Dan Brown's international bestseller comes alive in the film The Da Vinci Code, directed by Ron Howard with a screenplay by Akiva Goldsman. Join symbologist Robert Langdon (Academy Award Winner Tom Hanks, 1993 Best Actor, Philadelphia, and 1994 Best Actor, Forrest Gump) and cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) in their heart-racing quest to solve a bizarre murder mystery that will take them from France to England - and behind the veil of a mysterious ancient society, where they discover a secret protected since the time of Christ.
In The Da Vinci Code, symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is implicated in a murder and plunged into a mystery with historic ramifications. Aided by French cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), they must decipher centuries-old puzzles and clues that will lead them to the truth. But their efforts are hampered by the Opus Dei (a clandestine, Vatican-sanctioned Catholic organization) and a tenacious Inspector.
Based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown, the story challenges the very foundations of the Christian faith, asking whether Jesus was human or divine. Catholic organizations have, for the most part, been smart enough to lie low and not feed the fire...had Brown been Muslim, he would surely have been beheaded for such a blasphemy.
Akiva Goldsman's script requires a viewer's complete attention. Full of background details about theology, The Knights Templar, paganism and Renaissance art, it is both intellectual and philosophical. There are plenty of surprises, but some of them are so necessary to the plot they are obvious in coming, as is the denouement. Still, it is clever, fast-paced, and absorbing. While some readers of the book may find the moments of exposition tiresome, they are a crucial element to the parables.
Director Ron Howard, in his third collaboration with Hanks, gives the story plenty of atmosphere with Hitchcockian suspense. The aqueous flashbacks to the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages propel the action and add to the sense of awe. However, his decision to light up the letters of the riddles on screen as Langdon mulls them over seems uninspired, having used that technique in 2001's A Beautiful Mind, also written by Goldsman.
Hanks is well-cast as the reluctant Indiana Jones, while the angelic Tautou is a delight to watch. Sadly, there is little chemistry between them. But Sir Ian McKellen gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Holy Grail scholar Leigh Teabing. Paul Bettany, whose leering grimace spoils everything he's in, has found his niche playing a murderous monk, the most villainous albino since 1978's Foul Play.
A true mystery in the tradition of old Hollywood, this "Greatest Story Never Told" is a fascinating scavenger hunt. Rating: 8 out of 10.Read more ›
We saw this today and found it a very intriguing movie. We also like Tom Hanks and the many other excellent rolls he's played. It is a movie that has had a lot of controversy but I think that when you see it you just have to judge for yourself. The plot for this movie is excellent and to us just as well put together as all our other mysteries we have (eg; Midsomer Murders/Agatha Christie et al). This movie was always warning us 'viewer discretion advised' but we found that the 'violence' was not as bad as we thought it might be. I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes a mystery and likes to try something other than the Midsomer Murders or Agatha Christie DVD's.
Whether or not you believe in Dan Brown's mixture of historical facts mixed with a blend of hypotheses and extrapolations all bound up in a grand symbological mutli-million unit selling mystery novel(released in 2003)or not,is really of no consequence.The Roman Catholic Church whose foundation his novel questions was none too pleased at the time and(typical of the Church)issued memos to its' flock not to either read the book nor attend the subsequent movie's release.Of course,according to the Church,it was all bogus from beginning to end.Me thinks they did protest too much! The movie takes Brown's writings and brings them to the screen in an intelligent and attractive manner all served up(and there is ALOT to serve up!)in a fast paced and unrelenting style that keeps you glued to the screen from the beginning to the very end. The Da Vinci Code(released May/06) involves the story of a symbologist/cryptonalyst by the name of Robert Langdon(Tom Hanks).He is giving a lecture in Paris and attends a book signing after when he is approached by the police,one Capt.Fache(Jean Reno),to assist them in a murder that has just been committed in the Louvre.It turns out to be a friend of Langdon's by the name of Sauniere and the body has many mysterious symbols about it.Landon doesn't know it but the police captain suspects him of doing the dirty deed.A police cryptologist Sophie Neveu(Audrey Tautou)arrives and gets Langdon alone.He is in danger she says and must leave and moreover the man who was murdered was her grandfather. They escape and head to a bank with a key her grandfather left to her.It is a key to a safety deposit box which contains a small wooden box,in which is a cryptex.It is a cylindrical container surrounded with letters that must be arranged in a certain way to open it successfully.If not done properly a vial inside releases a potion of vinegar which destroys the contents.From here the pair seek out a Holy Grail expert-friend of Langdon's ,a Mr Teabing(Ian McKellan).They discuss the ins and outs of the Grail and the Church's earliest days and beginnings,right back to Christ himself and whether he was supernatural or just a man,when the police track them down.They all escape to London with the French police captain still in pursuit. In London Langdon(assisted throughout by Neveu) tracks down an important clue to locate the Grail but they are confronted by Teabing who wants the box and cryptex it contains.Langdon turns away to try and decode the cryptex but when he turns back he throws it into the air which cracks the inner vile and destroys the contents.At this moment the police enter and Teabing is arrested,not Landon nor Neveu.It seems the French captain has been played for a dupe by the dark shadows of the Church who also want the Grail's location and he has come to his senses.Well,it turns out Langdon did indeed crack the code and has the