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  • I've read the book, and the movie's not so bad. Obviously there are many things I'd do different, but in the end it's 2,5 hours of good entertainment, and isn't that what the ratings are all about? Personally I think Tom Hanks wasn't passionate enough for Robert Langdon. That's why it's not a 9 for me.

    A lot of people are too harsh on this one. Mostly because they know the book and have very high expectations. I have to see my first book-to-film where the film is better.

    Also, you're not going to hell for watching this movie or reading the book. It's based on a novel, which is based on a few loose theories, but in the end all it wants to do is to entertain. And that is exactly what both the book and the movie did for me.
  • I can't say I was blown away by The Da Vinci Code - as is often the case, the book was far superior. I generally like Tom Hanks in almost all his roles, however I found that I had such a pre-conception of what Robert Langdon should be, that it took me about half an hour to get used to Hanks occupying this character. Once I settled into it though - it was a thoroughly enjoyable, occasionally slow moving thriller. Having read the book, I did have a knowledge of the various groups and factions involved - I'm not sure how someone who hasn't read the book will fair though. The casting of the movie is surely one of it's stronger points - Paul Bettany is almost unrecognisable and plays the menacing single minded Silas to utter perfection. Sir Ian McKellan too, it totally fantastic, and really steals most scene's he appears in. He delivers some great one liners too - a real character actor playing a real character. Audrey Tautou is as we have come to expect, just lovely, and who else could have played Bezu Fache - Jean Reno was made for the role. As you'd expect from a Ron Howard Production, there is a good amount of cheese, especially towards the end. Langdon's "Godspeed" caused me to awake in the night sweating! I am a fairly harsh marker on the IMDb, so don't be put off by a 6 out of 10 - I did enjoy the movie, but my anticipation was so great with this film, that it could never live up to my expectation.
  • From the way the critics have gone after "The Da Vinci Code," you'd think that Ron Howard himself had been jealously guarding the location of the Holy Grail all these years and was just now revealing it to all the world for his own nefarious (i.e. commercial) purposes. Actually, despite all the critical hostility and rancor, this turns out to be a reasonably entertaining adaptation of a reasonably entertaining novel, far from a classic or a work of art, but hardly the pile of cinematic refuse so many of the reviewers have led us to believe it is.

    As a work of history, the novel is a passel of nonsense, and only those with a bent towards conspiracy theory overload would be foolish enough to believe a minute of it. But as a work of imaginative fiction, "The Da Vinci Code" certainly gives its audience the neck-twisting workout they've paid good money to receive.

    It would be pointless to reiterate the plot of a novel that has probably had the biggest readership of any literary work since "Gone With the Wind." Suffice it to say that a mysterious murder in the Louvre sends a Harvard symbologist and the dead man's granddaughter on a clue-driven search for the famed Holy Grail. Along the way, the two uncover a grand conspiracy on the part of a renegade Catholic order to protect a secret that, if it were revealed, could shake the whole of Western civilization down to its very foundations.

    Despite the phenomenal - one is tempted to say "unprecedented" - commercial success of his work, Dan Brown is no great shakes as a writer; his characters are, almost without exception, drab and two-dimensional, and his dialogue, when it isn't being overly explicit in pouring out explanations, sounds like it was written by a first-year student in a Writer's 101 workshop. But the one undeniable talent Brown does have is his ability to knit together a preposterously complex web of codes and clues into an airtight tapestry, and to make it all convincing.

    The movie is very faithful to the novel in this respect. It moves quickly from location to location, never giving us too much time to question the logic (or illogic) of the narrative or to examine the many gaping plot holes in any great detail. Writer Akiva Goldsman has encountered his greatest trouble in the scenes in which the action stops dead in its tracks so that the characters can lay out in laborious detail the elaborate story behind the clues. Yet, this is as much the fault of the nature and design of the novel as it is of the man given the unenviable task of bringing it to the screen. Moreover, perhaps in the interest of time and keeping the action flowing, Robert and Sophie come up with solutions to the myriad riddles much too quickly and accurately, with a "Golly, gee, could it mean_______?" attitude that borders on the ludicrous. But, somehow, Howard makes most of it work. Perhaps, it's the clunky literal-minded earnestness with which he approaches the subject that ultimately allows us to buy into it against our better judgment.

    Tom Hanks is stolid and passive as Dr. Robert Langdon, the college professor involuntarily driven into all this cloak-and-dagger intrigue, but Audrey Tautou has a certain subtle charm as Sophie, the woman who may play more of a part in the unraveling of the mystery than even she herself can imagine. Jean Reno and Paul Bettany have their moments as two of the less savory players in the story, but it is Ian McKellen as Sir Leigh Teabing, an expert on all things related to the Holy Grail, who walks off with the film. His scenery-chewing shtick pumps some much needed life into a tale essentially populated by underdeveloped stick figures.

    The religious controversy surrounding both the novel and the film is as ludicrous as it is unjustified. Anyone whose belief system could be seriously shaken by this absurd mixture of unsubstantiated myth-making and plain old-fashioned wild speculation couldn't have had a very solid foundation of faith to begin with.

    The rest of us can appreciate "The Da Vinci Code" for what it is, an overblown but epic exercise in code-busting and clue-decoding - in short, the "Gone With the Wind" of whodunits.
  • scobb18 May 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    While he may not be the world's greatest writer, Dan Brown is an excellent storyteller, as judged by the millions of people who have read and enjoyed "The Da Vinci Code" - me included. So I was keenly anticipating the release of this movie, partly because I enjoyed the book and also because a number of scenes were shot in Lincoln Cathedral, which is my birthplace.

