Let me begin by telling you I was almost caught up in the “Da Vinci Code” storm back when the book first began sweeping the nation. I say almost because I got 50-percent of the way through and had enough. My problem wasn’t the story, the story was actually intriguing, my problem was the writing and Dan Brown’s problem with getting from one hairy situation to another. The book was written for a four-year-old intellect and when I read Sir Leigh Teabing’s line, “I have a plane,” I was out. You will hear this line uttered in the film as well and for some reason the preposterous nature of it all seems to work better in film than it did on paper… but not much better.
To tackle the flood of bad reviews already out there before I even had a chance to see this picture let me begin by saying it is not that bad. If I was to find fault I would say it is a bit too long and a bit talky, but we are talking about some pretty lofty subject matter here. I know plenty of religious folks would like to tell you not to go see this film, but how upset would they be if the characters didn’t at least legitimize their stance with a long diatribe of “this is how it happened”?
As for what The Da Vinci Code is about, and I am talking to you people living under a rock, it can best be summed up by saying that it all begins with a mysterious murder inside the Louvre. Where a prominent figure has been shot and then mutilated his body with codes and placed hidden clues around the museum all in an effort to lead his granddaughter and famed cryptologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) to a secret that will pretty much turn Christianity on its head.
There is obviously more to the story than that, but that is all you really need to know going in and there are a few twists and turns along the way to keep you interested as well as a satisfactory ending that made the film a little bit better for me, and I am talking about the second ending, not the first.
As far as casting goes, I loved Paul Bettany as Silas, pretty much the evildoer of the pic, a.k.a. “The Guy That Gets His Hands Dirty So Others Don’t Have To”. Bettany has become a favorite of mine outside of Wimbledon and he always seems to bring some measure of uniqueness to all of his characters and his part as a murderous albino monk is no different.
Tom Hanks (Robert Langdon) and Audrey Tautou (Sophie Neveu) are both satisfactory in their roles. I would lean a bit more toward Audrey, only because she is very attractive and there is something about a French accent on a beautiful woman that keeps my motor running. Equally good, if not the best performance comes from Ian McKellen as the previously mentioned Sir Leigh Teabing; an acquaintance of Langdon’s who helps Sophie and Robert on their quest for the hidden secret behind the “code”. McKellen really is the balancing act of the feature, but this pic isn’t really about the acting, it is more about the storytelling and that is where things go a bit awry.
I fear this movie may be out of Ron Howard’s scope. Howard is more of a people director. He can capture emotion and tell the life story of someone just as good if not better than any other director out there. Films such as Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13 and even Backdraft all carried emotional storylines centered on the main characters of the film. The Da Vinci Code is more of an action adventure with a bit of mystery offered up as the gooey center. This film needed more action, it needed some Indiana Jones action. I know this isn’t an Indiana Jones flick, and I know it is an adaptation of a book, but that is precisely my point… It is an adaptation. Plenty of adaptations add a bit here and there to up the entertainment value, something that fails most often but when it succeeds it makes a difference.
Now I am not calling for Tom Hanks swinging from a whip as a boulder rushes toward him I am just asking for action in some way shape or form. Something to add a bit of peril besides:
“Uh oh, the cops are coming.”
“I have a plane.”
That just doesn’t work for me.
Overall I think audiences are going to enjoy this movie, but there won’t be a lot more than that. I think it will open some dialogue between some people, just hope it isn’t during the movie much like the idiot behind me who yacked and yacked throughout the entire picture. Would someone please inform society to SHUT UP during a movie!
The Da Vinci Code is two and a half hours of satisfactory entertainment. It should have probably been only two hours but we can’t always get what we deserve.