Has some entertaining value with obvious flaws.
filmfan09 - wrote on 05/16/09
The Da Vinci Code is nothing more than a murder mystery that's preposterous, overlong and saddled with a disappointing conclusion that defines the word "anticlimax". I avoided reading Dan Brown's novel before seeing the movie (and don't intend to read it now that I have sat through this adaptation).
I presume the book is more exciting than the movie. The Da Vinci Code is a mediocre thriller, with too few thrills and too much predictable action.
Around the two-hour mark of the film, the crime is essentially resolved. Thus leaving the movie about 30 minutes to lead to a needlessly long and predictable conclusion. The dialogue scenes of the film are more interesting than the action ones, because when it comes to explaining the conspiracy, The Da Vinci Code does an impressive job of blending fact, speculation, and pure fiction into a mix that is intriguing even though it's bizarre.
The scenes that really stand out are the ones which director Ron Howard show off his skills as a visual director. When we first meet Professor Robert Langdon, he's lecturing on the meaning of symbols. The clip Howard provides of this speech is amazing. Also compelling is Leigh Teabing's dissection of "The Last Supper" and his explanation of the Holy Grail. And the way Langdon's visualization of Issac Newton's tomb is employed to break a code is also creative.
The movie features an incredible cast headlined by A-list star Tom Hanks, the beautiful Audrey Tautou (Amelie), and everyone's favorite mutant or wizard Ian McKellan. They all do the best jobs they can with paper-thin characters. No one is given much of an opportunity to stand out. Paul Bettany as the murderous albino is never truly frightening. The chemistry between Hanks and Tautou is lukewarm at best. If there's anything other than mild attraction between them, it doesn't come across as such.
The humdrum story does not warrant the film's epic length. Two-and-one-half hour movies are supposed to be something special. The muddled ending is part of the problem, also is the "treasure hunt" aspect of the journey. It becomes tiresome when breaking a code or solving a puzzle merely uncovers another puzzle or code. Maybe it's fun to take part in the game with the characters in a book, but the movie experience isn't interesting. Still The Da Vinci Code improves on this aspect than the movie National Treasure.
In terms of its appeal, it's a relatively mindless affair that offers equal portions of entertainment value while displaying obvious flaws.