Movie Review: The Da Vinci Code

June 4th, 2006

For the first time in months we actually got out to see a movie last night. Given the pretty average range at the moment (Poseidon, MI: 3 and X3 were the other choices) we ended up going to The Da Vinci Code.

Overall, a pretty competent thriller with some nice moments and a few flaws.

(I should note first that I’m not addressing the problems with the source material. Can we all just accept, for the sake of this review, that I think almost all of the historical information in the movie is complete bunk?)

First, the good.

  • The actual ‘thriller’ elements of the plot kept things moving along nicely, with good use of intercutting to keep some tension in the more expository scenes. The action scenes were well done, although fairly sparse compared to the other summer blockbusters.
  • The locations in Paris and London are gorgeous and are used to full effect. The Louvre was probably somewhat underutilised, focussing too much on the awful pyramid.
  • Ian McKellan turns in a fantastic, scenery munching performance. Unlike Hanks and Tatou, who take the material far too seriously.

The average:

  • Ron Howard is always going to be Ron Howard, so you can be pretty sure about what you’re going to get. The childhood flashbacks were nice, but overused. And the direction was generally workmanlike without being inspired.
  • Paul Bettany was good in a flawed role. I’m with NOAH on this one.

The bad:

  • The music was absolutely awful. In addition to the volume being way too high (the cinemas fault, I’m sure), it was badly timed, over dramatic, repetitive and boring. Rarely have I come out of a movie where my first comment is ‘gee, the music was bad.’ I guess the composer was just having a bad week when he wrote it, as he’s done other good stuff.
  • I know I said I wouldn’t mention the source material, but it really hurt my suspension of disbelief. Especially when talking about the Council of Nicea and the Arian heresy.

Overall, worth seeing once. I certainly won’t bother buying the DVD, though.

Rating: 3/5