CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,
CinemaDave
cinemadave

"The Da Vinci Code" is o.k., not bad, not great...

“The Da Vinci Code” went on to make nearly 80 million
dollars for it's opening weekend and has already made
more money than the combined gross of the two most
recent Oscar winning films for Best Picture. This is
an incredible box office gross because the
pre publicity controversy of author Dan Brown's book
had already revealed the big mystery of “The Da Vinci Code.”
With the big mystery unveiled, all that
was left to this thriller are the cat and mouse chases
between the good guy us and the bad guys. Of course,
some good guys might be bad guys and the bad guys
could be good guys depending on where you are in the
story.

While Professor of Religious symbology Robert Langdon
(Tom Hanks) lectures on the interpretation of
symbols, an old man is shot to death by Silas (Paul
Bettany), the maddest monk since Rasputin. Professor
Langdon is called to investigate the murder when it is
revealed that the corpse is found nude, spread eagle
with Satanic symbolism written in blood. Professor
Langdon determines that this satanic symbolism is
actually symbols from a pre Christian culture.
When Inspector Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) enters the scene,
she warns Langdon that his life is in danger and that he
may be framed for the murder of the old man, who
happens to be a relative of Inspector Neveu.

As Langdon and Neveu flee Paris, Silas is in hot
pursuit with connections to a corrupt Arch Bishop
(Alfred Molina) and a pit bull of a chief inspector,
Fache (Jean Reno). Through car chases, truck chases
and magical slight of hand, Langdon seeks advice from
an old mentor and Da Vinci scholar, Sir Teabing (Ian
Mckellan), a man who confirms that Langdon is actually
looking for the Holy Grail. In this case, the Holy
Grail is not the mere cup of the carpenter, but
something more pragmatic.

With unintentional echoes from “Indiana Jones and the
Last Crusade” and “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,”
“The DaVinci Code' does work as a though provoking
scholarly pursuit movie. Given his success with “A
Beautiful Mind,” Ron Howard incorporates many of the
previous film’s successful visual techniques to better
communicate complicated information. “The Da Vinci Code” shines
in these moments of detailed exposition.

If Dan Brown had not included the Christian Mystery to
“The DaVinci Code,” this movie would have been
regarded as a routine thriller in the vein of Ian
Fleming, James Patterson and Tom Clancy. Given the
clouds of controversy and hype, “The Da Vinci Code”
is a film that may be better appreciated years
from now.

One scene not in the book, screenwriter
Akiva Goldsman has extended an olive branch to people
who could have been offended by the potentially
heretical theory of “The Da Vinci Code.” It is a
quiet scene between Hanks and Tautou in the
countryside that discusses the simple importance of
faith. While not widely hyped by the mainstream
media, this one scene may have generated more positive
word of mouth for “The DaVinci Code” because the scene
talks about hope, faith and charity.

Theories are for one's head. In this age of
information implosion, one has to trust their heart to
sort out these theological theories that are not
necessarily Gospel. For purely entertainment purposes,
“The DaVinci Code” is an entertaining motion picture that
may be best view on DVD some slow afternoon. I can’t
wait for the extras to this DVD.
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