Worried about folks seeing the Da Vinci Code? Don’t. They won’t be able to make it all the way through. And if they could, they’d be so mind-numbed by the end, they’d be begging for an exciting chance to watch water seep into brick!
My review of this yawn-inspiring film is just a click away.
I just this very moment got back from the theatre. My pic? What else? The Da Vinci Code. And Ive got two words for this film: STINK – ER!. Whoo-whee was this bad. And I, my friends, am a cinemaphile. It takes a LOT to make me dis a movie outright. I even enjoy some perverse delight in bad movies per se. Theyre usually fun on some level. But this one (and I am REALLY sad to say this) ranks right about up there with my all time worst on the Stink-o-Meter Vanilla Sky. Seriously do not even SAY the title Vanilla Sky in front of me, I break out in a rash. And this from a guy who LOVED Buckaroo Bonsai.
Now, I know this gal who shall remain nameless because I dont want to get her in trouble – but she is smart, talented, really beautiful and gets me my movie tickets free. Ive known her for years and somebody REALLY needs to marry this gal. If you are looking, let me know, Ill think about setting you up. She is a gem. I mention her only to say that if she had not gotten me a free pass I WOULD HAVE FELT SO RIPPED OFF PAYING TO SEE THIS PIECE OF FLOTSAM!
OK, lets take it from the top. Those of you who care will recall that I actually liked the Da Vinci Code as a book. The reason why I liked it was because of my personal taste for the absurd. I like it in humor: ala Monty Python and others of that ilk; Science Fiction and other genres. I am willing to suspend my disbelief to be entertained. And in this, you have to screw that ability up to the maximum power but it CAN be done. Thats what I did with the book. It is SO absurd, you just totally suspend all of your disbelief and just plunge into the ride. It can be great fun. You just forget about the absurdity of the story itself for the fun of the story-telling. I saw it as complete fiction without the slightest hint of anything credible about it, and had fun. Many have called it blasphemy, but that is to elevate it too high. Its too stupid to be blasphemous. Another one of the reasons I liked it so much, is because I thought it would make a rollicking good movie. And there is no doubt in my mind at all this could still be the case.
However, in order to make this into a good (read even passable movie) wed have to change up a couple of things. Here is my list of absolutely necessary non-negotiable changes.
A different Director. Sorry Ron, I usually love your work, this aint even close to good. This story needs the kind of director who can make an action film with that wry sense of humor always coloring the background. This is dark for no reason. The action is mere movement. It desperately needed a dash of Indiana Jones and instead it lumbered ponderously and melodramatically.
A different cast this part was MADE to be done by Jeff Goldblum, reprising something similar to his role in Independence Day, or Jurassic Park. Hanks was positively atrocious. Really, Ive seen more lively acting at a Madame Tussauds exhibit. He was taking himself WAY too seriously, and it just came off as aloof. He went through the motions, and those were poorly executed. His character (and thus I suspect himself) didnt have a clue. There was no sympathy with the story. Will Smith would have been an inventive and fun choice. Nope, we get Tom, and here, revealing for the first time, that acting skill we all ignored in Castaway, where he played the dual roles of both Chuck Noland AND Wilson. Come to think of it, this is just LIKE his Wilson character.
Audrey Tautou as Sophie Neveu. Nice kid. Pretty. Great in Amilee. Here, playing the role of a deer caught in the headlights. Mildly animated but clueless. I dont think ANYBODY in this film got ANY direction. Better choice (along with Jeff Goldblum?) Anne Parrilaud. Age would have been a factor but she can REALLY act. This role needs plucky. It got sucky.
The flawless Jean Reno as Captain Fache was just plain wasted.
Alfred Molina (Bishop Aringarosa) was reprising a more finely attired version of his role from Spiderman. This I chalk up to lack of direction. Im sure he could have done more with someone else at the helm. None of the imperious dark depth the books character ought to have had.
Ian McKellan as Sir Leigh Teabing was seedy from the get-go. Theres no surprise when he turns. You see it coming a mile off. Better choice? Michael Gough (four time Alfred in the Batman movies) or who would have been a positive hoot would have been Peter Ustinov you needed his sprightly and impish abilities. In fact, though Mr. Ustinov is deceased, I still think he would have done better than McKellan.
Paul Bettany as the Albino Opus Dei Monk we most like to hate wasnt bad. He needed more development, but served the part well for what they gave him. I would have preferred (and this is out there cause this guy cant act) Christopher Lambert. His nasally French accent that always reminds of Peter Lorre on steroids would have been great fun. Come to think of it, Robert Patrick (bad cyborg in Terminator 2) Brian Dennehy or Gary Busey would have all knocked this out of the park.
Pacing: Plodding, trudging, confusing, careless, boring. And those were its good qualities. This movie gives plodding (which can be endearing at times) a bad name. Look, I LIKE movies. I started to yawn. And I REALLY wanted to be there. It just has no ability to grab let alone hold a viewer. The scenes in fact seemed unconnected to one another. Same people, different places, but no impact.
Cinematography. Dark. Crummy. And what an absolute WASTE of Paris. One of the most beautiful and intriguing cites in the world, and you get no taste of it at all. Nothing of the grandeur of the buildings both in France and England. It might as well have been completely shot on a sound stage with cardboard cut-outs.
Oh, I really liked Jean-Yves Berteloot as Remy Jean.
The single best acted scene in the entire movie, is the acting done by Marie-Franoise Audollent (Sister Sandrine) when Silas swats her like a fly. THAT woman can drop like a stone! Great job!
I must mention chemistry. Hanks related to Tautou like she was a kid sister with cooties. Seriously.
And the ending. Excruciating. Tom kneeling over the inverted glass pyramid at the Louvre as he finds his faith now in the fact he knows all that has ever supposedly been true about his faith is a lie it is just plain laughable. You couldnt make that stretch if you had a narrator explaining it to you.
For those Christians out there who were all up in arms one of the greatest favors they did for us, was making a movie that made such buffoonery out of the book, that it is painful to watch.
So now I have to take back everything I said above. Because of director, cast, pacing, chemistry, etc they made the single worst movie they could have, if they wanted to give the book any credibility whatsoever.
Great job guys! We thank you!
Thanks for the entertaining review. (I ought to send YOU the money saved by not going to see “The DaVinci Code!”) I too enjoyed the book, so going to see the movie might ruin it for me. Instead of wasting time and money at the theater this weekend, I’ll just stay home and watch an old video of “Black Beard’s Ghost!”
Hmmmm? A beautiful movie ticket giver? I’m game.
Is she into mildly calvinistic, non-postmodern, premodern, a little
crazy, wanna be theological philosopher seminarians?
Great review Reid!
-Kerry B Colling
AHuman – Black Beard’s Ghost – now at least THAT’S a movie. I never thought anybody could rival Keanu Reeves knack for looking bewildered for extended periods of time – but Hanks has done it!
Kerry – Good to hear from you! Stop by and maybe I’ll pass on your name! 🙂