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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Thriller > Politics > Religion > Catholcism > Christianity > The Da Vinci Code (Theatrical Film Review)

The Da Vinci Code (Theatrical Film Review)


Stars: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany

Director: Ron Howard

Critic's rating: 2 out of 10


Review by Chuck O'Leary


There's a reason why Sony Pictures waited to unveil The Da Vinci Code until the opening night of the Cannes Film Festival, and waited until Wednesday night or Thursday night to screen it for most critics.  The reason is Sony wanted to minimize the terrible buzz on a movie that's bad enough to offend even an atheist.


One lesson Sony should have learned is that if you're doing a highly-touted film version of a best-selling novel; don't cast Tom Hanks in the lead.  Warner Bros. and Brian De Palma learned this the hard way 16 years ago after miscasting Hanks in De Palma's megabomb film version of The Bonfire of the Vanities.  But somehow Ron Howard let history repeat itself in his film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code.  But why ridicule The Bonfire of the Vanities by mentioning it in the same breath with an all-time turkey like The Da Vinci CodeBonfire suddenly seems like an unfairly maligned masterwork when compared to Howard's monumentally stupid film version of Dan Brown's controversial best-selling book.


But it's not all Hanks' fault.  Not by a longshot.  The storyline of The Da Vinci Code is so preposterous that it's hard to believe anyone with half a brain could take it seriously.  The fact that Brown's book sold so well doesn't speak well for the intelligence of a large portion of the public.  This is what all the hype is about?


I didn't read the book, so I can't compare the two, but it appears Howard kept the gist of the novel's thesis -- that the foundation of Christianity was built on a lie and the Catholic Church has kept the cover-up going for 2,000 years.  The result is more absurd left-wing revisionist history that blasphemes Christians, Catholics in particular, to further advance the anti-Christian agenda, of which the entertainment industry plays a large part.  This sacrilegious idiocy is going to hurt a lot of people, and I feel sorry for Christians more devout that I who will be deeply offended.  Although, in a way, I feel even more sorry for anyone gullible enough to believe this nonsense.


Just ask yourself this question: Would Hollywood have the balls to make a film that questions the life of Mohammad or Moses and casts doubt on the very foundation of Islam or Judaism?  Don't expect the film version of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses to be coming to a theater near you anytime soon.  Hollywood would be terrified of the accusations of racism if any other religion were involved.


I'll try to be as brief as possible in summarizing the movie's incredibly muddled plot since it's so inane: After the murder of a museum curator in Paris, a famous professor of Symbology named Robert Langdon (Hanks with straightened, darkened hair) is called in to help police identify several symbols the murdered man left behind.  A French police cryptologist named Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) soon teams up with Langdon, while a police detective (Jean Reno) and a murderous albino monk (Paul Bettany) pursue them through France and England.  The policeman and the killer monk, you see, are part of a secret society within the Catholic Church called Opus Dei that allegedly has been murdering people for years in order to keep the Church so archaic, sexist and intolerant.


The Holy Grail, we're told, wasn't the chalice Jesus drank from during the Last Supper, but is actually a symbol for Mary Magdalene, who was really married to Jesus and pregnant with Jesus' child when he was crucified.  An old handicapped professor (Ian McKellen) tells Robert and Sophie that it's really Mary Magdalene directly to the left of Jesus in Da Vinci's famous portrait of the Last Supper, and that Magdalene was never a prostitute, and her womb signifies the Holy Grail.  We're then told that Mary Magdalene gave birth to a daughter, and for centuries the Catholic Church, through Opus Dei, has been bumping off all descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene just to keep the Church in business.  Good grief.


The insidious Da Vinci Code is a cinematic atrocity that's overlong, boring, convoluted, packed with indecipherable mumbo-jumbo and full of ridiculous plot twists.  If this story didn't defame what so many consider sacred, it would be an absolute howler.  Even 60 Minutes, hardly a conservative show, recently aired a segment exposing what a hoax Brown and company have perpetrated.


Director Howard, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, producer Brian Grazer and Hanks should be forced to give back their Academy Awards for this abomination.  That's wishful thinking, but if there’s any justice, they'll have a Razzie to go alongside their Oscars this time next year.


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