FILM RATING: 3 stars
The Da Vinci Code (2006) is a very interesting story and idea. But I’m not sure the film was executed as well as it could have been. Director Ron Howard just wasn’t able to capture me in his storytelling quite as well as he usually does. I haven’t read the book, so I had no bias or expectations for the film, other than I had heard mixed reviews of it over the years and wanted to see it so I could see what all the fuss was about. I actually watched Angels & Demons (2009) before seeing The Da Vinci Code, and my review here of The Da Vinci Code pretty much applies to that film as well. I give both films 3 stars out of 5. They are both worthy of viewing once, but I’m not sure there’s much that would compel me to watch them again beyond that.
I’m not going to bore you with a synopsis of the film’s story since you’re probably aware of it from reading the book or seeing the film. Plus the plot is one of the main problems with the movie as I see it. I really don’t want to waste my time trying to rehash it or understand it since it didn’t do much for me. Read Roger Ebert’s review if you want more detail and another opinion on this film. While Ebert gives this film higher praise than I think it deserves, I do agree that Ron Howard and his team bring their incredible filmmaking craft to this story and they do their best to make the movie compelling on a cinematic level. I just wish there was a little more tightness in the editing and storytelling that would help the pacing and action of the film move along more like The Bourne movies.
The acting by Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen and the rest of the ensemble is good. But it all felt a little too stiff and staged to me. There are some really good scenes in The Da Vinci Code, but there is a lot of filler too. I just kept looking at my watch while viewing the extended cut blu-ray version. This is one film that didn’t need to be extended. The “thriller” aspect that was supposed to be what moved this film forward, just wasn’t thrilling enough. And I’m at a loss as to why.
The film looked spectacular on bluray, with excellent cinematography and production design. And Hans Zimmer created a perfect score for the film, culminating with his top notch track “Chevaliers de Sangreal” for the final scene. I listen to that track all the time now, and it has become one of my favorite pieces of Zimmer’s music. I think the best part of The Da Vinci Code is the final scene with Hanks following clues around Paris to his final mysterious discovery. The editing of that scene is fantastic and Zimmer’s music makes it all work. I just wish that the magic that’s in that final scene was in the rest of the movie. If I do watch The Da Vinci Code again, it will be because of those final few minutes. Sometimes a second viewing of a film with a complex and “absurd” mystery plot like this one can make the film better. Maybe in a few years I’ll watch both The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons with a new appreciation…you never know!