The Da Vinci Code: A Clunky Potboiler – Adapted From a Clunky Potboiler

The Da Vinci Code Box Art"The Da Vinci Code" is my idea of a perfect summer movie: a clunky potboiler of a film, based on a badly written, clunky potboiler of a novel. In the end, it's entertaining but, ultimately, something you can put out of your mind after viewing.

Tom Hanks' Robert Langdon is even more dour than in the book – whatever humor the character evidenced in the novel, it has been excised here. Audrey Tautoo is, to my mind, the perfect choice to play Sophie Neveu – she has an almost otherworldly beauty, and there is a kaleidoscope of emotion going on behind her eyes regardless of what she chooses to show us on the rest of her face.

Paul Bettany's Silas [the murderous albino monk] clearly believes himself to be an Avenging Angel of God. His extreme manner of worship makes him seem to be a fanatic, though he more of a loyal foster son who would literally do anything for his benefactor.

Sir Leigh Teabing, as portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen, is the one source of consistent humor and nuance in the film. Because Teabing is the source of much of the film's exposition, McKellen plays up his Grail obsession to a point just between over-the-top and outright camp. It works, too.

Da Vinci Code - Langdon, Neveu & Mona

Of course, the movie, like the book, proceeds in fits and starts: a gunshot here, a treatise on the mortality of Christ there; a car chase here, the difference between effigies and graves there. Ron Howard somehow manages to keep the balance between action and exposition balanced, though there are some near misses on either side of the equation.

In the end, "The Da Vinci Code" is a movie filled with sound and fury, signifying not a lot – but providing some harmless, mildly thought-provoking entertainment. It's definitely not a threat to Christianity [and anyone who thinks it is either lacks faith, or needs psychiatric attention – fast!].

Note: the review copy I received was of the full-screen [pan & scan] version, which cost the film as presented on this DVD a full letter grade.

Features include: First Day on the Set with Ron Howard [Director Ron Howard introduces the film and the excitement of beginning production at the Louvre in Paris]; Interview with The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown; A Portrait of Langdon; Who is Sophie Neveu?; Unusual Suspects – The international cast – Colorful, memorable and frightening characters; Magical Places; Close-up on Mona Lisa; The Filmmaking Experience Part 1 – Includes a DVD exclusive look at filming the last and revealing scene; The Filmmaking Experience Part 2; The Codes of The Da Vinci Code; The Music of The Da Vinci Code, and Da Vinci Code Puzzle Game PC Demo. As always, lack of a commentary track costs the features a full letter grade

The Da Vinci Code – Grade: C- [Widescreen – B-]

Features – Grade: C+

Final Grade: C [widescreen – B-]


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