The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
The Walking Dead
Log in with Facebook
Forgot your password?
Don't have an account? Sign up here
and the Terms and Policies,
and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango.
Already have an account? Log in here
Please enter your email address and we will email you a new password.
We want to hear what you have to say but need to verify your account. Just leave us a message here and we will work on getting you verified.
Please reference “Error Code 2121” when contacting customer service.
What makes Dan Brown's novel a best seller is evidently not present in this dull and bloated movie adaptation of The Da Vinci Code.
What makes Dan Brown's novel a best seller is evidently not present in this dull and bloated movie adaptation of The Da Vinci Code.
All Critics (224)
| Top Critics (48)
| Fresh (55)
| Rotten (169)
| DVD (19)
What seems credible on page is ludicrous in action.
Completing the trail of cryptic clues simply becomes an end in and of itself -- think Sudoku: The Movie -- with little in the way of whimsy, star chemistry or excitement to enliven the dour plod.
Even as a visual aid, The Da Vinci Code is a deep-dyed disappointment. Paris by night never looked murkier.
... a first-rate thriller ...
If only it were allowed to be merely a cheesy romp, an Indy Jones movie with more sophisticated stereotypes and far less humor. But apparently this is no mere pop novel-turned-high-hat megaplex product.
What's wrong with The Da Vinci Code can be summed up in one word: everything!
About as suspenseful and involving an affair as sitting through a two-and-a-half hour college lecture on cryptology, with a Sunday sermon thrown in for good measure.
By the end, the film degenerates into wishy-washy relativism of the school that says "the only thing that matters is what you believe", a real cop-out after the hectic Grail quest preceding it.
The exposition is actually the best and most valuable part of the film
Too meekly middlebrow to really affront
So intent on being faithful, The DaVinci Code forgets to be entertaining.
Any movie with a skulking albino assassin begs for campy, self-aware treatment, but Howard and scripter Akiva Goldsman serve it all up straight-faced.
When it comes to mysteries, it really does boil down to how interesting your film is. While The DaVinci Code is the definition of a film that you either choose to buy into or you will probably hate it, I still find that its intentions are in the right place and holds onto its audience from beginning to end. Viewing this film ten years ago upon its initial release and just now revisiting it for the first time since, I still acquired most of my sentiments. This is an overly religious film and although some may admire its acts, most of those who are not of the Catholic religion may just find it pretentious or uninteresting. Personally, I believe the film has a little for everyone. That being said, although I think The DaVinci Code tries very hard to be intriguing, it definitely is not without its major flaws.
While I have not read the source material that this film bases its premise around, I never choose to compare. A film needs to work as a film first and foremost and if it happens to be a faithful adaptation on top of that, then it just pleases more people, plain and simple. For me, even if I have read a novel, I hardly ever draw comparisons. Following a murder at the Louvre, novelist/symbologist Robert Langdon and the victim's granddaughter Sophie Neveu must uncover the clues to secrets he left behind. From secrets locked away since the birth of Christ to uncovering the lies of their past, this film sends viewers on a roller-coaster ride of intense puzzles. That being said, the film as a whole does not live up its exciting premise.
While many people may not quite fully understand what I mean by this, I can't help but call this film calming and nice to watch. There is a fine line between boring and calm, but I feel that this film walks in between those perfectly. The pacing of this film, along with the very enjoyable performances from Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, and Ian McKellan, are really something to admire here. Sadly, there are moments when these aspects tarnish themselves by focussing too much on the surreal, quickly making this film feel a little less believable than it should be. The big reveal in the final act will either have you chuckling or simply accepting it. Without getting into spoilers, there is a build-up as to who or what something is and if it even still exists. When it is revealed, it felt a little forced and the film lost me. Again, the pacing saves those aspects, due to the fact that it takes itself very seriously and the performances are believable.
