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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 Rob Gonsalves

"So dull the con of Brown."
2 stars

Dan Brown's mega-bestseller 'The Da Vinci Code' presents some fairly radical ideas inside a standard puzzle-box thriller. To make the medicine go down even smoother, the film version reunites the whitebread couple Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard, both of whom you would trust to help your grandmother across the street.

Their presence guarantees a safe and unobjectionable evening at the movies. What it doesn't guarantee is any excitement. In 1993, director Sydney Pollack made the dire mistake of adapting John Grisham's potboiler The Firm as a shadowy and serious melodrama, and Ron Howard has duplicated that error here: Whereas Brown's novel has been described as dumb fun, the film is no fun at all.

Sporting a ghastly medium-long haircut that suggests a man with little time to look in the mirror, Hanks mainly phones it in as noted symbologist Robert Langdon, who becomes a suspect in the murder of a Louvre curator. Langdon inspects the corpse, and the elaborate self-inscribed codes and symbols on and near the corpse, and concludes that it means something. But what? Ultimately, the plot's litany of hidden messages leads to shocking evidence that Jesus Christ was not the son of God, that he married Mary Magdalene, and that the church was supposed to be pagan and goddess-centered, not monotheistic and paternalistic. Have I lost you yet? There's also a self-flagellating albino assassin (Paul Bettany) who kills people on orders from the ultra-strict Catholic sect Opus Dei, which wants to keep that evidence secret at all costs. Still with me?

Any movie with a skulking albino assassin begs for campy, self-aware treatment, but Howard and scripter Akiva Goldsman serve it all up straight-faced. The studio has corralled what used to be called an international cast -- Audrey Tautou, from Amelie, plays a "police cryptographer" who helps Langdon; Sir Ian McKellen limps into the film as some sort of historical expert and delivers great chunks of exposition with wry aplomb; Jean Reno and Jurgen Prochnow (oddly playing a Frenchman -- did Howard decide that two French film stars were enough?) turn up; Alfred Molina chews some scenery as a shady bishop. They all look lost in the wind produced by all the dead-serious theologizing and philosophizing. The Da Vinci Code bids fair to be the talkiest, least engaging number-one box-office hit since, well, The Firm.

Flailing to make Brown's art history cinematic, Howard inserts grainy black-and-white flashbacks, sets our heroes wandering through a town square filled with murky historical figures, and repeats his A Beautiful Mind gimmick of visualizing the lead's unique way of deciphering numbers. For the most part, though, you could safely close your eyes and get the same experience you would from listening to the audiobook. Your eyes may close anyway, though, as the characters scurry around, doing Google searches aboard a bus or escaping in the backs of vans or cars. An action director Ron Howard is not, Exhibit A being the incomprehensibly staged and edited car chase backwards through a crowded Paris street. Howard made his name in comedies, and The Da Vinci Code plays to none of his strengths -- aside from a few bits from McKellen, there isn't a laugh (not intentional, anyway) to be found in the film's yawning two hours and twenty-six minutes.

Not having read the book (I gave up on it after about fifteen pages, insulted by the fifth-grade reading level it appeared to be pitched at), and having no particular team to root for in the great theological Super Bowl, I approached The Da Vinci Code solely as a movie. I wasn't concerned with how faithful an adaptation it was, or how credible its thesis was; the many recent magazine cover stories on the alleged flaws in Brown's premise have gone ignored by me. I just don't care. The movie failed to make me care. At the very least, what The Da Vinci Code says about Jesus and the Church makes for fun speculation, and when Ian McKellen comes on and shows the supposed hidden messages in "The Last Supper" the movie comes close to being the cracking good yarn it should've been.

'The Da Vinci Code' needed a rousing, controversial director like Oliver Stone, who would've stirred things up and shaken some foundations. What we get here is very much in the Ron Howard mold -- a movie scared of its own shadow, afraid to stand up for its beliefs, and apparently deathly afraid to be entertaining.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14534&reviewer=416
originally posted: 05/21/06 12:59:20
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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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