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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.25%
Worth A Look: 12.26%
Average: 27.83%
Pretty Bad39.15%
Total Crap: 16.51%

19 reviews, 98 user ratings

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Da Vinci Code, The
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by Erik Childress

"In Latin, Junk Starts With An “I”"
2 stars

Don’t confuse that I went to Catholic school for 11 grades and that I didn’t read Dan Brown’s novel as facts which lead to my non-enjoyment of the cinematic treatment. Nor confuse me with the protestors who have lined up around the world and essentially lined themselves up with the villains of the pseudo-fictional piece and against common sense for generations to come. With the knowledge coming from every other person I bump into, what’s on screen follows Brown’s work almost to the letter and that’s certainly no compliment. A quick page-turner of incompetent plotting becomes a film which favors exposition over ideas that’s literally on cruise control; never slowing down but also never flooring it to give us an excuse to ignore what’s little more than a large, stale chocolate bar with a pretty good nut right in the middle of it.

Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is a symbiologist, who in a promising opening scene shows a seminar the common misconception of various symbols which have devolved into our subconscious as images of evil. He is summoned away to the Louvre where the curator he was supposed to meet that evening has been killed and laid out in a ritualistic manner by his own hands. Captain Fache (Jean Reno) suspects Langdon’s involvement in the murder but cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) shows up in the nick of time to warn Langdon of the danger he’s in. After an obvious bit of bait-and-switch on the police, Robert & Sophie investigate a trail of clues left by the dead man, her grandfather, which leads to the Mona Lisa, a key and the phrase “so dark the con of man” to which Langdon replies “It doesn’t say that.”

Oh, but yes it does and now he’s being framed for the murder committed by self-flaggelating albino monk, Silas (Paul Bettany), creating mayhem all over Paris like a disgraced Jedi crossed with the heavy of Young Sherlock Holmes. Silas belongs to the Christian group, the Opus Dei, who in a brief exchange between an interviewer and Bishop Aringarosa (Alfred Molina) are characterized as a brainwashing clan of religious nuts protecting the Bible which they take most literally. No wonder the real Opus Dei are offended by the book since it doesn’t even make them great villains; let alone acting as some propaganda piece for their organization. God forbid.

Neither are the nut referred to in my opening though. Langdon’s journey for the truth brings them to the safe haven of Sir Leigh Teabing (Ian McKellen), an obsessed “holy grail expert” who isn’t as neatly organized as Indiana Jones’ father with his diary. This sequence contains the last of the film’s intriguing discussions (second counting Hanks’ opening monologue) where the three participants talk out the conspiracy led by the Catholic Church to dismiss any debate that Jesus Christ was not divine and just a man who may have even spawned a bloodline. Without revealing any more, that one sentence is enough to inspire a debate so intense it could lead true believers to murder. Us more rational thinkers, even those who have favorably studied Catholicism for years, could carry on with verbose interpretations of the mystery over “the greatest story ever told.” But The Da Vinci Code treats it as little more than a MacGuffin to hold the audience’s breath to see if the case will finally be opened and the secrets revealed.

It makes for a potentially captivating, if remote, thriller except director Ron Howard plays it too safe keeping fans of the book in line, objectors at bay and alienates anyone coming into the hype with thoughts of “that’s what everyone is up in arms about?” After a couple successful collaborations with Howard, including Cinderella Man and his Oscar-winning script for A Beautiful Mind, this is Akiva Goldsman at his most regressed – back to a time of Lost In Space and the Joel Schumacher Batman sequels. Every scene is an exercise in exposition with many openings and asides as silly as a 1950s technological picture identifying every location by name and then historical figures with a quick Wikipedia introduction. Nothing is left to our own brainpower with the exception of the obvious twists and trying to decipher the pointless motivation of the bad guy who appears to want the same thing that the good guys want.

When you only have six chief characters in your story (seven if you count McKellen’s look-over-his-shoulder-at-every-opportunity butler), chances are one or more are going to be directly involved with the revelations Brown and Goldsman have been entrusted to hold until the last possible moment. Process of elimination has never been easier, slapping us right back down to the main story which doesn’t seem to have Idea Two in code or any other manner. Would it have killed Goldsman to stray from the text and inject some further theological debate between the characters, none of whom can suffer a crisis of faith since none of them are revealed to have any in the first place. Save for McKellen’s colorful “expert”, each character is more colorless than Silas’ psychotically obedient altar boy. Langdon’s traits consist of a memory best suited to do the Sunday Jumble and an acute case of claustrophobia; both which normally would be utilized to drastic effect in most thrillers, but here are throwaways. As much as I’d personally love to get some head (massage) from Audrey Tautou, her Mr. Miyagi-esque “solving” of Robert’s paranoia is so ham-fistedly obvious that only a dope wouldn’t come away recognizing its significance even before a throwaway line a few scenes later reminds us of it.

Tom Hanks has one of the most impressive resumes of any moviestar working today, thanks to working with great directors and solid scripts. But the phenomenon surrounding The Da Vinci Code is bigger than him and his performance suffers because he’s lost in a sea of complacency by the filmmakers. His Everyman persona should make him the perfect choice for a story with Hitchcockian proportions, but instead he’s left with a quagmire of reaction shots doing his best to sell eye-openers to people trying to stay awake. His epiloguic summation is an insulting embarrassment; partly because little of what he’s summing up is explored in the first 135 minutes but mostly because it’s an easy out to a subject that deserves more than just having it both ways.

Howard, while a generic director for some, has nevertheless produced his own resume of more than respectful commercial entertainment including solid thrillers from fact (Apollo 13) and fiction (Ransom), but The Da Vinci Code is as generic as they come (think Mercury Rising) and borderline silly in its sincerity to potentially bust open the business of religion everywhere. Almost as silly are the protestors who from The Last Temptation of Christ to Dogma (while ignoring such non-publicity hotbeds as Stigmata and The Order) have been stamping out any chance of intelligent debate about the history of Christianity on their own personal crusade. If they stop to take a look at The Da Vinci Code (in either cinematic or literary form), they will realize that they could have spent a mere 150 mins discovering that their countless hours of sign-holding and bullhorn bellowing may have been better utilized helping out their fellow man. You know, like their teacher told them to.

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originally posted: 05/19/06 02:14:46
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell silly crap 1 stars
10/12/13 Aby Crap 1 stars
7/04/10 azamhe catholics should not believe in 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
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 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 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
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  19-May-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Nov-2006



Directed by
  Ron Howard

Written by
  Akiva Goldsman

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

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