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The Da Vinci Code


From Dan Brown's bestseller: Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is a "professor of symbiology" who is accused of murdering the Louvre's curator. On the run with the curator's granddaughter/cop, he tries to solve a series of puzzles which lead to a 2,000 year old cover-up by the Catholic Church.

I could go on with the synopsis, but do I really need to? You've already either heard the plot, read the book, or live in a cave.

What I Thought

Hello my little precious chickadees! Yes, it is I, set free (temporarily, thanks MasterCard!) from the budget bondage of a new apartment. Free, that is, until my next extortion, I mean "bill", from my general contractor...

Props should be given to all those of you who helped out with my mortgage in order to allow me to bring you my scintillating reviews. At the rate your help is coming in, I'll be able to next go to the movies in only six more years! Of course, some say even that is too soon, but everyone has their critics.

Yes, let's talk about critics, my little Brussel sprouts. Every review I've read of the Da Vinci Code has been quite atrocious, and I am here to stand up and say: Nay! 'Twas not that bad at all!

The reviews have been so bad that (now that I've seen the movie) I'm beginning to see conspiracy theories every time Ebert and that other guy do anything with their thumbs.

So, let's leave aside the fact (yes, my opinion is fact--deal.) that the book is utter crap. The bland characterization, the hokey transitions from scene to scene, the blatant pandering to both movie producers and the computer gaming industry, and the lazy lazy lazy writing (why else describe the main character as a "Harrison Ford" and Teabing as an "Elton John"? Can't you umm, I dunno, come up with something better than default stereotypes for adventure-professors and English knights?)

Yes I read the whole book. Yes I couldn't put it down just like a mild case of herpes (not that I'd know). And yes, it is indeed a "page turner", but that doesn't mean it's not crap.

But let's put that all aside. After all, it's still a fun pulpy mess with a fun and pulpy conspiracy theory. And now a big movie with Tom Hanks.

Staying quite faithful to the book (except for oddly making Langdon claustrophobic, presumably someone who should be comfortable w/ tight archaeological situations), the movie is rather well-made. Let me go through the pluses:

1) Sir Ian McKellen. He rocks. Totally rocks. I mean, like, totally. He is my Gandalf, my Magneto, my James Whale, and now my Leigh Teabing. He made every scene sparkle. He is the wind beneath its wings. The stars in its sky. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but he was by far the highlight of this movie.

2) It was quite fun "seeing" the book. The Louvre, the little puzzles, the flashbacks, the church where Isaac Newton is buried, the other churches.

3) Where else will you see an albino monk flagellate himself?

4) Alfred Molina's greasy and powerful cardinal. Almost campy (in a good way).

5) Those teensy tiny little cars that Europeans use. Ah those silly French, don't you know we don't care about how much gas we use?

6) Dodging Fox News (and CBS, and NBC) outside the theater.

7) Maneuvering past protesters holding up a bloody crucifix. You're protesting FICTION, people.

The minuses:

1) Based on a bad baaaad book with hokey dialog by Dan Brown. "No, that can't be a fleur de lys!" As if the fleur de lys is an uncommon symbol. Ever look at a Boy Scout's badge? Or most hotel carpets? Does that mean they're a part of the cover-up as well? How about this one: Oh no, they've escaped, let's make ALL the police chase them except for ONE who will stay behind to guard the ritualistically-slaughtered body.

2) Was Tom Hanks in this movie? I really didn't notice.

3) Even if it's set in France, please make sure your English is understandable through your French accent. Or add subtitles. It was hard following the accents.

4) The circus-like atmosphere outside as people took photographs of the protesters and threw some peanuts and bananas to feed them. Oh wait, that belongs in the "pluses" column.

I just wanted to add that at the end of the movie, all three of us turned to each other and said "why did the reviewers hate this movie so much?!". I can't stress enough that it really wasn't bad! It may not be everyone's cup of tea, and there are some boring bits. But overall, a good start at the Summer movie schedule.

Can't wait for X-Men and Cars and Superman! Oh my!


All photos and text copyright Ryszard Kilarski, unless otherwise noted. Clip art, drawings, paintings are either free domain or copyrighted by the artists.