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Overall Rating
2.5

Awesome: 4.72%
Worth A Look: 12.26%
Average: 27.83%
Pretty Bad39.15%
Total Crap: 16.04%

19 reviews, 98 user ratings


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Da Vinci Code, The
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by Collin Souter

"Take Ron Howard's advice and don't see it."
2 stars

There is a group of people who believe that if you go see The Da Vinci Code, you will go to Hell. I think they got it backwards. I think that if you go to Hell, you will likely see The Da Vinci Code while you’re there…over and over and over again. The people who protest this movie should have to sit through it like the rest of us before they give themselves—and the movie, the book, the board game, the trivia game and the endless History Channel documentaries—more press. After all, people have believed crazier things than that which are brought up in Dan Brown’s trifle of a novel. Heck, some people believe flying a plane into a building will guarantee them an afterlife where they will be given an endless supply of virgins (why anybody would want to subject themselves to an eternity of really awkward sex is beyond me, but I digress). Which is crazier?

Let’s just say Ron Howard’s screen adaptation is not a pleasure to sit through. It meanders, stumbles, stammers and when it’s not doing that, it gives us flashbacks upon flashbacks meant to enrich our involvement with the characters and the “history” they are exploring. I have read Brown’s book and found it to be an entertaining little thriller with some interesting theories about Christianity and Pagan religions. Nothing more, nothing less. When I heard that Ron Howard would direct it, I guessed that he would tone down some of the rhetoric and just concentrate on the “thriller” aspect of the story, so as not to offend people. Howard, as we all know, is not one to rock the boat.

It turns out I was wrong, but not in a good way. Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman stay so true to the text that the movie actually suffers greatly as a result. On one level I have to admire the approach, because what novelist wants to see their work torn to shreds and simplified via Hollywood (as has been the tradition since the early 20th century)? On the other hand, it’s almost a gutless cop-out. What works on the page doesn’t necessarily work on film. In fact, by sticking so closely to Dan Brown’s story structure, it actually exposes (even further) what a silly book it is and the fans will likely leave the theater embarrassed that they liked it at all. I know I did.

With a novel, the writer has the freedom to fully explain certain leaps of logic. I knew as I read The Da Vinci Code that it was absurd, but I enjoyed it anyway because I wanted to know what would happen next and how the story would come together. Every chapter ended with me wanting to read the next chapter. When I finished it, I couldn’t decide whether or not it would make a good movie. It is densely packed with theory, exposition, back stories upon back stories and long stretches of dialogue meant to push the story forward. It’s odd to me that a movie that feels so slow can also be in such a hurry to squeeze in as many of Brown’s theories as possible.

Aside from the idea Brown states that we all have a vision of God when we have an orgasm, I don’t think Howard or Goldsman have left anything out. As a result, the movie makes great leaps of logic that cannot possibly be taken seriously by a non-initiated audience. Like, how is it that symbiologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) knows that a phrase MUST be an anagram that must be decoded in order to retrieve the next clue? And how is it that he’s able to do it successfully in less than 30 seconds? And how come when investigator Captain Fache (Jean Reno) and his crew leave the museum to chase after Langdon and his cohort Sophie (Audry Toutau) no one stays at the museum to keep an eye on the dead body? Why does Sophie pay a junkie $50 to leave a park so she and Langdon can have a chat? Just how small is this park? And why does Langdon feel the need to tell a guy he just met what two triangles mean? Does he say this to everyone every time he looks at a triangle? Because that’s just weird.

The problems don’t end there. Hanks seems to be at a loss for how to play this. He can’t make it work and his performance is actually laughable. It’s probably not his fault, but Hanks has made failing movies work in the past. He doesn’t seem to believe a single word he’s saying here. He simply does what the plot tells him to do and brings nothing more to it. Toutau is no help. She’s mainly there to follow him around and listen to him and Ian McKellen (the Grail expert, Sir Leigh Teabing) expound upon the whereabouts of Jesus’ bloodline and Mary Magdelene’s tomb. McKellen seems to be the only one who suits his role well. At least someone is enjoying themselves.

