22 May 2006

The DaVinci Code

Da Vinci not Da Bomb

I hate to have to preface this movie as I did my last review, but I feel I must let you know, I read the book before seeing the movie. With that said, here we go.

Where to begin with this movie is hard to decide. I am having a hard time finding something good about this movie. I got it! The previews were great. The Casino Royale, 21st Bond movie if you don't know, and Miami Vice were the preshow entertainment, and sadly, the only entertainment.

This movie had a budget in excess of $125 million. With all that, they could not have found the money to make Silas's eyes red? It was all over the book about how he was creepy with his red eyes. Unfogivable.

Akiva Goldsman, Academy Award winner for A Beautiful Mind, wrote a script based on a well-written book. Why not use the lines in the book? Something that flowed? I do have a grudge against him though, he wrote Batman & Robin, which killed the franchise until a real writer, Christopher Nolan, revived it years later. So, maybe I just look for reasons to hate him. Yet, he also did not follow the story layed out in the book. Unforgivable.

Ron Howard, Academy Award winner for A Beautiful Mind as well, is a decent director. I read a review on www.pajiba.com that stated that he has no gimmic, no Howard signature thing. I guess that it why I like him. He does not have the crane shot (Fincher) or the doves (Woo). But I was deeply saddened that his brother Clint was not in this film. With the mood that this movie failed to decide on, Clint could not have hurt it.

Tom Hanks, Academy Award winner for multiple roles, really did not portray Langdon as he was in the book. I stomached him, but was not impressed. He was not as bad as some say he was.

Ian McKellen, Academt Award nominee for LOTR: FOTR, should stick to Magneto and Gandolf. He again was OK, but should have been much better.

Finally, Paul Bettany, snubbed for an Oscar in A Knight's Tale, I know I stand alone on that thought, was a shimmering hope in this film. I am just horrified about his blue eyes.

Now, on to the movie. The plot from the book is basically there. I say basically because so much was changed that it hurt. They took out all the decoding of the messages. They messed with the heritage of the female lead. The added plots that weren't in the book with Fache and the Bishop. So much was brutalized, that the basics were the only thing left to see. They made Sophie a useless side character. In the books, she is the brains of most of the code breaking. Langdon himself was dumbed down for the film. As said on Pajiba, they made the female lead useless and a sex object in a movie about the Sacred Femenine. Ironic? I think so. So much time was wasted on watching "flashbacks" that didn't need to be flashbacks. So much of the budget seemed to be wasted there, too. The flashback visuals added nothing to the movie but $$$.

So much of the deeply layered plot was left out that the movie became more "religious" than the book ever was. When I finished the book, I could not understand what the religious groups were upset about. I am a religious person, and I was not offended. The book's theory about Christ is based on a bunch of "facts" that cannot be proved. The Last Supper painting "fact" is based on somebody restoring the painting and taking Magdelene out of it. Can anyone prove it? I don't know. I have never heard that before, so, therefore, I call the book fiction, and good fiction at that. The book was an exciting, quick, entertaining read. The movie was not exciting, slow, and not that entertaining.

The music in the movie, by Hans Zimmer, snubbed for an Oscar for Gladiator and at least a nomination for The Last Samurai, was overpowering at parts. It helped set the mood in some scenes and hurt it in others.

My last point in this review that seems to have turned into a ramble, is that there is more humor in this movie than in the book. I think this is where the movie hurts itself. The pace was slow enough, the humor only slowed it more. One good humorous part was when Sophie tried to walk on water. That was a good laugh.

Two and half hours after it started, it finally ended.

Verdict: I would advise again, as I often have here of late, rent this movie and watch it in the privacy of your own home.

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