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Overall Rating
2.49

Awesome: 4.25%
Worth A Look: 12.26%
Just Average: 27.83%
Pretty Crappy39.15%
Sucks: 16.51%

19 reviews, 98 user ratings


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Da Vinci Code, The
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by brianorndorf

"A smidge drab, but still hugely entertaining... and Hanks's hair rocks."
4 stars

Perhaps the most troubling aspect to “Da Vinci Code” is that it just doesn’t thrill enough. This leisurely paced mystery/thriller tries to stuff in some action to appeal to the rabid summer crowds, but the delight of the story comes from watching the characters attempt to crack codes and debate religious history. A nice, restrained star turn from Tom Hanks help keep the picture involving, but go in expecting thrill-a-minute storytelling, and this “Code” will leave you cold.

When a curator at the Louvre is murdered trying to protect dark secrets from an albino assassin (Paul Bettany), the French police (led by Jean Reno) locate the man’s last known contact, symbologist professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), to bring him in for questioning. Overwhelmed by the breadth of the codes and symbols left behind by the dead man, Langdon is given clarity by Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), the curator’s granddaughter, who fears the true motivations of the police. Escaping potential custody, Langdon and Neveu begin a dangerous search to unearth the secret the curator was protecting, finding treacherous religious figures (Alfred Molina), untrustworthy associates, and their own skepticism halting their progress at every turn.

In the last few weeks, “for the twelve of you who haven’t read the book” was the common joke trailing any piece of “Da Vinci Code” plot description or trivia. Well, I’m one of those twelve. I’m the guy who didn’t go anywhere near Dan Brown’s opus as it stormed the best seller charts and turned a seemingly charming beach read into a national event.

Director Ron Howard is the filmmaker with the chutzpah to try and bring the intricate Langdon saga to the big screen, and the end result is an entertaining if overstuffed motion picture. Howard directs the tale of intrigue and dynamic history lessons with a decided lack of panache. Perhaps the filmmaker was wary of spinning the film in ways that would upset the hardcore fans of the book, but at its worst, “Da Vinci” can be a dreary, unresponsive experience. It’s never boring, but the picture is readily aware of not tipping the canoe over and drowning the core appeal of the story with fancy directorial flourishes.

Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (“A Beautiful Mind,” but also “Batman & Robin”) keeps a very close eye on Brown’s plot, and there’s a lot to consider when shaving this exhaustive, participatory novel down to a cushy 150-minute long moviegoing experience. With Opus Dei, Knights of Templar, Priorys of Sion, and Leonardo himself, Goldsman deserves some credit for maintaining a strict forward momentum to the story, even if he has to achieve it through hammy and often obvious dialog. Fans of the book will undoubtedly have a richer understanding of the complex nature of Langdon’s quest, but casual viewers should be able to grab hold of the details as well. “Da Vinci” may be clumsy at times, but it gets the job done satisfactorily.

As much as Sony would like people to believe this picture is a thrill-a-minute, hair-raising, blood-pumping thriller, the truth is “Da Vinci” is almost all exposition and problem solving. Howard attempts to fluff up the proceedings by sprinkling in a car chase and some standoffs, but those moments feel out of place in a story that embraces the art of calm deduction to save the day. I can’t blame Howard for trying to spice up the film with dollops of action, but the gold of “Da Vinci” is watching the characters enthusiastically spark to clues and ideas, not globetrot and dodge bullets. Any potential viewers must understand that “Da Vinci” is two and a half hours of characters undemonstratively explaining historical events (with some Howard recreations to help paint the picture) and spitballing solutions to codes; it is not a high-flying Parisian “Indian Jones.”

Even with a controversial haircut, Tom Hanks does a convincing job in the lead role of Langdon. It’s surprisingly understated work, with Hanks electing to bear silent witness to the events surrounding the title dilemma and not charging full steam ahead as a blowhard hero. Armed with brains and claustrophobia issues, Langdon uses his intellect and remarkable education to unravel mysteries, and Hanks plays the confidence of historical expertise impressively and commandingly.

Equally as fun is Ian McKellen, who pops up in the film’s second half as Langdon’s English colleague, armed with knowledge on the clues that explore the more weighty (and likely inflammatory) theological discussions of the film. McKellen lightens up the picture with his enthusiastic delivery, and he’s one of the few in the film who can transcend Goldman’s melodrama and make the role twinkle.

While trying to juggle at least three endings, Howard eventually picks an energetically respectful tone, assisted by Hans Zimmer’s lifting score, giving the film a gorgeously graceful exit. “Da Vinci Code” might not be the type of knock down, drag out summer entertainment audiences are used to, but it has subtle appeal for the especially patient.

