Friday, May 19, 2006


The Da Vinci Code movieTom Hanks Directed by Ron Howard
Starring Tom Hanks
Reviewed by Byron Merritt



The trouble with making a movie out of book so wildly popular as The Da Vinci Code is that we all knew (just knew!) it’d have problems. Detractors will lambaste it for the pages of the novel that had to be cast aside for the sake of film time (the movie is still 2 hours and 29 minutes, though) and any changes to characters or plots (all of which have happened.) But when you transfer a book to film, a certain amount of trust has to go to the screenwriters; a level of trust that basically says, “Please don’t screw this up! But give us a good story that’ll engage film audiences!”

I’ve read the book and I must say that it was interesting, but I felt the novel didn’t live up to the hype surrounding it. I was continually astounded to see it on the bestseller list month after month after month. I kept asking myself, “Did I miss something? Was it really THAT good?” Maybe. Either way, however, I approached this film with a fairly high level of trepidation. “Will the movie be over-hyped, too?”

I’m happy to say that this is an adequate film (thus my thumbs up rating.) But I don’t believe it’ll stay in theaters as long as the book stayed on the bestseller lists.

The film DOES follow the book surprisingly well.
Tom Hanks plays symbologist Robert Langdon. He’s in Paris autographing his latest book when a police officer approaches and asks him to come to the Louvre. Once there, Mr. Hanks discovers that a murder has taken place. A curator that Mr. Langdon was supposed to meet that night was murdered and his body desecrated. But it appears the dead curator desecrated his own body. But why?

Sophie Neveu, a young detective played by
Audrey Tautou, arrives at the scene and soon Mr. Langdon’s life begins to unravel. Trapped by the French police, a murder investigation in which he is the prime suspect, a secret society of ultra-worshippers known as the Opus Dei, and a group of Templar Knights in hiding, Robert Langdon is quickly whisked into a life of puzzle solving in order to find a secret that could unravel Christianity as we know it.

Much controversy surrounded the film before its release. The main controversy was from albinos. Amazingly I heard nothing from this group while the book was out, but now that the film is here, they’ve emerged from the woodwork. Why? I’ll let you all think about that one on your own.

There have been complaints, too, that the film is “too slow to get going” or that Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou gave wooden performances. I didn’t see that.

I will complain about Tom Hanks in this role, however. I’m sure Ron Howard and he work together comfortably after their previous collaborations …from SPLASH to APOLLO 13. But I just couldn’t swallow Mr. Hanks as the prime character. There was zero chemistry between him and Mrs. Tautou, and his long hair was …well …nasty looking (like it needed a good washing.) He’s getting up there in age and I think Clive Owen or some other up-and-coming actor would’ve been a wiser choice. My two-cents …

Click here for The Da Vinci Code movie trailer!

Click here for Chad's alternate review of The Da Vinci Code.


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