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The Da Vinci Code (2006)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment Reissue)
Genres:
Crime Thriller, Mystery, Religious Drama, Thriller
Director:
Ron Howard Ron Howard
Starring:
Tom Hanks Tom Hanks
Audrey Tautou Audrey Tautou
Ian McKellen Ian McKellen
Jean Reno Jean Reno
Paul Bettany Paul Bettany

5.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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When the curator of the Louvre is found murdered in the famed museum's hallowed halls, Harvard professor, Robert Langdon and cryptographer, Sophie Neve must untangle a deadly web of deceit involving the works of Leonardo da Vinci. --TMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 22, 2006
There are a lot of critics out there having a pretty amusing time with "The Da Vinci Code", based on, quite possibly, the best-selling novel of all-time, only bested by The Holy Bible. Critics are absolutely loathing the film, though their negative reviews did not decrease the incredible box office results of its opening weekend. I never read the book. I never wanted to read it. Dan Brown is not a very good writer - sorry, I don't want to ruffle any feathers, but it's true. He writes poorly and he just happened to construct an interesting enough idea that it made readers look past his inability to properly formulate a story, especially one that would translate to screen. So, that is why I never read the book, and never will. Therefore, I watched "The Da Vinci Code" not knowing what was going to happen, who was plotting what, or how it was all going to end. It was nice to be able to do that while 80% of the other audience members had already been spoiled to the happenings on screen. I pitied them. I felt sorry for their not being able to enjoy the film quite like myself. That said, all of the uptight critics out there who have been bashing this film for being boring and self-indulgent and dull - those are the same critics who gave marginally positive reviews to "Poseidon", and the same critics who are just looking for a chance to belittle both Ron Howard and Tom Hanks. I enjoyed the hell out of "The Da Vinci Code". It was not amazing, but it sure was entertaining.

This is the general plot outline, as I could gather. Tom Hanks stars as Robert Langdon, an expert in symbols, who is summoned to The Louvre to help investigators with the murder of the curator. Jean Reno stars as Captain Fache, who suspects Langdon of the murder, and Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu, who helps Langdon escape capture. Neveu and Langdon embark on a journey into the heart of the Catholic faith, which leads them all over Europe in an attempt to find out the secret that the Church has been hiding for centuries. Sir Ian McKelln stars as Sir Leigh Teabing, an eccentric historical zealot who is obsessed with Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" for some very interesting reasons. Paul Bettany co-stars as Silas, an albino killer who does everything in the name of God, including lashing himself and inflicting all sorts of pain to his thighs. The film follows the mystery that the curator sets up in the museum, and it is quite ingenious how Brown set all of these events up in the novel, which translated to the screen. Brown might not be a good writer, but he certainly does have some clever and exciting ideas, and I thought they translated to screen quite well, especially with Ron Howard at the helm. "The Da Vinci Code" was not difficult for me to follow at all, and I found that I was glued to the screen pretty much the entire time.

All of that said, this was far from a perfect film - far, far from it. There were a lot of flashbacks in the picture that I assume were also present in the book. These seems sorely misplaced and really didn't add anything to the overall progression of the storyline. They even go so far as to flashback to five minutes prior in one scene just to show us how Hanks and Tautou escaped from a plane and into a car. Well - surprise - but most of the audience kind of figured that one out without the video tutorial. Those kinds of scenes lead me to believe that the director must have a low opinion of the audience's ability to perceive and deduce. I also disliked a lot of the dialogue in the film. Hanks narrates a majority of the film, and it sounds like something off the History Channel or like something you would expect to find pre-recorded at the Smithsonian. Written by Akiva Goldsman, it more resembled "I, Robot" than "A Beautiful Mind" or "Cinderella Man". It also seemed to me that Tom Hanks was wasted. He really does have the weakest role in the film, only because it was written so poorly. This guy has won two Oscars and can carry any film on his back, and he is subjected to horrible exposition and some of the most inane narration I have ever heard.

The standout performance in the film came from Sir Ian McKellen as Sir Leigh Teabing, though he played the same character that he always plays - the wealthy, eccentric Brit with a villainous side and a softer side, at times. It was Magneto. It was Frank Whale. It was every single character he has ever played before. But, it was fun. You could tell that he had fun with the part, and that Goldsman had the most fun writing his part. Paul Bettany was also incredibly strong as Silas, probably the most known character from the book. His accent was flawless, his intensity was accurate throughout, and I really got the feeling that he did his homework. The third member of this Trifecta of Fun is Jean Reno, the usually underrated actor who always gives 150% of himself to each and every performance. This was a perfect role for him, and even though he didn't receive nearly enough quality material, he made the most of what he was given. Audrey Tautou was slightly annoying, to me. Her accent grew a little trying towards the end of the film, and I thought she seemed too cutesy and too naive for the role. I would have been much more convinced of her character if it had been played by someone a little older and with a little more presence on screen.

As a whole, "The Da Vinci Code" entertained me and does not warrant the kinds of reviews it has been receiving. It is being torn down beyond recognition and only because it was so anticipated and so hyped. When something is that hyped, it is always going to seem disappointing by the time it finally rolls out into theatres. Imagine the pressure on Howard and Hanks and the rest of the cast and crew to film the greatest novel of all-time, next to The Holy Bible. That could cause an ulcer or two. I found the film to be entertaining, insightful, engrossing, and never boring. If you want to be bored for two hours, go check out "Poseidon" - still sinking at a box office near you. If you want to be bored for two hours, go check out "An American Haunting". This is the last film in release right now that I could consider to be boring and dull and self-indulgent. "The Da Vinci Code" might not be the event film that it was billed to be, but the box office will be the ultimate judge, and it can dip down more than 50% next weekend and still be considered a successful endeavor.

6.5/10.
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Alex P #1: Alex P - added 05/23/2006, 05:45 AM
the beef with the movie is that the book was supposed to be controversial because it questioned religion and when they announced the movie relgion around the world cried up a storm and ron howard gave in and removed a good chunk of the content that made the book interesting. i almost dont even want to see this just because of that.
BuryMeAlive #2: BuryMeAlive - added 06/13/2006, 06:37 AM
Over 2 hours of nothing, it's never thrilling, never surprising... The only good thing is Magneto, sorry I mean Ian McKellen, he was funny.
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