parchment paper from inside.In it the directions lead them both to a Church in the countryside of England where they find that the Grail they seek was indeed once there but has been moved.However they also find the guardians of the Grail,a group dedicated to preserving the Grail and its' location.We also find out the Grail was/is Neveu herself;as she is from a royal blood line descended from Christ himself through Mary Magdeline his wife.The movie ends with much of the clues that have inundated Langdon's mind throughout his arduous journey,coming together and him walking to the front of the Louvre museum in Paris and kneeling and praying over the spot where the bodily remains of Mary Magdeline secretly lay. The movie moves along at breakneck speed and makes brief stops for the viewers to catch their collective breaths and try and take in much of what is going on before them.There are alot of clues and alot of information to digest here.But in the end the ultimate conflict here is again wrapped around a good guys-bad guys scenario.On the bad guy side is the Opus Dei depicted here as a shadowy form of the Vatican that is trying to keep hidden and even search out and destroy any vestige or hint of the Grail,i.e. the remains of Mary Magdeline and a possible bloodline.On the good side we have the keepers of the faith with the Priory of Scion and their more well known arm the Knights Templar.These guardians(and their many descendants)have fought the good fight for centuries in order to keep the truth alive,but hidden from harms way,i.e the Vatican.Brown's novel and the resultant movie never preach their story to us and let us make our own minds up.As I said before this story is based on old historical fact mixed with legends and the resultant extrapolations of the two.Near the end of the movie a conversation between Langdon and Neveu really says it all about the novel,movie and their goal.Langdon asks Neveu would revealing herself as a direct descendant of Christ bring about destruction of the Church or a new reconnaissance of it? Intriguing question to an intriguing....theory? Open minds is what it is all about. This movie is one of Ron Howard's better efforts and deserves high praise for his deft handling of the complex material.The movie contains a solid roster of actors from Hanks,McKellan to French star Jean Reno and Germany's Jurgen Prochnow.Paul Bettany as Silas does a great turn as a conflicted and tortured puppet of the Opus Dei's bidding. Technically the movie is presented in its original 2:40:1 aspect ratio and has been transferred wonderfully,sound included.Extras abound in this two disc set.We have featurettes "Filmmakers Journey Pt's 1 & 2",Music of the DC",a DC demo DVD game,"Portrait of Langdon","Who is Sophie Neveu?","The Usual Suspects","Magical Places","Close up of the Mona Lisa",a discussion with Dan Brown,first day on the set with the director and a look at many of the hidden codes placed smartly throughout the film itself.Everything you wanted to know about the DC but hadn't even thought to ask! All in all a well done and intriguing thriller/novel brought deftly to the big screen by Ron Howard and now to DVD,in a fast 141 minutes.It's a solid cast and a highly recommended film worthy of repeated viewings to catch many of the clues that you may have missed the first time.Enjoy.Read more ›
Some of the negative reactions for this movie (and the book it's based on) came from The Vatican, American Catholic Bishops, Peru, People's Republic of China (which eventually banned it), Pakistan (banned), Philippines (called for a ban), Thailand (called for a ban), Singapore (called for a ban), Samoa (banned), India (called for a ban), Sri Lanka (banned), Lebanon (banned).
Most critics hated this movie.
Therefore, this is just one bad movie, right? Well, not so fast.
This movie earned two hundred and thirty million dollars in its opening weekend. So far, it has brought in over seven hundred and fifty million (well over its budget costs of one hundred and twenty five million).
This is a mystery movie directed by Ron Howard (who also co-produced). It was adapted from the international bestselling novel "The Da Vinci Code" (2003) by Dan Brown (who also was co-executive producer of this movie).
Both Harvard religious symbolist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) and French police cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) become accidentally involved in a quest for the legendary Holy Grail (cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper). Both, as well, are pursued by French police Captain Fache (Jean Reno).
Also searching for the Grail is a secret group within the Opus Dei (an institution of the Roman Catholic Church that teaches that everyone is called to holiness), who wish to keep the true Grail a secret since the revelation of this secret would probably destroy Christianity. One person (actually enforcer) who especially wants the true secret to be kept is an albino monk named Silas (Paul Bettany).
On their quest for the Grail, both Langdon and Neveu have to consult with noted British Grail historian Sir Leigh Teabing (Ian McKellen). Also, along the way they encounter anagrams (rearranging the letters of a word or phrase), puzzles, mathematical numbers, paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, etc.
All actors do descent jobs in their roles but I have to give special kudos to Paul Bettany as the albino monk Silas.
This movie has it all: mystery, action, good background music, and suspense.
One of the few critics who gave this movie a good rating was Roger Ebert. He said, "This movie works, it's involving, intriguing, and constantly seems on the edge of startling revelations." I enthusiastically agree with this statement.
Finally, the DVD set (special edition released in 2006) has ten behind-the-scenes featurettes on the second disc. (I found on the back of the DVD case that Tom Hanks name is excluded from the credits!!)
Oh, I almost forgot. Dan Brown walked away with a cool six million dollars when the film rights for this movie were purchased from him!!!
In conclusion, this is actually quite a good movie. If you don't want to read the novel it's based on, I strongly recommend viewing this movie. I leave you with one of the key anagrams found in this movie for you to decipher:
"O, Draconian devil. Oh, lame saint."
(2006; 2hr, 20 min excluding end credits; wide screen; 24 scenes; 2 discs)