    First the good points. Ron Howard has chosen some great locations, and produced a sumptuously photographed film, with a thought-provoking, well-paced storyline which sticks pretty faithfully to the book. For me, Silas (Paul Bettany) is the strongest character in the film, graphically portrayed as a faithful servant of Opus Dei. His role is certainly one heck of a contrast with his recent leading role in Wimbledon!

    Unfortunately, for me those good points are outweighed by a wooden dialogue which poor old Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou have virtually no hope of making anything meaningful from. There is simply no chemistry between the 2 leading characters and some of their lines made me cringe because they were so embarrassingly weak. At no point did I feel involved in what should be a powerful and emotional story; it simply failed to engross me in any way. Bored is a strong word, but I was verging on it by the end.

    In summary, disappointing.
  • This movie is becoming as controversial as the book. Since the day it was announced that it's gonna be made, there were protests against it being done, and it has escalated to calls for boycotting, or banning the movie altogether. I'll not waste time and go into its controversies, nor discuss what's real and what's not. Neither will I explain in detail the plot, as I believe most of you readers would already have some vague idea of what it's about, or have read the book, since it's on the bestsellers list for months.

    Rather, I'll evaluate the movie as it is, on how well it entertains. Those who wish to preach in my comment box, prepare to have those comments deleted, at my discretion. This is the stand I shall take, that this movie is entirely fictional, based on events which are used loosely, for the sole purpose of weaving a storyline that tries to be believable. I think some have already mentioned it's too successful in doing that, and may mislead people into thinking its theories presented, are real. However, don't take it too seriously, and if you wish to, use another proper platform to debunk the myths, not my movie review blog.

    The structure of the movie, is exactly the same as the book. There is no change to the ending, despite some rumours that it will be different. Naturally, some of the detailed explanation that's given in the book, especially many three-way dialogue between Sophie- Robert-Leigh, have to be summarized in order to pace this movie into 2 1/2 hours. Herein lies the challenges. For those who've read the book, the movie offers nothing new, other than the gratification of watching events and characters play out on the big screen. For those who haven't read the book, the movie version should be decent enough to make you want to pick up the novel and read more into the controversial theories explained.

    However, having being familiar with the plot and how the story unfolds, red herrings, character motivations, twists and all, it may leave those who've read the novel, a page-turner in every sense of the word, a bit wanting, that the pace could've been improved. Undoubtedly the pacing sags when it's time for some dialogue heavy moments, but I suppose that is unavoidable when you're revisiting material.

    However, its presentation of these controversial dialogue moments coupled with special effects, that will make you go wow. Truly, the technique is nothing original, and some of the visuals used looked like Return of the King and Kingdom of Heaven rejects, but as a whole, combined with the narrative, it helps to present the controversies in a more palatable manner.

    Casting, I felt, was spot on. Tom Hanks makes Robert Langdon pretty accessible, given Hanks' everyman demeanor, and Audrey Tautou makes a believable Sophie Neveu. Ian McKellen, probably THE actor with 2 summer blockbusters back to back (the other being X- Men 3), is convincing as the rich grail hunter Sir Leigh Teabing. Paul Bettany is chilling as the albino killer Silas, and Jean Reno and Alfred Molina round up the star studded cast as the detective Captain Fache and Bishop Aringarosa.

    Much is said about the haunting soundtrack, but as far as I'm aware, there's nothing scary about it. Silas, in his scene of self-cleansing, is horrid enough though, as are some scenes of unexpected on screen violence that hit like a sack of potatoes falling from the sky.

    In the end, in spite of all the controversies, perhaps Robert Langdon's line is poignant - if given a chance, would you rather destroy faith, or renew it? The book and the movie have provided an opportunity for the faith to renew itself, to debunk the myths and theories (which were developed loosely to make the story flow of course), and to generally point the curious to the direction and light the faith wants to show.

    Otherwise, this Ron Howard movie makes a good summer popcorn flick, with the usual thrills and spills you'd come to expect with its superb production values.
  • First off, I'd just like to say that this movie is based on a fictional story. FICTION. Why people need to express hatred over this because of their religious beliefs is so mind-boggling. No one is saying that Christianity is wrong, and that this story is right. The book is classified as FICTION, not THEOLOGY! I should also note that my extremely religious Christian friends don't find this movie at all "disturbing" or "wrong". The fact is that if you believe in something, nothing -- including a movie, or story -- should be able to deter you from that belief. If you feel threatened by this movie or any other story like this, you have serious problems regarding the foundations in which you believe.

    Now, to the review... I'm not here to give you any spoilers or story info, since that's all been done in the other reviews.

    I have never read the book. I went to see the movie with my boyfriend, who read the book recently, and some friends (one of whom has read the book at least twice, and is so into the story that he has researched the symbols and meanings thoroughly and participates in Da Vinci Code games, forums, etc). So we actually had at least 3 differing perspectives here.

    I really loved the film. Having no story to compare it to, I didn't feel like I had to have read the book to understand the story. Nothing felt missing or incomplete. I came out of the theater ready to add this list to my favorites, and wanting to read the book to compare it to the movie.

    My boyfriend also thought the film was great. He said they did a great job adapting the book to film, and although not everything was there, they did the best that they could with the time they had, and he was impressed.

    My friend was so excited throughout the movie, he kept wanting to talk to us about it. He pointed out some things from the book that weren't there as well, but he understood it couldn't all be there. He also said that watching the film put a new perspective for him on the movie, since he imagined things looking and feeling different in his head. Seeing the movie allowed him to look at it differently, which made it exciting all over again.