Ten years ago I would have strongly advised against seeing this film in theatres, but having time pass and revisiting this film after knowing what to expect and not enjoying it very much the first time around, I have come to respect this adaptation of The DaVinci Code. It is by no means a great film in any way, but it maintains its interesting elements throughout, masking the annoying side characters, the sometimes ridiculous plot, and the over-abundance of religion. I did admire some of the clever inclusions of the Catholic religion in order to make certain scenes more interesting, but when your entire film relies on a reveal that requires its audience to have certain beliefs, the film will definitely not please all audiences, and that aspect still remains to this day. All of that said, I do feel that this film gets better on multiple viewings
The DaVinci Code still offers a generous amount of thrills and its mysterious aspects are still very enjoyable to watch. The film does get a little too self-indulgent with its beliefs, but if you are able to accept the fact that this film will not hold back, you may just find yourself enjoying it quite a bit. At 150 minutes, the film does feel its length due to its slow burn, but that is the aspect I admired most about this film. Its soothing performance from Tom Hanks, meshed with very intriguing dialogue throughout each scene when something is about to be revealed made me feel relaxed. For a specific audience, this film could possibly be the best film they have ever seen, but The DaVinci Code relies too much on that to carry the overall film. I did buy into the conclusion, but it was pretty silly. Overall, although I enjoy the film more upon each viewing, it really is nothing special in the end. It tries very hard to be great, and while certain aspects are exceptional, the film as a whole is fine. I find new things to like about this picture each time, so I may give it an even higher grade in the future.
Film adaptations of bestselling books are very often rushed, sub-par affairs. When a book becomes a bestseller, being widely advertised and talked about everywhere, the pressure is often on to make the film quickly, before the hype begins to fade and chances of a big opening weekend are dashed. Directors often react to this tight tournaround by slavishly reproducing on screen the words that are on the page, resulting in works like One Day and the first two Harry Potter films which don't use cinematic storytelling effectively to justify their stories outside of their hype.
You'd like to think that Ron Howard, one of the most successful and populist directors around, wouldn't fall into this trap. He is, after all, the man who produced a cracking drama in Apollo 13 despite sticking rigidly to the in-flight transcripts of the Apollo crew. Having turned his talents to subjects as varied as mermaids, firemen and mathematics, you wouldn't bet against him being a dab hand at the theological thriller. But whatever the appeal of its source material, The Da Vinci Code is a total clunker.
Like so many of its predecessors, any discussion of The Da Vinci Code has to begin with a dismissal of the religious hysteria surrounding it. It's certainly not the first film that's drawn the ire of the Catholic Church, and based upon said church's ridiculous response, it won't be the last. We are dealing with an organisation which stationed nuns outside screenings of The Exorcist in America, sprinkling paying punters with holy water as they went in and giving them support numbers to call on their way out.
By calling for a boycott of the film, the Catholic Church (or individuals and elements therein) played completely into the hands of both the filmmakers and the church's critics. Such a gesture, on whatever grounds, serves to paint Christians as thin-skinned sheep, seeking to shut down a debate which they should be having and encouraging. The smart thing that any Christian should have done then, and should do now, is to give the film a fair run, if only so it can prove how ridiculous it is, and then use it to start a dialogue that potentially could open up the Gospel to people for real.
The claims of Dan Brown's book have been comprehensively dispelled by numerous authors and documentary filmmakers, with even sections of the church pointing out inconsistences and misappropriations in his work. There is no evidence at all that Jesus had a physical bloodline, or for a physical relationship with Mary Magdalene, or for the existence of a Holy Grail, whether physical or conceptual. But even if any one or more of these were true, to worry obsessively over them is to miss the point, focussing on superficial matters rather than the deeper truth of Christianity.
Of course, from a filmmaking point of view, it doesn't matter in the slightest that Brown's ideas are fanciful beyond belief. Many films have used bizarre, apocryphal or just downright silly aspects of religion to tell a gripping story and often illuminate a deeper truth. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has very little basis in historical fact, but it's still a powerful statement about faith and the dangers of placing material gain before spiritual fulfillment. Likewise, The Last Temptation of Christ speculated on Jesus having sexual relationships, but it used this provocative idea to explore temptation, desire and the burden the Messiah faced during his time on Earth.