It’s a long trip around religious theories and elaborate puzzles, but it’s a trip worth taking for some slow-burn decoding delights.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14534&reviewer=404
originally posted: 05/18/06 23:43:54
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User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell silly crap 1 stars
10/11/13 Aby Crap 1 stars
7/04/10 azamhe catholics should not believe in this...it is only God who knows everything,lets not ask God 2 stars
4/29/09 Misha The worst movie T.Hanks ever played in. Why did he have to do it anyways? 1 stars
1/16/09 Aesop Skip the book; it's cheaper to read used baby diapers, and the smell is fainter. 1 stars
10/25/08 Shaun Wallner This movie stinks!! 2 stars
10/03/08 arthur daley tedious melodrama 1 stars
9/07/08 Samantha Pruitt inredibly predicatble, still fun though 3 stars
5/14/08 PAUL SHORTT IN A WORD - ABHORRENT 1 stars
2/24/08 SamanthaP the clue finding was cool, but it was so obvious what was gonna happen though. 3 stars
10/15/07 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
8/22/07 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
4/12/07 Anikka Read the book...much better 1 stars
2/17/07 David Pollastrini the bad hair day code 4 stars
2/11/07 Austin Wertman To tell ya the truth, I really liked it 4 stars
1/17/07 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
12/28/06 Jennifer Raven I liked the "history" to it. acting was kind of eh, but liked it 3 stars
12/09/06 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
11/24/06 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
7/12/06 Agent Sands OK, so it's good. Now can everyone please shut the fuck up about it? 4 stars
7/07/06 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
6/26/06 Kimberly Certainly not the thriller it is made out to be. 3 stars
6/12/06 Michael Howard proves yet again why he isn't remembered at Oscar time. 2 stars
6/11/06 Monday Morning An intriguing flick not for those with short attention spans. Could be edited a bit. 4 stars
6/08/06 Beatriz it was an interesting movie apart from the controversy it has received 4 stars
6/06/06 Raven blasphemous? lol 5 stars
6/06/06 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
6/02/06 Rowsdower Better than your average thriller. Even if it's junk history, it's fun junk history. 4 stars
6/02/06 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
6/01/06 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
5/30/06 daveyt film dragged monotonously, the booked described the story better in words 2 stars
5/30/06 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
5/29/06 Scott Trash! They should have paid ME to suffer through this turkey!!! 1 stars
5/29/06 Jeff Withrow The film was good - the book was great, 4 stars
5/29/06 San Lamar its aiight 3 stars
5/29/06 millersxing Tautou and Hanks made solid choices, but neither transcends his or her role. 3 stars
5/29/06 Sean D Overhyped complete fucking shit 1 stars
5/29/06 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
5/28/06 Troy M. Grzych The pieces of the puzzle come together pretty entertainly, but there is no surprises. 4 stars
5/28/06 Charlene Javier Completely disappointing. 2 stars
5/28/06 Anthony Feor Disapointing, If you want a movie where you have to think, think twice about seeing this. 3 stars
5/27/06 ad youll be better off watching discovery channel 2 stars
5/26/06 Paterfam001@yahoo.ca Todd Laplace: it's penchant and highly-coiffed. 3 stars
5/25/06 john bale A faithful adaption of the novel, a clever but pedestrian thriller for the Thinking Man. 4 stars
5/25/06 captain craig Howard proves more is certainly NOT better 2 stars
5/25/06 dr.mendonca.correia@oninet.pt Pasolini, with 0.0000001% of this trash's budget, made the great "St. Matthew's Gospel"!... 1 stars
5/25/06 jcjs fine acting, interesting plot but something lacking.. i like the idea Jesus had manly sex 4 stars
5/25/06 Becki D I don't think the subject matter came across on screen as well as it does in the novel. 3 stars
5/24/06 Mase This is the storry that has captivated so many readers!! Not bad but little to recommend. 3 stars
5/24/06 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
5/23/06 Anthony Feor A disapointing movie with meaning 3 stars
5/23/06 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
5/22/06 Josh Standlee Not as good as I thought it would be. 3 stars
5/22/06 Maricel Padilla No Comment 3 stars
5/22/06 John Shannon Excellent adaptation. It captured the feel of the book perfectly. 5 stars
5/22/06 Frenzy Not so bad at all 4 stars
5/22/06 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
5/21/06 L. Mahaffey fiction and fiction it is! 1 stars
5/21/06 Dave Hey, i thought it was pretty good, and Tautou great. Guess I wouldn't make a good critic. 4 stars
5/21/06 Pokejedservo An intresting though not flawless film, Ian McKellan easily stole the show though. 4 stars
5/21/06 Aaron Valdes I enjoyed. It had terrific elements. 5 stars
5/21/06 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
5/20/06 doug yawn 2 stars
5/20/06 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
5/19/06 Marcia Zarwetten-Grassi Whether church is right or wrong, it's troubling that some would impose a Jesus dynasty! 4 stars
5/19/06 alien assassin The most overhyped movie event of the decade...Makes "Phantom Menace" look like LOTR 2 stars
5/19/06 San Lamar didnt live up to expectation 3 stars
5/19/06 Illumine Duh . . . 1 stars
5/19/06 Leo ZZZzzzzzzz-Boreing 1 stars
5/19/06 family medicine intern outstanding 5 stars
5/18/06 Adrian Disappointing. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-May-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Nov-2006

UK
  19-May-2006

Australia
  18-May-2006


Directed by
  Ron Howard

Written by
  Akiva Goldsman

Cast
  Tom Hanks
  Audrey Tautou
  Jean Reno
  Ian McKellen
  Paul Bettany
  Alfred Molina



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