    So, in summary, this seems to be a great movie no matter how deep you are into the Da Vinci Code. I normally wait for movies to go on DVD to rent, but this is one that I'd recommend you see in the theater... the atmosphere makes it more fun and also you can talk about this with others after seeing it, instead of catching up to everyone later and possibly getting spoilers before you watch. Again, I highly recommend this movie! A+
  • Last Tuesday, when The Da Vinci Code premiered at the Cannes Film festival, it was met with a chilly reception from the reviewing elite. It has been called "plodding," "stale," and "uninspired," thus, dashing the hopes of many movie goers who were hoping to see one of their favorite novels brought to life by one of their favorite directors, and starring one of their favorite actors. Since I'm not a slave to snobby film reviewers, I went to go see it for myself despite the negative hype. And as the credits rolled at the end of the movie, I felt increasingly unsettled; not because of the quality of the movie, but because one question lingered in my head: What's not to like? Am I crazy for actually being entertained by what I just saw? How could the critics pan what I, and those around me, seemed to enjoy? Okay, so that's more than one question....

    First, I have to qualify myself. I read the book and I LOVED it; couldn't put it down. I loved the history, the speculation, the riddles and puzzles, and the masterful blend of fact and fiction. Additionally, I'm not religious, although I was definitely familiar with Christian historical icons such as Jesus, John the Baptist, and Mary Magdelene before I read the book. I also happen to be a big fan of Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, and Ian McKellan.

    Having said that, I went in prepared to like this movie, even though I had somewhat lowered my expectations based on the barrage of bad reviews. All of this proved to be a winning formula for me, apparently.

    If you're like me and you loved the book and you like the artistic team that pursued making it into a movie, then you'll most likely come out satisfied. You won't mind what many critics have called "overly-long exposition" and historical flashbacks, because that's pretty much what the book consisted of. And in the book, it was absolutely engrossing! So, I personally didn't mind all of the explanation of history, symbols, etc.

    Critics have also found fault with Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou's portrayals of Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu (respectively), saying that they delivered flat performances. But once again, whoever read the book will remember that both of these characters weren't that dynamic on the written page, either. Of course, Sir Ian McKellan, with the juiciest role of Holy Grail scholar Sir Leigh Teabing, chews up the scenery every time he's shown on screen. Sir Leigh Teabing was also one of the richest characters in the book.

    I think that the people who won't like this movie are people who didn't read the book, and are going into the theater expecting a regular movie, which it's not. It's an adaptation of a very wordy, detailed, twisting, speculative novel that blends fact and fiction in a devastatingly effective way, and it's easy to get lost while watching the movie if you don't already know where the story is going. Sure, Ron Howard uses digitized, grainy flashbacks of ancient pagan rituals and societies to move the narrative along and to keep the audience on point, but I can see how it could be overwhelming to those who only know the bare bones of the plot. However, those who found it fascinating in the book will find pleasure in seeing the visual accompaniment to what they've already read.

    In short, you go see this movie (or read the book) for how it challenges popularly-held beliefs; not for its rich, engaging character development. It's a quest for the "truth", and in terms of the IDEAS expressed, they did a dag-blasted good job of translating those ideas onto the screen. Those who often complain that movies don't stay true to the books that they're based on will find comfort in the fact that Akiva Goldsman and Ron Howard have stayed incredibly close to the original text when translating it onto the screen. However, this will be to the dismay of those movie-goers who haven't read the book, and are therefore expecting a traditional action thriller with traditional action thriller dialogue.

    If you go to, you'll see the huge disparity between what the critics have said, and what the users have said regarding this film. While the cumulative critics rating is a dismal 22%, the combined user rating is a 74%, which is way above average for the site. That should speak volumes to whoever is skeptical about seeing the movie because of the bad reviews.

    The bottom line is that it's definitely a movie worth watching if only to see how the creative team behind it went about turning the best-selling novel into celluloid. It's also a treat to see something in popular culture challenge popular religious ideals so skillfully, even if only in the form of fiction.

    My advice: go see for yourself.
  • Okay, let me start off by saying that I absolutely loved the book - it had me hooked more than Harry Potter - and that's saying something (and no I'm not a 10 year old child)! After hearing about the critics' mainly negative views of the film, I approached it without high expectations, and for that, I was rewarded. What I got was an action-packed film that didn't let up until the dying minutes. This film is incredibly faithful to the book (I'm looking at you, Girl With a Pearl Earring!!) to the point where hardly anything is left out, and only minor things have been changed. The visuals are stunning, the acting of Hanks and Tautou is great - and contrary to certain critics opinions - I felt the emotional connection between them. As always, McKlellan is fun to watch, effortlessly bringing Teabing to life, and Reno suffices as Fache. Bettany is fantastic as Silas. The musical score was as good as the visual look of the film - it paired perfectly with the storytelling. Overall, I left the cinema feeling satisfied, because a great book had been turned into a really good film. Approach this film with little expectation, and you will enjoy the ride. Bravo Ron Howard, for doing such a good job.
  • So I suggest not writing this off as a Hollywood hack film, simply because it's the bandwagon thing to do. Before you go and see The Da Vinci Code, let all the negative and positive hype surrounding this production cancel each other out, clear your mind, and judge this film fairly. Do NOT judge it on its usually weak director, do NOT judge it entirely on the source material and do NOT judge it on your religious beliefs. All this will be rewarding.

    I have not read the book so I will not attempt any kind of comparison.

    Plot essentially goes like this: In the middle of the night, Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is summoned as an expert to a crime scene in Le Louvre where a terrible murder has been committed. The victim's body is self-placed in such a bizarre, symbolic way next to one of the world's most famous paintings that the investigation gradually unlocks age-old mysteries that many do not wish to be unlocked.

    The Da Vinci Code is a chilling, thrilling and well-sewn together mystery thriller that often keeps you on the edge of your seat. The cast do not disappoint either. Paul Bettany is genuinely creepy as Silas and thereby reinforces the stereotype that all albinos are evil. While Audrey Tatou is annoyingly frail as Sophie Neveu, she is captivating and lovely and is able to project both charisma and presence on screen in this film. However, Tom Hanks did not at all feel like the protagonist in the story and I am unaware whether that was intentional or not but I'm guessing no, in which case Hanks definitely fails in both attracting and keeping our interest.

