May 31, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Readers who devoured every page of Dan Brown's THE DA VINCI CODE may have pondered how much truth there was behind this work of fiction. The History Channel works along a similar line of thinking with this exploratory documentary on much of Brown's work, which opens up a fascinating discourse on a number of topics raised in THE DA VINCI CODE. A variety of experts in religion and art offer commentary on Brown's theories, particularly concerning the possibly misleading information the Church has provided to its followers. The work of Leonardo Da Vinci is also thoroughly dissected, with the program makers sticking closely to Brown's words in order to see whether any truth was contained within them. A great complementary piece to a massively popular book, BEYOND THE DA VINCI CODE should help satiate the voracious appetites of readers whose curious minds have been set wondering by Brown's book.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Stephen Wozniak, Claudia Coloma, Danny Burstein, Jean-Luc Chaumeil, Timothy Freke
  • Directors: Will Ehbrecht
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A&E Home Video / Sunset Home Visual Entertainment (SHE)
  • DVD Release Date: May 31, 2005
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007XG02W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,814 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Beyond the Da Vinci Code (History Channel)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Towards the end of this documentary the narrator states, "In the final analysis, Dan Brown's book seems to raise many questions, but tends to leave the answers up to the reader." That pretty much sums up this DVD as well. I bought this in a special offer pack with the movie and I am glad I did because, watching this documentary first, I became familiar with symbols, places, and ideas that I probably would not have been able to follow watching the movie having never read the novel. I did not come away from this documentary thinking the creators are on the side of the conspirators as some reviewers here think. It explains the side of the conspiracy but it also knocks down a lot of their evidence, i.e. that the SP on the window of the Rosslyn Chapel stands for Saint Peter, not the Priory of Scion, that the Rose line is not what conspiracy theorists claim it is, etc. Representatives from Opus Dei also defend their group in this DVD.

As with the film, there is no information on Sara (Mary Magdelene and Jesus's alleged daughter). Isn't she the one supposedly carrying the bloodline? Isn't she really more important than Mary Magdelene? Perhaps there is no information that exists on her but those on the side of the conspiracy seem to know she had children and thus continued the bloodline. How do they know this?

What I did not like about this DVD is how repetitive it is. The same footage and quotes over and over again. I got so sick of seeing the actor playing Jesus putting his hand on the actress portraying Mary Magdelene's pregnant belly I began just looking away every time it was shown. This documentary could have been just an hour long and been much more interesting and effective in explaining the sides of the Da Vinci Code controversy.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This movie was very helpful in finding the facts. yet, it also provided information about the fiction. Both sides were fairly represented while also letting the viewer know when real factual evidence was available and when it wasn't. Not all of my questions were answered, but that is just history for you....all the questions that could be answered were in this movie, and those left unanswered showed both sides to the story.....i would recommend this movie for those who are confused about the davinci code or who just want to learn a few things regarding the da vinci code.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Rewarding insight to the fact behind the fiction much better presentation than Da Vinci Code revealed this program allows the individual to form their own ideas and draw their own conclutions based on historical facts
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Format: DVD
Thought provoking. Focuses are upon these areas: Cathars and the knowledge they kept of Jesus' supposed genealogical tree, the Templars and the secrets they held, Jesus' marriage to Mary Magdalene (who carried his child) and so forth. MY GRADE: B to B plus
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I really appreciated the clear, unbiased manner in which the possibilities of the Davinci Code were examined. The separation of truth from fiction was most helpful and enlightening.
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Format: DVD
This video lays out the case against Dan Brown's revisionist history in The Da Vinci Code. It does so in an entertaining and compelling way. Some reviewers seem to think it defends Brown's alternative history, but it doesn't.

The video is nicely shot, clear in its message, and dramatic in its presentation. And it is entirely skeptical of the fanciful story Dan Brown spins. This show does what most cable documentaries do -- it poses controversial questions and strings us along with hints and clues and "what-ifs" until near the end. Then it blows down the whole house of cards. If someone only watched part of the show, it's understandable that they might think it endorsed the pseudo-history that underpins Dan Brown's story. But in the end, it dismisses it, including the notion that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had an intimate relationship or a daughter. It merely allows Brown's flight of fancy to flutter around for awhile before it clips its wings. I agree that the show's producers didn't shoot down the myths hard enough, or with enough specificity. But they certainly didn't claim that Brown's fictional history of Jesus and Mary Magdalene is true.

The DVD says that Dan Brown's "take" on Jesus and Mary Magdalene is unsupported by both the Gospels and the Gnostic texts. Yes, it leaves room for speculation, and gives air time to Margaret Starbird and others in the Dan Brown camp. Naturally the producers juiced up the possibility of the alternative history being true - they want to keep us engaged; after all, it's a TV show. But the program repeatedly points out that that this stuff is speculation, and it ultimately rejects the conspiracy theory upon which Dan Brown's novel is supposedly based.
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This DVD presents the appearance of being unbiased because it presents counterevidence to the Da Vinci Code from the Medieval and post-Medieval eras. However, readers of the Da Vinci Code and viewers of this DVD are most interested in PRE-MEDIEVAL history, most especially the life of Jesus and the first centuries after his death. Unfortunately, the pre-Medieval facts and historical theories considered in this DVD are those which are most congenial to the revisionist historical accounts of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, and The Da Vinci Code. The pre-Medieval historical facts most condemning of the revisionist position are not mentioned.

Thus, so far as pre-Medieval history goes, this DVD misses major facts and strongly supportable theories, as if Gandhi's name were left out of India's independence, or Hitler's name out of the causes of WWII. The following four points [1]-[4] regarding pre-Medieval history should suffice to encourage viewers to do more homework in order to supplement the woefully weak and one-sided pre-Medieval "evidence" presented in this DVD, which pretends to support both revisionist and non-revisionist explanations equally.

[1] The Council of Nicea:
Timothy Freke states in the DVD interview that not agreeing with the conclusion of the Council of Nicea (325CE) probably meant death, but Constantine's 313CE Edict of Milan guaranteeing freedom of religion to all faiths was still in effect. Christianity did not become a state religion until Theodosius in 392, and even then pagans and heretics practiced their faiths with a relative impunity. (Certainly, persecutions against non-Christians did pick up speed from the 400s.
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