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STUDIO: Sony Home Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 149 Minutes
- Uncover the symbols of the Da Vinci Code
- First Day on Set
- A Conversation with Dan Brown
- A Portrait of Langdon
- 10 Featurettes in Total
Albinos are pissed! Scholars are dying! There’s all sorts of religious conspiracy about! Who will grow their hair out and save us from it all?
Tom Hanks. Audrey Tatou. Sir Ian McKellan. Paul Bettany. Alfred Molina. Jean Reno.
Size be damned, he was going to show Christ how much he loved him on this night…
Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code isn’t the dumbest book ever. That distinction goes to the Robert Vaughn biography penned by John B. Murray (who will Google his name and find this and begin a hate crusade that results in him delivering his Lorenzo Lamas bio a week late). It’s not even dumb. A lot of research went into it and there’s plenty of big suspense moments. It’s not a very good book, but the dumb aspect is the people who bought it and read it thinking they were elevating their literary palate when in fact they were simply contributing to the pool of cess. Hey, we all have our stepping stones. I had to read Superfudge to understand the reluctant vaginal holocausts of Wifey. Before I could swing Crisis in the Hot Zone I had to peruse The Black Vomit for Dummies. This thing just got out of hand, that’s all.
Thankfully, we have Tom Hanks and Ron Howard to come make sense of the thing. Or not.
"Shit, I left my script in the trailer." ……"You won’t be needing it mon frere."
Opus Dei is not only the unofficial Bloom County fanclub, it’s also a somewhat mysterious religious order affiliated with Catholicism. In The Da Vinci Code the order is up to some sort of shady business, the kind of business that involves pale men killing folks in order to find a key to the great secret at the core of the film. Hint: It involves the Mona Lisa and other stuff.
I’m going to assume most folks are aware of the generalities of the film so I can proceed forward and crack jokes…
"Excuse me, I am lost. In a theatrical motion picture."
The best way to enjoy The Da Vinci Code is as a bloated Hollywood piece of entertainment. It’s not as recklessly entertaining as something like National Treasure or as intricate as folks who praised the book would have you believe. It’s just a flick that tries to use its 150 minutes best represent its source material. For better or worse.
The story begins as a man named Jacques Saunière (French for ‘Plot Device’) is killed in the Louvre by Paul Bettany’s albino monk, Silas. Searching for what he calls "The Keystone", the zealous maniac believes he has dispatched the last protector of a great secret that threatens his order. He celebrates this by beating the living shit out of himself. The technical term for such is ‘pulverizing the dick out of your person’. Much to his chagrin, the legacy lives on as Jacques has used his dying breaths not a chance to ponder mortality but to construct an elaborate death puzzle for American scholar Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) to solve and save us all from… knowledge.
The film boasts the distinction of being the first major production to film in the legendary Paris museum, an honor which really should have been bestowed on Gotcha.
This is something that really gets at the parts of my brain I use for thought. This Silas character is as devout as the day is long and his entire existence hinges on how well he kicks the ass of ol’ Jacques. He wakes up itching to kill the man. He finally finds his quarry and shoots him. Once. The security system of the Louvre kicks in and bars separate them. He calls it a day and takes his alabaster buttocks home! Not a few more shots to ensure victory for the home team. He doesn’t hang around to make sure the guy has a splendid death rattle. Not Silas, he has to hustle home so he can smack himself around a little. Yeah, he might get caught but what is more honorable than dying for what you believe? As a result, the gutshot Frenchman gets to do arts and crafts in the Louvre for a while.
Then there’s the victim. I don’t know, perhaps he might have been a little more to the point. Instead of leaving little codes and messages and stripping down to his bare ass he might have considered writing a note that explained it all. What if Robert Langdon decided to catch the twilight show of Flight of the Intruder and head back to the states? What if the well-coiffed American looks at the corpse and says "That’s odd" and puts on his hat and grabs dinner? The film might have been quicker if that were the case.
Other puzzles pissed themselves in awe of the work of Rubik.
With disbelief suspended I trudge further.
Langdon’s doe-eyed tour guide arrives in the form of delectable Parisian Audrey Tatou as Sophie Neveau, the granddaughter of the deceased. She brings him up to speed, makes him a fugitive, and doesn’t even have the courtesy to throw him a bang for his troubles. With Langdon’s intricate knowledge of the Feminine Goddess and other stuff that keeps Graham Hancock in business and Neveau’s direct connection to the conspiracy in place, the race is afoot.
In all honestly, the film isn’t an affront to man and science. It’s just burdened by being contextually a stone’s throw from utter grime like the Left Behind stuff and The Omega Code. With a defter hand it could have been the "thinking person’s Indiana Jones" film. Instead its the "thinking person’s pisser offer". You see these talented people moving through the storyline as if it were some CD-ROM adventure we already have played uttering lines like "I’ve got to get to a library… Fast!" and any real hope you’d have for a classy thriller goes by the wayside.
This doesn’t feel like a Ron Howard film aside from its A-List production value. This doesn’t feel like a Tom Hanks film aside from the familiar face under the funky hair. It’s a blockbuster film that feels like it was made literally by some sort of template that’d come equipped with Final Draft Unleaded or Final Cut: The Renegade Edition.
I knew Tom put on some weight, but Jesus.
The problem is that religious themed mysteries are cool. They’re invigorating. Until mankind finds out the truth (we were deposited here by Mantis Aliens), this kind of stuff is engaging as it gets. Vatican conspiracies and differing views on what it all means and Holy Grails and all that business should be so easy to nail cinematically that there was always this hope that somehow A-List Hollywood talent could override B-List literary entertainment.
It did not. That said, the DVD begins with a really rudimentary Angels & Demons film teaser so maybe the second time is the charm. Until then, this one’s a quacker.
I almost wish that Dan Brown came off as a pompous ass in the special features here. it’d make it so much easier to wish ill upon him. Sadly, he comes off as a pretty laid back self-effacing guy. There’s a little conversation with the author here where he sets up the scene as well as mention his other works [I’ve been told that Angels & Demons is a better work] and he seems like a well-intentioned sort. He has his niche and it is small, but most of us try too hard to be diverse and it kicks us in the mouthful.
There’s a handful of decent featurettes here, all of which convey the filmmaking to be noble and exciting and it’s hard to find fault in the motives and abilities of the principles. There’s also a little trivia here and there, but I’ve been seeing a lot of commercials geared around how the DVD peels back the veneer and shows us how densely populated with hidden imagery the film is. Don’t believe the hype. It’s not quite as elaborate as you’d expect. it’s certainly a neat curiosity, but it’s obviously geared towards the people who are casual filmgoers and not folks like yourself.
Still, it’s not a bad set of features for a reasonably priced DVD.
5.5 out of 10