Since the turn of 2006 media groups across the web, television and print have been telling moviegoers that Ron Howard’s adaptation of the popular novel The Da Vinci Code was the film to see. Written by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code is so chalk full of discussion, conspiracy and debate, that it should have been a no-brainer that a film version was not going to be the action-packed thriller that moviegoers have come to love over the summer. And, now that the summer blockbuster season has officially begun, The Da Vinci Code couldn’t have been released at a worse time.
Da Vinci Code Review
Did I like the film? Yes, The Da Vinci Code is far from the utter disaster that most reviews would have you believe. In fact, if the film had come out after the summer season -- let’s say November -- I am pretty sure that many reviews would have been tooting a different horn. But this is summer and the story of Robert Langdon just doesn’t fit the mold.
Since most of you have read the Dan Brown novel I won’t get too deep into details about the plot. What we know is that there has been a murder at the famous Louvre in France. The curator, Jacques Sauniere, is found dead behind bars with a series of coded messages created for the eyes of his granddaughter, Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), and symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) – who just happens to be in town.
From that point on the film takes the moviegoer on a series of riddles, puzzles and extraordinarily long explanations to help get to the underwhelming-for-some conclusion by the end of the story.
Audrey Tautou is a sight for sore eyes.
The major issue with The Da Vinci Code may come down to expectations. If audiences are expecting a summer thrill ride when they enter theatres they are bound to be disappointed. However, if you are expecting something closer to Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind there is a strong possibility that you will exit the theatre discussing how the film was ‘pretty good.’
Another issue worth pointing out is the fact that the majority of the audience for The Da Vinci Code has read the book. Though Sony figured this would help fill seats for the opening weekend, those who know the story – and therefore the riddles and resolutions – may find themselves bored out of their minds during the long discussions on the Priory of Sion and the theories behind Jesus. We have already heard them before while reading the book and sitting around for thirty plus minutes discussing them again can get a bit dull.
Fortunately, a lot of good should come out of The Da Vinci Code for Sony and other key players. Though the film has received abysmal early reviews, the theatre seats still looked full during the middle of Friday. The use of special effects in the film was extremely well done – you can see some of Ron Howards’ Beautiful Mind special effects recycled – and it is hard not to be impressed by the spectacle created for some of the puzzle-solving scenes. Audrey Tautou, who has been due some domestic exposure, plays the role of Sophie Neveu with such honesty that moviegoers should want to see her in future films. Ian McKellen, who we can expect to see shortly in X-Men: The Last Stand, proves once again that he can act and knows how to play a shining character. And, finally, Sony should expect The Da Vinci Code DVD to sell like crazy; by that time moviegoers will have waved goodbye to the high-energy films of the summer.
You want to enjoy The Da Vinci Code? Then forget all the hype and go in expecting a film that is more about history than thrills. If you do that you might just find the film to be one heck of a flick; notice I didn’t say ‘summer.’