I’ve decided to bypass the story explanation in this review, because you probably already know it and are therefore only interested in how it compares to the book. If you’ve read the book, you probably already saw a better movie in your head. If you haven’t read the book and are curious about the movie, I strongly recommend waiting for a rental. It’s not worth paying your hard-earned money just because “everyone’s talking about it!” Next week, they’ll be talking about something else. The next time this will be a big deal will probably be when Wal-Mart has to answer back to a bunch of pesky church people about carrying DVDs of this movie in their store. Pretty soon, this whole phenomenon will fade into the history books. It will simply be remembered as a silly little book turned into an even sillier movie and Hell will have its hands full with far greater, more relevant evil-doings.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14534&reviewer=233
originally posted: 05/20/06 14:39:12
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User Comments

7/16/14 olqoalf USA 5 stars
10/12/13 Aby Crap 1 stars
7/04/10 azamhe catholics should not believe in this...it is only God who knows everything,lets not ask God 2 stars
4/30/09 Misha The worst movie T.Hanks ever played in. Why did he have to do it anyways? 1 stars
1/17/09 Aesop Skip the book; it's cheaper to read used baby diapers, and the smell is fainter. 1 stars
10/26/08 Shaun Wallner This movie stinks!! 2 stars
10/04/08 arthur daley tedious melodrama 1 stars
9/07/08 Samantha Pruitt inredibly predicatble, still fun though 3 stars
5/15/08 PAUL SHORTT IN A WORD - ABHORRENT 1 stars
2/25/08 SamanthaP the clue finding was cool, but it was so obvious what was gonna happen though. 3 stars
10/16/07 fools♫gold Of course the book is better - that's common sense. Not that I'll read it... 3 stars
10/14/07 pablo eneas The book was mediocre but at least interesting. The is useless 1 stars
10/05/07 TreeTiger Horrible movie - Audrey Tautou acts like a retarded 12 year old with a speech impediment 1 stars
8/23/07 Amin Abdullah The film was good, the book was perfect but a Da Vinci code mud/muck/mush would be divine! 5 stars
8/13/07 Annonomiss Book is clearer but still ya need to pay attention to the details to get it all. Skip it. 2 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Watching this film twice could give you head cancer 1 stars
4/13/07 Anikka Read the book...much better 1 stars
2/18/07 David Pollastrini the bad hair day code 4 stars
2/12/07 Austin Wertman To tell ya the truth, I really liked it 4 stars
1/18/07 Indrid Cold The story is fairly intriguing, but the Nancy Drew elements and gaps in logic do it in. 3 stars
1/03/07 Matt Dark, messy. Hanks miscast. Rather read the book 2 stars
12/29/06 Jennifer Raven I liked the "history" to it. acting was kind of eh, but liked it 3 stars
12/10/06 Craig It insults Christianity, so it must be true, or at least today's generation thinks so. 1 stars
12/05/06 wufongtan boring book, boring movie. can i give minus 1 star? well thats what this star is aminus 1 stars
11/29/06 Gwen Stefani? Better than I expected, but lacking something. 4 stars
11/25/06 sokukodo Loved it! 4 stars
11/15/06 Jari Movie sucks big time, casting too.. 1 stars
11/13/06 ras Book was well written, good use of fact & fiction to encourage dialogue.The movie failed 3 stars
8/17/06 Pn. The final three minutes are sopt-on brilliant. Is that enough? 3 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant Painful to sit through. Hanks sucks, Ron Howard sucks, the whole hoopla sucks. Avoid. 1 stars
7/13/06 Agent Sands OK, so it's good. Now can everyone please shut the fuck up about it? 4 stars
7/08/06 Anthony Feor They couldn't even crack the damn code 3 stars
7/06/06 Keith Carter Bought in Bangkok for $2 - What a waste of money! 1 stars
6/27/06 Michael Parkes the last half hour is surprisingly moving 4 stars
6/27/06 Kimberly Certainly not the thriller it is made out to be. 3 stars
6/13/06 Michael Howard proves yet again why he isn't remembered at Oscar time. 2 stars
6/12/06 Monday Morning An intriguing flick not for those with short attention spans. Could be edited a bit. 4 stars
6/09/06 Beatriz it was an interesting movie apart from the controversy it has received 4 stars
6/07/06 Raven blasphemous? lol 5 stars
6/07/06 Quigley blasphemous, dark and far, far too long; stated a bunch of lies as truth. don't even bother 2 stars
6/06/06 alice Girls, the stuff bout Magdalena is no fiction but the truth, go see it. 4 stars
6/03/06 Rowsdower Better than your average thriller. Even if it's junk history, it's fun junk history. 4 stars
6/03/06 steve fahey At least by comparison to the wordy book, the film gets high marks for pace and action. 4 stars
