I have never read The Da Vinci Code; rather, I listened to the audio book. I found Dan Brown’s writing to be so remedial and dull that the story – which in itself is an alright tale with interesting back-story ideas and theories – just dragged on. The ending isn’t really much of a shocker, and in fact could be argued to be rather anti-climactic. After the negative reception that the feature film adaptation received at the Cannes Film Festival last week, I was curious if it was because those secular Frenchies hadn’t read the book, or because they find anything involving Jesus to be a source of ridicule.
I think it was both, as I found out tonight when I finally saw the film. Why I didn’t see it earlier this week was due to Sony publicity basically deciding to only screen the film for “reviewing press”, since it’s an “atypical film” (whatever that means). So, lucky for me, the Producers Guild stepped in, and saved me the cost of a ticket. (Unlike, say, Fox, who isn’t screening X-Men: The Last Stand for ANY press.)
The movie is a rather faithful adaptation of the novel. It’s a bit talky at times, and might slow down, but I never found it boring nor pretentious. It certainly posed some interesting theories (as did the book) about the nature of Jesus and Mary Magdalene’s relationship, but – as many people who are protesting the film seem to forget – it’s fiction.
Tom Hanks is Robert Langdon, the symbolism professor who is pulled into a murder mystery that ends up being a hunt for the Holy Grail. He does an adequate job, but the only real standouts (acting wise) in the film are Iam McKellan as the ultimate Grail fanatic, and Paul Bettany as an albino monk assassin. Another standout is the music – Hans Zimmer did a wonderful job with this score, which is heavily classical in tone, and the choir adds the necessary touch of religioso. It’s a great album, too – certainly a contended for “Best of 2006”!
The Da Vinci Code held no surprises for me, as a film. Most likely it was because I had listened to the audiobook. But it’s still a rather solid film, competently done – as is the case with most of Ron Howard’s films, and I can certainly recommend it if you’re interested in a mystery movie with religious aspects.