The most illuminating comparison here, however, is with The Ninth Gate, Roman Polanski's preposterous late-1990s thriller about a gateway to demonic power contained in books. While its initial premise was promising and its first ten minutes forbidding, the film quickly descended into a quagmire of plot holes and poor special effects, culminating in a totally botched ending. But while The Ninth Gate sees Polanski showing contempt for both his audience and the material, The Da Vinci Code commits the far lesser sin of well-meaning incompetence.
The first and biggest problem with The Da Vinci Code is that it treats its audience like idiots. Every single detail of the plot is spoon-fed to us as if we are incapable of joining the dots ourselves. While there is a lot of terminology to deal with, and therefore some exposition can be justified, having actors do nothing but explain the plot does not make for compelling drama. The screenplay comes from Akiva Goldsman, who did a good job on A Beautiful Mind but also wrote Batman and Robin.
A related problem is that the film takes itself far too seriously. Any theological thriller worth its salt has to acknowledge the suspension of disbelief needed to accept its ideas, or at least must offer something on a structural level to keep our attention if we can't. But while Last Crusade could be enjoyed as both a big adventure and a moral insight, The Da Vinci Code demands that you take it seriously and comes out all the more po-faced and boring as a result.
Brown did the production no favours in this regard, claiming that "all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals are accurate." Had the film taken the approach of its stars, positioning itself as a good story containing a lot of nonsense, that would have been much more appealing. Instead, the expository tone and grave delivery of the actors robs us of any thrills and reduces the whole thing down to a drudging lecture.
This drudgery is reflected in the visuals. Salvatore Totino is a workable cinematographer: he worked with Howard on The Missing and Cinderella Man prior to this, as well as shooting Any Given Sunday with Oliver Stone. But whatever sharpness and brightness he brought to those productions has been replaced here with dimly light, poorly-composed scenes where the actors and camera barely move. It's no wonder that Mark Kermode's natural response was to scream "turn the light on!" when reviewing the film on BBC Radio 5Live.
The one genuinely enjoyable scene in the film comes when Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou drop by the house of a grail expert, played by Ian McKellen. This is the one part of the film where Howard allows his actors to unspool freely and relax into the sillier aspects of the plot. While the arguments being put before us are still complete hokum, it's watchable hokum and it actually feels like the plot is going somewhere. But once that scene is over, it's back to the pompous and ill-informed conspiracies for what feels like another seven year.
The performances in The Da Vinci Code are bafflingly below-par. Even if Hanks' terrible haircut can be tolerated, he still spends most of the film stumbling from scene to scene totally confused, like it was his very first film. Tautou has none of the grace or joie de vivre that she showed in Amelie, coming across as annoying and out of her depth. Paul Bettany is wasted in a role that becomes meaningless when played dead straight, and Alfred Molina is largely phoning it in. Only Ian McKellen gets the room he needs to express himself, and we miss him whenever he's not on screen.
The Da Vinci Code is a dismal and disappointing thriller that is more insulting for its poor scripting than its theological pretentions. Howard's direction is utterly lacklustre, most of the cast seem puzzled as to why they are there, the script has very little nuance and the whole thing is far too grim and serious. If you want a serious examination of Christian theology, this is definitely not the place to come. The only thing this film can produce is boredom or unintentional hilarity.
The curator has been murdered at the Louvre in Paris. Robert (Tom Hanks) goes on an all night hunt for the truth. I loved Dan Brown's book. Slightly disappointed by this adaptation. Too short and not enough detail.
Only took me 3 years to finally get around to seeing this movie. In the end i was entertained and loved the intrigue, the fact that the church got all upset over this book just makes it worth it more. An all star cast kept the film going and Ron Howard as always gave me a solid show.
View All Quotes