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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.23%
Worth A Look: 12.21%
Average: 27.7%
Pretty Bad39.44%
Total Crap: 16.43%

19 reviews, 99 user ratings

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Da Vinci Code, The
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by MP Bartley

"Makes National Treasure look like a viable successor to Indiana Jones."
2 stars

When Dan Brown published The Da Vinci Code, it caused a bestselling sensation and a worldwide controversy. Detailing a centuries old conspiracy to keep the existence of Christ's blood descendants secret, it was variously denounced as heresy, utter fiction and unreadable tosh (the latter mostly by literary critics). Whatever your opinion of the book as a piece of writing, it could not be denied by anyone that this was a hot, contenious property. So who did they hire to bring this controversy-baiting tale to screen? Ron Howard and Akisva Goldman - *facepalm*.

Yep, the man behind the decision to introduce a fight between astronauts into Apollo 13 (because it just wasn't tense enough) and the man who does more historical whitewashing than David Irving and Mel Gibson's dad combined got the job. And didn't they do a predictable turn on it.

Tom Hanks is Robert Langdon, a world renowned symbologist, which is a smidge more exciting than being the world's greatest librarian. He is lecturing in Paris when he is alerted to a bloody murder in The Louvre itself, the victim of which is known to Langdon and who has left clues as to the identity of the murderer, amd much worse - an entire religious offshoot that will resort to anything to keep an ancient revelation secret and an albino assassin monk, Silas (Paul Bettany). Soon, Langdon is on the run from the authorities with only a policewoman, Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tatou), on his side, who also has a long and mysterious link to the secret that is locked within the work of Da Vinci.

Whatever your opinion of the original novel, it's not difficult to see why it became such a phenomenon - after all, it takes a contentious idea, a lot of dodgy history and a style of writing incredibly short chapters to let the reader enjoy the fun of making the discoveries alongside the characters, while reading all at their own pace. This is not an option however with a film adaptation, when you're locked into the pace of the film, and it's the pace of a mournful funeral here. It's not helped by the fact that the trashy aesthetic of the novel is totally abandoned here, in favour of a po-faced, serious tone as the film is absolutely convinced that it is uncovering lost historical secrets for posterity. It isn't, it's trying to deliver some thrills and it absolutely fails to do so.

Part of the problem is that it's so convinced of its own importance, but it leaves the audience cold with its supposed intelligence. So when Hanks gasps melodramatically "The Fabinucci numbers only make sense in order - these are scrambled!", it only works if anyone knows what the hell the Fabinucci numbers ARE. Indeed, the whole film has the same amount of pleasure of watching someone struggling to overcome a particularly difficult crossword - satisfying for the protagonist, but an antidote for insomnia for those watching. So while Hanks may variate between mildly puzzled and incredibly pleased with himself throughout the film, the audience is fully engaged on the first emotion and never on the second. When Ian McKellen's Grail professor enters the film, the scenes between them have all the allure of a dull debate between two dull academics on a particularly dull subject. It isn't helped by the fact that at least 85% of the script is endless historical exposition. At one point I needed to take an extended toilet break - when I came back 10 minutes later they were STILL explaining things to each other. It's this factor that keeps the film from ever picking up the pace that the book has.

The narrative may move from country to country, but there's no sense of purpose or drive, and a car chase that's shoehorned into the beginning just goes to show why Howard should never attempt action again. Instead, Goldman's script just hangs between stultifying historical lecture and melodramatic flourishes at the stupidest moments. One scene that ends with Tatou declaring, "Professor, the Mona Lisa is right over there" displays a ridiculous misjudgement of tone and a director, writer and actor with no idea how to make a scene work.

There's no real empathy for Langdon, simply because he's thrown right into the deep end with no insight into the character - apart from the fact that he's really, really clever, which just distances him even further from us poor outsiders. Ultimately, this is like watching Indiana Jones but without the charm, wit, thrills or ingenuity. Anyone familiar with the book, would know that the role demands the dynamism or verve of someone like Dennis Quaid, but instead we have Tom Hanks in a silly wig, delivering perhaps the blandest turn of his entire career. McKellen is wasted, as is Alfred Molina and Jean Reno, whilst Bettany belongs in a much better film - the next Bond flick perhaps? Tatou is her usual frosty persona, and the spark between her and Langdon from the book is entirely missing, with the pair coming across as more of a duo that are mildly irritated to be in each others presence. It's perhaps ironic that the best segments of the film are historical flashbacks detailing how the secret has been covered up from the time of the Crusades. There is an interesting story to be told in The Da Vinci Code - it's just a shame that it gets about 5 minutes in the entire film.

The Da Vinci Code stands as an example of a film that is the wrong property in the wrong hands - just imagine what a version by Brian De Palma or John Carpenter could be like. But in Howard's and Goldman's hands instead, all potential interest is drained out, leaving a pale, lifeless husk on the floor instead. I've got a symbol for the two of them to decode if they care to take the time. It's 4 fingers on 2 hands in their direction. Work it out gentlemen.

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originally posted: 12/23/06 03:03:43
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User Comments

12/19/20 Charles Tatum Exposition: The Movie! 2 stars
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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