    So the cast usually perform well (with the exception of Hanks) and the story is also facilitated by some very striking visuals. A big plus for this film which elevates it slightly above generic formula is its beautiful locations often seen through epic aerial shots. Good call, Howard! Another big plus is its distinctly Euro-centric feel in both style and substance. This surprised me since it is Tom Hanks and Ron Howard in the same film, but they do manage to keep the overblown Hollywood clichés to a minimum. This is even apparent in the score by Hans Zimmer; it is not overblown, but subtle and appropriate in the scenes to which it was scored. Similarly, Frenchmen do not speak English with a French accent when they were alone together, but speak in French. That said, the plot does unfold in a somewhat Hollywood fashion -- and the plot happens to be thinner than an Olsen twin.

    To counter the good parts, two big minuses in The Da Vinci Code are its wooden and sometimes even placeholder dialogue and its distinct lack of humor. I felt the actors were much too serious for this kind of film, which is first and foremost an adventure story, fast-paced and constantly unlocking new mysteries. The issues in the film were serious enough and needed more comedy to balance them.

    As I write this review, more and more bad points about it spring to mind. This is strange, since I remember sitting in the cinema with my friends just a few hours ago and being thoroughly entertained and captivated by the whole thing. So, never mind the occasionally insultingly far-fetched plot and plot-twists by Dan Brown; The Da Vinci Code is a nicely done and very entertaining film in which nothing feels missing or incomplete.

  • I just watched the film, and even though I liked it, I must confess, I too expected more. I can't precisely point out what was missing and what I was expecting, but some it has some details that weren't there, some small imprecisions, some little things could have been better.

    Nevertheless, a pleasant movie to watch. I confess I need to see it again, since I saw it from 3 to 6 am, with very few hours of sleep on the night before. I suggest the ones who read the book to re-read it before they go see it - to add a little bit more perspective. To those who haven't, I wish you a lovely time at the movies - it really is pleasant to see.

    Praise to Audrey Tautou, a beautiful splendid actress, and all the other actors that don't need any more praise, like Ian McKellen, Jean Reno and Tom Hanks, who I didn't see fit the part at first, but who grew on me half-way through the movie, if not sooner. A huge praise to Paul Bettany too, for his astonishing and disturbing performance as Silas.

    I give it an 8, because it's one of the first movies made from books that did not make me go 'Oh, this was not like this in the book' every five seconds. I never saw Ron Howard as the ideal director for this movie - but he pulled it off decently, though a bolder choice would have been in order.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Playing Sir Leigh Teabing, the great British actor, Sir Ian McKellen, does not disappoint as he delivers the legend of "The Da Vinci Code." The theory that is known as 'the Da Vinci code' is what Sir Leigh Teabing teaches to the would-be living descendant of Jesus of Nazareth.

    Howard's direction is a marvel. Hanks, whose films I usually don't like in the least, plays the only character he's taken that I became enthralled by, Dr. Robert Langdon, and Audrey Tautou as French Agent Sophie Neveu is certainly a gorgeous, fresh face in a major US film who aptly held a captivating leading role.

    Though I can certainly understand why "The Da Vinci Code," is so controversial in US society, because the theory of there being a child conceived by Jesus and Mary Magdelene is not what the Roman Catholic Church wants to believe or witness even being publicly proposed. The very idea of the God-man being so human as to be married somehow threatens "the Church," and its dogma. Strange how it fortifies and invigorates my own (Christian) spirituality! Regardless, this movie is one of my favorites! My rationale for finding favor in it has nothing to do with religion. I have found it fascinating and riveting because it is one heck of an intriguing story that was expertly directed, acted, and filmed. The excitement was ever so understandable within the film itself. The characters of the Opus Dei group made the motion picture's tension build like a very well written suspense as they scrambled for what Teabing wound up with.

    Though I am reticent to admit it, Hanks and Tautou made for quite a good screen match. Though their performances are excellent, they can't touch their elder British screen pro, Sir Ian McKellen's. I'm now convinced more than ever that McKellen has been the most versatile actor of our time: From the most watched children's series "X-Men" as comic book/sci-fi's evil "Magneto;" to numerous Shakespearean characters, such as King "Richard III," "Iago," & "Edward II;" to one of the best Hitlers ever in "Countdown to War;" to a Nazi war criminal cornered by a high school kid in, "Apt Pupil;" to the good wizard "Gandalf," in the highly acclaimed, "Lord of the Rings," trilogy; to the gay film director of "Frankenstein," James Whale, in the biopic that was utterly overlooked at the Oscars, "Gods and Monsters;" I know whenever I spend my time with a motion picture that McKellen plays in, I'm in for the best script & performance that an actor of his acumen and towering stature would pick.

    So it is no surprise to me that the character of Sir Leigh Teabing is the one who recants the story of the 'Da Vinci code' and does so as a historian who is an expert in the study of it.

    I also liked the fact that this movie does come to a convincing end. Not one that convinces me of the Da Vinci code theory, necessarily, but an ending that leaves the characters themselves with open questions. There's no room for a sequel. Yet, the movie is so well done it leaves me wanting more.

    It's not that this motion picture is a classic, by any means. But rather, that it is a terrific story, with a great deal of suspense, action, intrigue, and at times more than a little horrific and scary.

