The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code

Film review by: Witney Seibold

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            Count me among the minority of Americans who have not read Dan Brown’s mega-smash The Da Vinci Code. After mucking my way through most of Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, I wasn’t interested in yet another pulp thriller about tight-fisted scholars running about Europe trying to interpret ancient symbols before the Bad Guys do. After seeing director Ron Howard’s popcorn Hollywood thriller version of the Code, I’m even less interested in tackling the book. The Da Vinci Code is just not very good. In fact, it’s pretty miserable. What could have been taut and intelligent and interesting, ended up awkward and gloomy and misshapen.

 

            I’ll give a brief recap for the few of you out there who also haven’t cracked a copy: Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is a professor of symbology (which wasn’t a major at my college) who, during a book signing in Paris, is whisked off to the Louvre by a cop (Jean Reno) to check out the symbols carved into the curator. He is then whisked a second time by Audrey Tautou, who insists he will be blamed for doing the carving. The two of them, running about the streets of Paris, frantically deciphering the crime scene symbols, soon discover a conspiracy within the Catholic church, which seems to be led by a Cardinal of the real-life, ultra-conservative sect Opus Dei (Alfred Molina), and his self-flagellating albino thug (Paul Bettany). Why do albinos always have to be evil in movies? Our heroes eventually land in the lap of an eccentric British ex-pat (Ian McKellen) who conveniently explains what the conspiracy is all about: Christ and Mary Magdalene actually got married all those years ago, Christ had babies, and his divinity may be in question. This information sets the three of them on a quest to uncover the final resting place of the Holy Grail. Here’s a hint: it isn’t in the Castle Aaaaaauugh.

 

            Most of the film takes place at night, and so the filmmakers decided to shoot everything in gloomy half-light. It looks awful. There is little-to-no chemistry between Hanks and Tautou, who are wonderful actors, but seemed miscast. The music was ugly; someone needed to tell composer Hans Zimmer that 150 minutes of solid music can cause eye-twitches in even the strongest of men. According to those in the know, the film is stringently faithful to the novel, but this also means that the literary pacing is carried over, and literature just doesn’t move the same way as cinema. The screenplay (by Akiva Goldsman, the man behind Batman & Robin) obnoxiously over-explains everything (the film seemed to have three or four climaxes), without explaining certain charcter motivations. Sure, Ian McKellen added some much-needed camp to the film, and some of the chases were fun, but “The Da Vinci Code” was overall just mediocre.

 -May 19th, Columbia Pictures

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Published in: on March 27, 2008 at 1:37 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. http://www.bloodline-themovie.com/

    this is an intense documentary on the mysteries of Jesus’ Bloodline. Those of you who are into ‘The Da Vinci code’ or ‘holy blood holy grail’ will be amazed by this real-life adventure with actual holy relics found.. I was amazed.


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