It Should Have Been Better!!!
May 19, 2006
Review by Michelle Chelledun
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Beautiful setting, intriguing story, some good casting choices
Cons:Miscast Tom Hanks, lacks a sense of urgency, too much backstory
The Bottom Line: I wasn't so impressed, but you should see it and make up your own mind.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Recommend this product?
I have been sooo pumped about the release about The Da Vinci Code. No, I havent read the book, but the movie had a really fabulous trailer and the plot intrigued me. While I will admit I was relatively entertained during the film, quite a few things about this movie annoyed me and it really should have been done much better.
Tom Hanks stars as Robert Langdon, a professor and expert on religious symbols. He is immediately alerted of a murder which occurred in the Louvre. The murder victim has left clues which may lead to an important secret of the Christian religion. Langdon teams up with Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tatou), a French government agent, in an attempt to solve the mystery behind the clues. The result is an all-out search to find the Holy Grail and repeated conflict with Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic group determined to keep the secret hidden forever.
What I Liked
I appreciate a movie that makes me think, and Da Vinci code kept me trying to guess where the clues lead. It is honestly tough to tell who the good guys or the bad guys are, and I was unable to guess a couple of major plot twists. Surprise is always good in an action movie like this one. Part of the reason it is tough to tell what is going to happen is that most of the characters are relatively complex. Most of the characters genuinely believe they are doing the right thing in serving God or seeking knowledge. Even after the film is over I am still pondering the different characters.
I dont have a lot of complaints with the Da Vinci Codes visuals. The Paris and London settings used in the film are great, especially the Louvre. I always love seeing places I have been in movies and I think the Parisian street shots helped to give the film a sense of place and a unique feel.
Some of the acting is very good. Paul Bettany is downright creepy as Silas, the misguided Opus Dei monk. The look in his eyes gave me the shivers whenever he was onscreen. Ian McKellen offers a convincing performance as Sir Leigh Teabing, an eccentric grail scholar. I had few qualms with the female lead, Audrey Tautou. She is pretty with a charming accent. While she may not knock your socks off with her acting ability, she is perfectly adequate for the role.
What I Didnt Like
I would like to join the chorus of critics who are complaining about the miscasting of Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon. Dont get me wrong, I like Tom Hanks. I think he seems like a nice guy and he can be excellent in the right role. What he lacks here, though, is a sense of urgency and intensity. When he speaks with the other characters, he seems like a jovial father at a childs birthday party, not an intense academic scholar on the run for his life. Hanks speaks very, very slowly, even while he should darn well know that his enemies are closing in. It made me extremely frustrating.
What Hanks does in his plodding delivery is exacerbate the pacing problems that already exist in this film. The core story of the grail mystery is great and the filmmakers should have stuck with that. Unfortunately, we have to get loads of background on each of the characters in the form of flashbacks. In the original book where there is plenty of room to develop characters, Langdons struggle with claustrophobia may have been interesting. In a film, however, it is irrelevant and boring. Similar stories are given to Silas and Sophie and very little of the information presented is necessary to advance the film. Flashback form is also used when the legend of the grail is being discussed. I would be interested to see how much tighter the movie would be if all the flashback material was cut out. It really did bog the movie down and I found myself getting fidgety.
Additionally, The Da Vinci Code suffers from what I like to call Lord of the Rings: Return of the King Syndrome. It has three endings. After the second one I was thinking, please, end! Nothing good comes from dragging a film out too long.
Im relatively disappointed, because the basic premise is great. The Da Vinci Codes trailer was intense, exciting, and action-packed. Unfortunately, the film gets bogged down in too much backstory. Hanks was an unfortunate choice as a male lead and really negatively affected my enjoyment of the film. However, the film is relatively entertaining and not a bad summer popcorn flick. Im going to go with a rating of 3.5 stars. I will round down to three, however, because this really should have been so much better.
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