    Most of all, "The Da Vinci Code" is now and will continue to be legendary.
  • If you take the most popular book in recent years, you should have the most popular movie since The Lord of the Rings, right? Wrong. Though the film was hotly debated, its cinematic quality and popularity aren't nearly as high as one would expect. Amid protests, pending lawsuits, and outright denouncements by Catholic officials, Ron Howard released his adaptation of Dan Brown's novel, The Da Vinci Code.

    American symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) and French cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) are on a trans-European quest to solve riddles left by Louvre curator, Langdon's hero and Neveu's grandfather, Jacques Saunier, as he lay dying. The riddles and subsequent quest allegedly lead to the true identity and whereabouts of the famed Holy Grail. Hot in pursuit of the thinking man's Bonnie and Clyde is Javert-ian French police captain Bezu Feche (Jean Reno), intent on pinning the murder of Suanier on Langdon and Neveu, and albino monk, Silas (Paul Bettany) under the command of a mysterious telephone voice known only as The Teacher.

    With a pedigree such as the most popular book in the world, two Academy Award winners (Hanks, Howard and writer Akiva Goldsman), French film superstars (Tautou and Reno) and Gandalf (Ian McKellen), you'd wonder how such a film could fail.

    Well, how about the miscast of Howard as director. Howard lacks the vision to properly adapt the novel and bring it to life. Some of the blame does go to his Cinderella Man scribe Akiva Goldsman for not writing a fitting script. But Howard's awkwardness is more prominent. If we were going to pick name directors for this film, Steven Spielberg would have been better choice, but I think David Fincher (Se7en and Fight Club) would have been perfect.

    The whole production felt rushed. Having just read the book, a lot of plot points were fresh in my mind, and that may have clouded the comprehension of certain things, which I think Howard and Goldsman were counting on. Looking back on it, the first 30-45 minutes were very rushed, and I don't think things were adequately explained. They were still referenced and used in the movie, but not explained well. It suffered from the, what I call, Godfather syndrome: referencing things from the book at the wrong time. They could have taken their time with the film, and it would have told the same story, and been a lot better.

    Hanks was out of place as Landon, our hero. He doesn't have or project the same presence about him that Langdon should have. Might I suggest seasoned conspiracy theory veteran David Duchovny? As with Mission:Impossible:III, the supporting cast was impeccably put together, and the one true weakness of the cast is unfortunately the keystone (maybe it's just a bad year for actors named Tom).

    Slightly better than your average summer fair, but still doesn't hold up when put against the equally action oriented yet wholly more insightful X-Men franchise.
  • Screened overnight for Australian media.

    Four words - wrong star, wrong director.

    Hanks and Howards best work, both together or separately, have been when they embrace intrinsically American values in their films. All their most memorable movies have involved individuals overcoming hardship through an unshakable belief in love and courage, usually set against an outwardly US-centric interpretation of events. Think Apollo 13, Forrest Gump, Cinderella Man, Saving Private Ryan - all fine films, all centred on an American hero rising above their circumstance.

    What is conspicuously absent from either man's resume is a European-set, religious-themed mystery thriller. Having sat through their arduous, laborious adaptation of Dan Brown's novel, I can now see why.

    The plot is total bunkum - a hodgepodge of "what ifs" and "oh my god" moments spun on the ludicrous premise that Leonardo Da Vinci had some sort of insight into the life of Christ - but loopy story lines have not stopped many films from being enjoyable.

    What makes The Da Vinci Code so deathly dull is the heavy-handed, oh-so-serious approach Howard applies to the material. Combining with his cinematographer to give the film a sleepy nocturnal feel (not so clever given the 150min running time), Howard's film is just a constant flow of expository clues that fail to create any tension or engender his leads with any human qualities. Even for those that haven't read the book, a couple of obligatory 'big twists' in the story are very obvious from early-on.

    Hanks (looking more like Jim Belushi than ever) and McKellen blather on and on and on about knights and saints and symbols and God as if they were giving a lecture at some Ivy-league school for the supernatural; Audrey Tautou is lovely but has little to do in a role that is plot- not character-driven. Jean Reno ambles thru another of his token French cop parts (he was better in the Pink Panther); Paul Bettany's evil albino Silas at least got some audience reaction, though giggles and guffaws were probably not what he was hoping for.

    Whatever sense of fun and excitement the book provided is fully-drained from this adaptation. Come credit time, I had the realisation that all this hokey, airport-novel religious hooey and B-movie plotting would've made for a great X-files episode in that series heyday. As the end-product of a publishing phenomenon and carrying the tag "Years Most-Anticipated", its a boring dud.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    So much for the "sacred feminine"!

    This movie bore more resemblance to Paris Hilton than Paris, France. It was good looking, but extremely shallow.

    Ron Howard did a fine job of directing, but Tom Hanks was completely unconvincing. Visuals were excellent, but the music was overbearing. Ian McKellan was fabulous. The actors who played Fache and the bishop were also excellent, but did not have enough camera time. Too bad.

    Most of my criticisms are probably aimed at the material Howard had to work with, meaning the book, "The DaVinci Code", which contained multiple gross art history errors. As a veteran Art Teacher with a Master's degree in Art Education, these errors was extremely distracting to me in both reading the book and watching the movie.

    Some of these errors are as follows:

    The windows at the pyramid at the Louvre contain 673 panes of glass, not 666.

    Leonardo (Whose last name is NOT DaVinci..Da Vinci simply refers to the town he lived in) never referred to the "Mona Lisa" as the "Mona Lisa" in his life time. The moniker was given to the painting by the Art biographer Vasari in the 1800's; thus, Leonardo never could have come up with the outlandish anagrams.

    The painting "Madonna on the Rocks" is actually entitled "Virgin on the Rock"; again, this was done so that Brown can create a convenient anagram. In the Louvre, it is NOT located in the same room as the Mona Lisa.

