The Da Vinci Code Reviews
The Da Vinci Code 2006
?? Watched 06 Sep, 2016
Yikes. What happened here, Ron Howard?
For all of the controversy surrounding Dan Brown's 2003 best-selling novel, The Da Vinci Code has all the makings for an intriguing film: a continent-trotting mystery story involving a mysterious murder, a search for the true Holy Grail, and a potential secrecy around the lives of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene. Pair that with an Oscar winning screenwriter, a talented cast, and a solid director, and you have the potential for a fascinating film.
The problem with The Da Vinci Code is the presentation of all of these elements. The film is simply a bore, and makes no effort to make this adventure even remotely fun. Movies like this don't need to be fun per se, but the fact that director Ron Howard and writer Akiva Goldsman take this material so seriously (when the material is actually quite absurd) is a decision that hampers the film. Where a film like National Treasure embraces its absurdity and delivers an enjoyable time, The Da Vinci Code's refusal to infuse any charm into this story results in a product that is little more than a vessel for exposition about a crazy conspiracy.
It's strange that this comes from Ron Howard, who has proven how great of a director he can be in the past. The emotional impact of many of Howard's past efforts is hardly present here, leaving a cold shell of one of those films instead. Howard once again reteams with Tom Hanks, but somehow turns one of the most charming and charismatic actors alive into a dour character with no semblance of charm, let alone character development. The rest of the talented cast, including Audrey Tautou, Alfred Molina, Jean Reno, and Paul Bettany, are all wasted as well, and never given any moments to prove their talents. The only remotely enjoyable performance is Ian McKellan's turn as a Holy Grail enthusiast which contains some of the film's only scenes of vibrance. The other savior is Hans Zimmer's beautiful score; it's too bad it had to be used in such a downer of a movie.