Not that I’ve been big on writing movie reviews on this site, but as I walked away from The Da Vinci Code I had a few thoughts, so here goes a little sharing of them. This review has nothing to do with the controversial religious suggestions that are made in it. The only thing I’ll say regarding that is – to anyone who has a problem, this is fiction, so get over it!
I guess I can start by breaking down what was right and what was wrong with the movie. First, what was wrong. I thought Tom Hanks was poorly cast as Robert Langdon. He wasn’t terrible, but he was pretty drab. I almost felt like he was knew it wasn’t a good fit and he was uncomfortable, so he just played it safe. Hanks has pulled off a variety of characters amazingly, in some cases where I didn’t think it would work. I think he is really at his best though when he plays the loveable, heart-warming, average guy hero. In movies like Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Cast Away, etc, he reigns supreme. I think choosing Tom Hanks for this intellectual symbologist character was a bad move though. It just didn’t do that much for me. Not to mention the hair style he used for the movie has to go, although I did adapt to it as the movie went on. I’m thinking if they had to go the mega-star route, maybe somebody like Harrison Ford would have fit the bill a little better.
The other thing that was wrong with the movie was I felt if you didn’t read the book or have at least have some background on it the movie might have been tough to follow. I read the book so I was fine.
As for what was right, and there were several things, I’ll start with the Sophie Neveu character. Audrey Tautou, was a perfect fit in this role, not to mention cute. Whether she was feisty cop or damsel in distress, she provided some spark. Also, during the driving around Paris, the view of her eyes in the rearview mirror really highlighted her beauty.
Actually, now that I think about it. all the actors really worked in their roles, with the exception of Hanks. Ian McKellen, was great as the Holy Grail fanatic. Then again I don’t think he could possibly be bad in any role. Paul Bettany totally nailed Silas, the albino. He played “torture boy” with just the right amount of intensity and exactly matched the vision I had of this character from reading the book.
The handling of the historical background stories are also done very well. Flashbacks of ghosts of the past were used frequently to enhance stories that were told to lay the foundation for what was about to happen. I wondered how they would do this without being too lengthy and boring. In the book they would sometimes go on for a while. This method worked well. It was at its best when Langdon and Neveu are arriving at Westminster Abbey amidst a sea of royal phantoms.
Lastly, for those who like a movie that stays faithful to a book, you will be happy. This movie probably parallels the book more closely than any that I can ever recall.
Overall I enjoyed seeing this book that I somewhat liked put on the big screen, but it might not be for everyone.