    The Last Supper is NOT a fresco. It is a mural. If Mary Magdeline is to the left of Christ in the painting, then where was John? Why would Leonardo make him be missing? It was customary for painters from the Florentine school (where Leonardo hailed from), to make young men appear more feminine than older men, to infuse a bit of innocence in their appearance. Additionally, the Bible contains NO references to the "holy grail", or "chalice". Leonardo was simply making his painting more natural,in keeping with his naturalistic interpretations of his subjects.That's what Leonardo was famous for!! Leonardo, like most of us, simply believed that Jesus didn't have the, uh, " bling" to own a golden chalice!!

    There is a sketch by Leonardo of the "mystery hand" holding the knife in the Royal Windsor Art collection, and that hand definitely belongs to Peter. It is not a "disembodied hand wielding a dagger".

    If I hadn't read the book first, I would have been confused with the flash backs, which were very poorly rendered.

    The film was very "talky", which is bad enough, but the talk itself wasn't accurate. I'm surprised the main female character's (Sophie) head didn't explode with all the condescending lectures she was given.

    "Sacred feminine", indeed...I'm a woman, and "The Davinci Code" insulted my intelligence.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Firstly, this is only the second review I've ever posted on IMDb so am unsure as to what constitutes a spoiler to you guys so have checked the box just to cover myself. To be honest though, the whole film is a spoiler so just don't bother.

    I can't begin to write here how appalled I was that such a hyped and eagerly anticipated (not by me I must hasten to add) film could be so bad.

    I wasn't one of the 'trillions' that read Dan Brown's book, and I think the film makers just assumed that everyone in the audience had read the book, and more to the point, loved the book; "so hey, we don't have to worry too much, whatever we do we're gonna make shed loads, just get it done!". I deteste these films which come out of Hollywood, which seemingly are made purely for profit and let all the important attributes needed to make a true, decent film, fall to the way-side.

    It literally took about 15 minutes for me to decide that this film was a complete piece of crap. The dialogue used to move the plot along was ridiculous. In those first 15 minutes Tom Hanks (whom to my mind has only ever made a handful of decent movies at best) is giving a lecture to students. Then he gets taken aside to be told his friend was murdered, can he please come have a look. OK, strange but lets go with it. Then a french policeman tells him he must help immediately and it wouldn't be wise not to. Then a girl appears from nowhere and tells him he must come with her as the policeman is trying to kill him. Oh but wait, we can't go out the front door or anything, we have to go this way. Oh and by the way can you read codes by any chance? Oh you can? Wonderful! Then please de-code this before we go, it'll help greatly........

    And so the plot goes on and on and on like this, no explanation, no reasoning just blind commands that he follows again and again from anybody that cares to give him one. At no point in this opening 15 minutes does Tom Hanks question what people are telling him, he just believes them, does what he is told and moves onto the next stage. It was like watching a computer game, with the main character being told do this, do that, don't go here and quick come this way, by supporting characters just to progress onto the next level. It was mind-numbingly boring. Does no-one else agree even slightly with this?

    The strange thing is I briefly started to read the opening chapter or two of the book whilst I was away last month with my girlfriend, and my first impressions were that it read like a movie script so something doesn't quite add up........
  • Warning: Spoilers
    By the halfway point, I had this film in my liked column, but then it just went on and on and on, in fact, even though I have left the theater, I still think the film is running. This is a thriller with no thrills, an intellectual mystery with no mystery or intellect. It posits a mystery 2000 years old and feels like it was filmed in real time.

    Who is Robert Langdon, the hero played by Tom Hanks? I get no feeling for anything about the guy, his claustrophobia is presented as being important, but it is an uninteresting embellishment and is clearly not important to the story.

    The whole story for the film reduces to. . .well, I don't know what it reduces to? I seemed to just be watching pretentious people running around on fool's errands. This is not always a problem in a movie, no one can adequately explain The Big Sleep and I defy anyone to clearly tell me what happens in the recent Russian film Night Watch, but those films have a surfeit of characters that make the twists and turns interesting to follow. Not to mention a wonderful visual strategy that makes them breath. The Da Vinci Code is a suffocating film that does the impossible; it makes the Louvre look boring.

    I was puzzled by the casting. With all American Tom Hanks on board and the French Audrey Tautou, the German Jurgen Prochnow and the competent Brits: Alfred Molina, Paul Bettany, and Ian McKellen, we have a Chinese dinner approach to casting "one from column A and one from column B", but this cast doesn't gel.

    They each do their little bits, but the whole does not add up to more than the parts. There were too many little things that rankled me or anyone with half a brain. The Louvre is filmed so blandly, that it doesn't really matter that they really used the real place for a location. Also, the Louvre does not have steel gates that come down when a painting is removed from the wall. Also, Tautou introduces herself as a "French Police Cryptologist". French Police Cryptologist? The French have a national police? The Louvre wouldn't be in the Paris police jurisdiction? Does your city have a staff cryptologist on its police force? Too many ludicrous things happen that made me ask questions while it is happening, not after it's all done when you would get the Hitchcock "refrigerator moment". I can take religious hooey, but I can't take scientific hooey. Even the car chases are uninteresting, and badly filmed.

    One more thing, if I am ever shot and have to leave a clue to the identity of my killer, I will write that he was an albino monk in a cassock with a cell phone and an automatic. There can't be that many running around, even in Paris.
  • Dan Brown's international bestseller "The Da Vinci Code" has enjoyed phenomenal success because it taps into a wellspring of so many different and fascinating topics. The novel touches upon the early history of Christianity, the mysteries of the medieval Knights Templar society, numerology, and, above all, the archetype of the Grail Quest. The strength of Ron Howard's film lies in its integrity of striving to be faithful to Dan Brown's novel. The fidelity is apparent in each of the following areas:

    SCREENPLAY: Akiva Goldsman's script includes nearly all of the major scenes from the novel. To his credit, Goldsman provides dialogue on the Knights Templar, Mary Magdelene, Leonardo's "Last Supper" mural and other details from the novel.

