[from May 19, 2006]
Let me preface this by saying that I have not read the novel on which it is based. I have no intention of getting into the contents of the story or the attending controversy. What follows is simply my view of the film itself.
The Da Vinci Code
Meh, whatever. As a film, it's rather unimpressive and dull. In serving the intricate plot, the director, writer, and actors all but abandoned any humanity or soul it might have had. Maybe the novel didn't have much to begin with - I have no idea - but I don't think that's an excuse.
Ian McKellen makes his scenes interesting because of his amazing voice and delivery, but he's stuck with almost nothing but exposition. Everyone in the film is stuck with mostly exposition. Well, that's not true. Paul Bettany (as the monk Silas) has some great moments - GAH! The self-flagellation scene! - but they kind of get lost in all the blahblahcrypticblahblahcluesblah. He does get the best scare of the movie, though. Audrey Tautou looks like an arthouse actress who got lost on the way to the market and ended up on the set of a blockbuster - i.e., she seems totally out of place. And I don't think I've ever been more underwhelmed by Tom Hanks.
Akiva Goldsman - I know you're an Oscar-winning screenwriter, but it does not show here. I'm sure you did a great job of condensing the novel, but I felt nothing for the characters, I winced at several lines of dialogue, and I saw the identity of you-know-what coming a mile away. For shame. I wouldn't be so disappointed if I didn't know you could do better.
I have no doubt this will be the numero uno movie this weekend and maybe the next. But I can't see it as a big "repeat viewing" movie. Maybe it will be a conversation starter - for me and those two other people who haven't read the book. But all controversies aside, it's fairly forgettable.