There is this entire new world of movies from star novels that is happening these days. The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and now The Da Vinci Code. What do they have in common? Well, in all cases there was a huge fan base of the novel that needed to be satisfied, and hence the movies are a lot like the books, without the wanton changes that are so typical of movies in the past.
Let’s face it: The Da Vinci Code the novel was not great. The plot was wonderful, with the story of the Priory, though, lifted from Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and the rest a bit formulaic. Take that and make it a movie: it had to be gruesome.
And yet, it’s a surpringly enjoyable movie. I give it my thumbs up, and I was convinced it was going to be horrible!
- One item of grief: Mr. Tom Hanks.
What was Ron Howard thinking? Tom Hanks has no credentials as detective, and indeed he spends the entire movie not really knowing why he’s there in the first place. This with the background of an all-star cast that tries hard and does a great job. Alfred Molinas as Bishop Aringarosa is mighty righteous. Ian McKellen as Sir Leigh Teabing – what a pleasurably devious monster! But all characters did a wonderful job, especially at making Tom Hanks look awful.
He reminded one of Bill Murray’s character in Lost in Translation. In every scene he showed up (and he shows up in a lot of scenes), he always looks as if he really doesn’t need to be there, and doesn’t really know why he is there. And this from a man that gave us movies like Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, The Bonfire of the Vanities, even Cast Away, which was essentially a movie about Tom Hanks starring nobody really but Tom Hanks.
Paris in the movie is worth a mass. People speak French with subtitles, are normal, they just happen to live in a gorgeous place with wonderful art and architecture. Everything feels right here, in place, like it really would be.
Cannes is rumored to have snickered at the movie. What fools.
Last comment: Audrey Tatou and Paul Bettany would make a wonderful couple in a different movie.