    DIRECTION: Ron Howard's stylish approach to the film includes interesting camera angles, especially in the aerial shots of such great location sites as the Louvre in the Paris and the Rosslyn chapel in Scotland. It was clear that Howard wanted not merely an action picture, but a leisurely paced retelling of Dan Brown's story. There was also the thoughtful use of close-ups in the more intimate moments with a brilliant analytical scene dissecting the controversial "chalice" apparent in Leonardo's "Last Supper."

    CINEMATOGRAPHY: Overall, the film was appropriately dark and moody. The flashback sequences were shot in a grainy style that contrasted with the action-packed story of Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu. Salvatore Totino deserves the highest praise for his tasteful yet imaginative camera work.

    ACTING: Tom Hanks was not overly charismatic as Robert Langdon. But that is precisely the bookish Everyman who is the protagonist of Dan Brown's novel. As Sophie, Audrey Tatou was more dynamic than Robert, as appropriate to her character as well; there was a sparking and even radiant quality to this young performer. The supporting cast was solid with Jean Reno especially successful in developing multiple layers of characterization in the morally conflicted detective Bezu Fache. Perhaps most memorably, Ian McKellen delivers a star turn as the scholar Leigh Teabing.

    Over twenty years ago, Umberto Eco's novel "The Name of the Rose" was the equivalent in its time of Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code." The subsequent film version of Eco's story was a disappointment in its attempt to equal the success of the novel version of "The Name of the Rose." In the case of Ron Howard's film version of "The Da Vinci Code," however, not only does the film do justice to the novel, but in many respects it is better!
  • The first five minutes, when I'm supposed to believe that an old man, after being shot in the stomach, strips himself naked, draws a circle on the floor and a star on his chest in his own blood, writes a message in code (also in his own blood) that leads to a painting with another coded message that leads to another painting with yet another coded message, several of which are written in invisible ink (he just happened to have a bottle on him when he was shot?). Then he lays down in the circle and dies in the pose of the Vitruvian Man. I'm surprised he didn't also pause to make a sandwich and finish that novel he'd been working on.

    Monty Python could have done a better job with this movie.
  • When I heard that they were bringing out a movie of the best selling book I decided I would see the movie first as I always enjoy books more and didn't want to be disappointed. It's not easy for a film to grip an audience and I thought Ron Howard did an excellent job with his film. It's quite a long movie and every time I thought it was going to end something else happened.

    Ian McKellen was fabulous in this film and stole the majority of the scenes he was in delivering some excellent one-liners along the way. I loved his passion for England and was very pleased to see he hasn't lost his talent. Paul Bettany was also tremendous in this film and it made me see him in a different light. After Wimbledon I wasn't sure of his acting skills but The Da Vinci Code proved him worthy of many of the actors in Hollywood today.

    Tom Hanks is one of my all-time favourite actors but I have to say he just didn't seem comfortable in the role of Robert Langdon. He wasn't terrible but he just didn't come up to par with some of his previous roles which I felt was a shame. Audrey Tatou was very good in her role and I couldn't have imagined a better actress for the role.