6/02/06 atanu so dark the con perpetrated by dan. 1 stars
6/02/06 Stacy Not worthy of the hype it was given, but not worthy of the horrible reviews. Ian's great. 3 stars
6/01/06 shruthi reddy the movie sucks 1 stars
5/31/06 Peter Great review I ended up seeing this stuff because of this review. 5 stars
5/31/06 daveyt film dragged monotonously, the booked described the story better in words 2 stars
5/31/06 Ally Tut, Tom Hanks let himself down, who the hell was that Audrey Tautou girl?? Shes crap!! 2 stars
5/30/06 Amanda The movie was a pain in the ass. 1 stars
5/30/06 Scott Trash! They should have paid ME to suffer through this turkey!!! 1 stars
5/30/06 Jeff Withrow The film was good - the book was great, 4 stars
5/30/06 San Lamar its aiight 3 stars
5/30/06 millersxing Tautou and Hanks made solid choices, but neither transcends his or her role. 3 stars
5/30/06 Sean D Overhyped complete fucking shit 1 stars
5/30/06 Zaw over hyped! the bitch accent was annoying! It was like I paid $10 to watch Discovery Chanl! 1 stars
5/29/06 Jason Book is shit, so is the movie 1 stars
5/29/06 Troy M. Grzych The pieces of the puzzle come together pretty entertainly, but there is no surprises. 4 stars
5/29/06 Charlene Javier Completely disappointing. 2 stars
5/29/06 Anthony Feor Disapointing, If you want a movie where you have to think, think twice about seeing this. 3 stars
5/28/06 ad youll be better off watching discovery channel 2 stars
5/27/06 Paterfam001@yahoo.ca Todd Laplace: it's penchant and highly-coiffed. 3 stars
5/26/06 john bale A faithful adaption of the novel, a clever but pedestrian thriller for the Thinking Man. 4 stars
5/26/06 captain craig Howard proves more is certainly NOT better 2 stars
5/26/06 dr.mendonca.correia@oninet.pt Pasolini, with 0.0000001% of this trash's budget, made the great "St. Matthew's Gospel"!... 1 stars
5/26/06 jcjs fine acting, interesting plot but something lacking.. i like the idea Jesus had manly sex 4 stars
5/26/06 Becki D I don't think the subject matter came across on screen as well as it does in the novel. 3 stars
5/25/06 Mase This is the storry that has captivated so many readers!! Not bad but little to recommend. 3 stars
5/25/06 saw When will the lies stop? The Bible contains the Truth! 1 stars
5/24/06 ES Great twists, good character developement, amazing suspense, Ron Howard is at his best here 4 stars
5/24/06 Anthony Feor A disapointing movie with meaning 3 stars
5/24/06 Anonymous Simply Amazing! Amazing story and amazing job by Howard to recreate it! 5 stars
5/23/06 Anthony G Interesting story, movie dragged on and on though. 3 stars
5/23/06 Josh Standlee Not as good as I thought it would be. 3 stars
5/23/06 Maricel Padilla No Comment 3 stars
5/23/06 John Shannon Excellent adaptation. It captured the feel of the book perfectly. 5 stars
5/23/06 Frenzy Not so bad at all 4 stars
5/23/06 Bob Dole it was a horrible film 2 stars
5/22/06 chris. shitty cinema happens when a director knows he automatically has a shitload of viewers 1 stars
5/22/06 L. Mahaffey fiction and fiction it is! 1 stars
5/22/06 Dave Hey, i thought it was pretty good, and Tautou great. Guess I wouldn't make a good critic. 4 stars
5/22/06 Pokejedservo An intresting though not flawless film, Ian McKellan easily stole the show though. 4 stars
5/22/06 Aaron Valdes I enjoyed. It had terrific elements. 5 stars
5/22/06 Marce Hopelessly long-winded and miscast. 2 stars
5/21/06 Vera Mallard Long and silly. 2 stars
5/21/06 ajay I read the book, so I was just kinda waiting for the scenes I knew were coming... 3 stars
5/21/06 doug yawn 2 stars
5/21/06 BoyInTheDesignerBubble Opie, you've made a bad movie, now go to your room!!! 1 stars
5/20/06 bobbrewster Entertaining and enjoyable, which is what most normal people will conclude 5 stars
5/20/06 Ole Man Bourbon Dead-end or preposterous notions at times, crappy screeplay, awkward direction. 3 stars
5/20/06 BrianWilly Awesome. 5 stars
5/20/06 Marcia Zarwetten-Grassi Whether church is right or wrong, it's troubling that some would impose a Jesus dynasty! 4 stars
5/20/06 alien assassin The most overhyped movie event of the decade...Makes "Phantom Menace" look like LOTR 2 stars
5/20/06 San Lamar didnt live up to expectation 3 stars
5/20/06 Illumine Duh . . . 1 stars
5/20/06 Leo ZZZzzzzzzz-Boreing 1 stars
5/20/06 family medicine intern outstanding 5 stars
5/19/06 Adrian Disappointing. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-May-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Nov-2006

UK
  19-May-2006

Australia
  18-May-2006


Directed by
  Ron Howard

Written by
  Akiva Goldsman

Cast
  Tom Hanks
  Audrey Tautou
  Jean Reno
  Ian McKellen
  Paul Bettany
  Alfred Molina



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