a movie is hyped as much as The Da Vinci Code, rarely
does that movie live up to it all. When the book that the movie
is based on is one
of the most controversial books of all-time, there's increased
pressure to appease those that have read the book. In the case of The
Da Vinci Code, additional factions of people will expect the film
to either soften the book's storyline or remain faithful to the original's
shocking revelations about the Christian religion. What that really means
is that a lot of people are going to see this film and be disappointed.
Disappointed not about what the film is but in what it isn't.
Da Vinci Code (2006)
Starring: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, and
those that have managed to avoid the plotline, a curator at the Louvre
is shot but, before he dies, he manages to leave a string of crude symbolic
clues in the museum that will reveal his killer. Robert Langdon (Tom
American expert on religious symbols, is called in by the police to help
with the investigation. A young police detective, Sophie Neveu (Audrey
Tautou), warns Langdon that he's being framed for the murder and helps
clues to find the real killer. Along the way, they stumble upon the trail
of the Holy Grail. Now,
this is not the Holy Grail of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
This Holy Grail is linked to a secret that could bring down Christianity.
Langdon and Sophie are searching, at least initially, for the killer,
there's no urgency to do so for the viewer. His identity is revealed
in the first scene. There's no impending doom facing anyone if the quest
isn't completed. Proving
as his alibi
is airtight. (He was standing in front of 1,000 people giving a lecture
when the murder occured, so that'd be no problem to prove.) So what's
propelling the story? Not much.
of the plot devices are clue-based, so their true
significance is lost to anyone other than religous
history buffs, puzzle nuts, or those that have read the book. It also
doesn't help that the clues are mentioned once and then solved, so
the audience doesn't even get a chance to ponder their potential meaning.
One clue leads to an explanation of the significance of the clue, which
leads to the next clue, which leads to another explanation. And so on.
It's great for a page-turning book but it makes for a lousy movie. Even
actual on-screen action, it's in no way gripping or satisfying.
of anything attention-grabbing that it almost seems intentional. The
religious ramifications of the book are also watered-down.
They still carry some weight and remain thought-provoking, but the movie
doesn't compel you to care one way or the other. When the movie comes
to its conclusion, it doesn't even make a stand about what it's trying
to say. It straddles the fence in a way the book didn't. So the end result
is disappointment. If I hadn't read the book, I'd wonder what all the
fuss is about.
Hanks, who usually brings an affable presence to any role he plays --
even when it's in a crappy movie -- comes off as only slightly more
lifelike than the digital version of himself that appeared in The
Polar Express. Ian
McKellen, as Sir Leigh Teabing, is the movie's sole bright spot. His
humorous turn as the eccentric expert
a much needed breath of fresh air to the movie's stale proceedings.
home and read the book again.
protect both the fabric of the building and the works of art it contains,
the production's use of the Louvre Museum in Paris was carefully controlled.
For instance, no equipment was allowed inside the Louvre during the opening
hours, so filming took place at night. Since the crew were not permitted
to shine light on the Mona Lisa, a replica was used to film instead.
No blood or mysterious writings were permitted on the wooden floor of
the museum so these scenes were shot at Pinewood Studios outside London.
Internet Movie Database)