Monday, June 05, 2006

The Da Vinci Code Movie Review

The movies are seldom as good as the novel they're made out of.

And that holds true for The Da Vinci Code too. An honest attempt that falls short of imagination. And in the end, Expectation.

The movie sets a fast pace and manages to maintain it throughout. However, it does seem a trifle too fast at times, not allowing the viewer, time to collect his thoughts and understand the plot. Its a movie that'll probably leave you clueless if you haven't read the book. And that's where its problem lies -
The ones who've read the book can't appreciate it.
The ones who haven't can't understand it.

The complex codes, the seemingly innocuous verses, and the logic behind decoding them, the most critical aspect of the story, are somehow lost in the flow of events. One brief pan down on the texts are hardly sufficient for any ordinary mortal to memorize or comprehend. And subsequently, when they are interpreted for what they truly stand for, we are more muddled than ever before. Maybe there was a case of 'Watermarking' those verses on the screen as Langdon and Sophie tried to decode them.

Then again, some of the vital parts of the story have been omitted. The part of the story when the police find the hidden transmission and recording room in Teabing's house is not shown anywhere. All of us will remember that this was the moment in the book when Fache starts to doubt his inferences and starts looking for an alternate solution. The fact that this isn't part of the movie, makes the cause of Teabing's eventual arrest extremely unclear.

The one part which I truly appreciated though, was the lengthy explanation session in Teabing's house. The complex ideas have been very well explained, helped by some excellent virtual imagery on the Last Supper.

To be fair to the makers, this was a movie that could probably never have justified the hype, however well it might have been made. But, a little more time and thought on the screenplay might have produces better results.

The film does not require any supreme acting talents. Tom Hanks is earnest in a role that hardly requires much else. Audrey Tautou comes does nicely too. Jean Reno as Captain Fache does not get any scope really. Nor does Alfred Molina as The Bishop.
Paul Bettany as Silas is very good. He is successful in bringing out the dark and complex shades of the character. One of the more appreciable performances in the movie.
Ian McKellen as the typically English Sir Teabing is brilliant. The inflections in tone, the facial expressions, the mock sarcasm in his dialogues, they are superbly done.

In the end though, when you come out of the theater, you feel, the book was much much better.

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