    Overall I felt the film was great, even with Ron Howard's inevitable cheesy scene...'Godspeed' from Tom Hanks. After seeing the film I decided to read the book and I can see why some people prefer the book. However I think it is much harder for a film to grip then it is a book and so for that reason I gave The Da Vinci Code 9/10. I would say anyone should go and see it, just accept it as a film, not as an adaptation of a book.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a review from a person that has NOT read the book. The critics were never more polarized: some said it was the best film ever and some said it was a horrible film. The most disturbing part was that most of these critics uttered these claims without ever having seen the film. Even the "journalists" who saw the first show in Cannes were negative in a way that was almost unheard of. In fact, I have read so many negative reviews (too long, too narrative, boring, predictable, laughable, Tom Hanks ashamed, Ron Howard ashamed, public not amused. etc.) that I was almost tempted not to collect my 2 premiere tickets to the nearby cinema, saving me 20 euro's in the process. My companion (who did read the book, by the way) however insisted and we went. Good, so now I can write about it first hand. Yes, it's a long time to sit with your face directed upwards to the big screen (two and a half hours, plus 15 minutes commercials). Granted, and it contains lots of talking and here and there, some plot movements were indeed incredible and it was quite predictable in certain parts (remember, I did NOT read the book nor did I know the plot), but in whole, it was a fascinating film indeed. Of course, it was a fascinating novel to begin with and personally I found the direction of the film, as well as the parts of most notably Tatou, McKellen and Reno, excellent. I am well aware that, although some points are right on, a considerable part of the story is fiction and some of the facts in the film are dead wrong (unambiguously and easily ascertainable), but most stories, if not all, are. Nothing special about that. Why do many people find exactly this story bad? Simply because of the fact that it is believed to undermine these same people's religious beliefs. But religion itself is based on beliefs, and never the whole truth. This lies within the fundamental definition of what we call religion. Myths are not seldom more true. But that is all irrelevant. Religion itself brings that people will always bend the truth or intermix truth with facts, even facts which are out of place, out of time, or both. Nothing new or spectacular about that. What is spectacular, that this is possibly the most interesting time in recent history in a way that many people start to rethink the whole Christian beliefs. And the fact that the Judas gospel was published also this year, helped tremendously in the process. That process of rethinking belief, that alone is valuable. Many critics wrote from this belief: if you are a fundamentalist Christian, you will most likely hate Brown's book, the film and its message. And if you hate the church, chances are that you love it (I can't think of another reason why over half (616) of the 1176 voters to this instant I write this review, valued this film with a 10 out of 10 (no film in history is worth this)). But both opinions don't count for much, if you ask me, because they are prejudiced ans biased and nothing good ever came from those sentiments. And I can really do without critics who claim you go to hell if you go out and see the film. Hey buddy, I know about hell, I live in The Netherlands... -spoilers after this- Was the a historic person called Jesus the Christ? Probably, but not certainly. Was Jesus the Christ married with Maria Magdalena? Possibly. If yes, did they have children? Possibly. And is Maria Magdalena buried under the Louvre? Unlikely. And is Tatou a direct descendant of Maria Magdalena and Jesus? Very unlikely. Did the Catholic church try to hide Christ's bloodline? I don't think so. Does the church know much more than they say? Certainly. Did the church commit genocide over and over for unholy reasons? Absolutely. Is the new testament complete? Most certainly not - even the translations contain dreadful mistakes. Were there indeed more than 100 gospels instead of 4? Very likely. Is half of Dan Brown's book fantasy? Most likely, yes, but also half is most likely true. but that is again not the issue here. The issue is that if you do have a sufficiently long attention span, if you do have an open mind and if you do have more than half a brain, you may very well enjoy this film. And never stop thinking, no matter who informs you: The Priest, The Politician, The Legislator, The Judge, The Scientist, The Teacher, The Novelist, Mr Gates or the critic. Just never stop thinking...
  • I haven't read the book. I am neutral towards religion. The DaVinci Code is the Worst Movie I have seen this year. I never felt at any point in the story that I cared for these characters. That I wanted them to find the "Holy Grail." I felt no suspense or thrill in this movie. I felt more interested in "DaVinci Decoded" on the History channel than this POS. When something is this awful, all i can say is Ron Howard, learn your craft please. MI-III was not the best script, but the movie was amazing technically and Tom Cruise's performance was top notch. Ron Howard, please pay attention, this is not 1970's- learn some new things please. Learn how to use the green screen, or to move the camera. Please god, someone teach this man some craft. Technology and Film-making has evolved, please learn. I feel so awful right now after watching this movie. Where the f**k is the suspense and the thrill of the movie. I haven't seen RV, but thats probably got more excitement than this piece of junk.
  • adser5318 May 2006
    OK, I read the book like everyone else and loved it! I had the pleasure (or so I thought) of going to see a staff screening of the film with my friend this morning and I had to say I was very very very disappointed! I know films are never as good as the books they are based on but this just wound me up the wrong way completely. I never felt like there was much "code breaking" or deep thought involved by any of the characters and It annoyed me the way that things were illuminated as Tom hanks concentrated on them. It felt like it was for idiots to identify where he came up with his conclusions. The acting was very good in regards to all characters but I did feel that Jean Reno was underused and Paul Bettany as Silas wasn't as great as the media have lead us to believe. Sure the monk was misguided but it didn't feel like he really cared that much about finding the keystone/grail...whatever. I felt that everything in the movie was a bit rushed, and the differences in the story from that of the book, just didn't feel right. It kinda went off on a tangent at the end and I felt like a lot of questions went unanswered. The grail guardians also didn't look like they'd stand up to much with the majority of them a few years short of zimmer frames. Overall I'd give this movie 4 out of 10 and it annoys me greatly that It's going to make millions riding on the popularity of the book. If this was an unknown film with another name It would be quickly forgotten.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    .. this film was dreadful. It could have been one of the great conspiracy thrillers but instead it turned out to be a woodenly preformed, shoddily directed and poorly scripted piece of commercial pap that treats its audience like morons. Rarely have I seen a film with so much expositional dialogue (one of the great screen writing no-nos) in it. The 'mysterious' clues and riddles which were ludicrously simple to decipher in the book (none of the three supposedly great intellects in the book could work out that Newton's orb was the apple that fell on his head? Please!) were, if anything, spelled out even more. The dialogue was stilted and unintentionally funny with audience members at the screening I attended laughing at moments intended as high drama. I believe this was also the case at its premiere in Cannes where they know a thing or two about movies. Ron Howard, a director I have great respect for, got it wrong on just about every level, most notably by resorting to the same visual gimmickry he employed in A Beautiful Mind in an attempt to make sure everyone got what was going on. Don't worry, Ron, we got it alright - you made sure of that! All in all, this is one of those films all involved will look back on and wonder what might've been. The major movie disappointment of the year.
  • mairtin-216 October 2006
    Warning: Spoilers
    Terrible film. It lost me from the beginning. Some guy is shot by the most conspicuous assassin ever seen. Who could fail to spot an albino in a medieval cassock ? Where did he think he was, a fancy dress ? Then the mortally wounded guy runs around the Louvre leaving riddles in his own blood. Ever heard of a mobile phone ? Tom Hanks, Professor of Silly Nonsense at Harry Potter university doesn't make a move on Audrey Tatou. Some stuff happens and they're in a van. Ian McKellen can afford a villa in Portugal by hamming it up egregiously.

    Apparently this film and book offended some peoples imaginary friend.I can see why, such a waste of money when people are going hungry.

    Raspberries all around.
  • After seeing The Da Vinci code today I have to say it's quite good! Tho the movie hasn't got all the details the book has it's worth taking the 2and a half hour seat! At first I doubted that Tom Hanks would be a good Robert Langdon, but after seeing this I have to say I'm Really impressed. The real die hard fans will miss some of the details that make Robert Langdon the character he is. Jean Reno was the one that really was the person I thought he'd be when I was reading the book. There are some nice flashbacks who perfectly flow over. Time really passed by quickly and the movie has a nice speed of moving on.

    Tho probably not the best movie this year, it's worth the while and I certainly can watch a couple of times more!
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