Nov 16, 2006

DVD Review: The Da Vinci Code

The Da Vinci Code
Sony Home Entertainment

My name is Jeremy and up to recently, I had neither read nor seen The Da Vinci Code. I know, I know, it is what EVERYBODY is reading and watching. That is why I had not. Call it snobbery, but if that many folk are praising it, it must be run of the mill stuff. How can something appeal to that many non-readers, and still be good?

I sat down, feeling rather indifferent and watched The Da Vinci Code. Know what? I enjoyed it immensely. I thought it was a fun yarn with enough history thrown in to make it sound plausible. Of course there are about one hundred non-fiction books disputing the story's accuracy, though Dan Brown himself says it is a fictional story. (Move on guys! Certainly there is something else for you to overreact to.)

Director Ron Howard keeps this blockbuster on course. My opinion of Howard is that he is a journeyman director. While he is not a visionary or a master, he is one that can be counted on not to drop the ball. When hundreds of millions are being invested, you need a director that can handle the pressure and give the audience what they want. Ron Howard is that man.

My review for this is also tempered by the fact that I saw National Treasure a couple of months ago. Having seen that lousy rip-off, TDVC came across even better by comparison. If there is anyone that was not impressed by Tom Hank’s understated performance, go watch Nicolas Cage and you will appreciate Mr. Hanks like never before.

But this is not about National Treasure; it is about The Da Vinci Code, so let us chat about it. The producers did everything right: They put together an excellent cast, got an outstanding screenwriter and used a director that would not crack under the pressure of adapting the most popular novel in the history of popular novels (Ok, there may have been bigger ones, but I am too lazy to look it up. Even if I did, I might lose the ability to use that hyperbole.) As I said, Ron Howard has proven he has ice water in his veins; he shall not crack under pressure like a lesser man would. Now there may be one or two of you that have not heard of The Da Vinci, actually I don’t think that is possible. You all have some idea of what the Code is about.

Tom Hanks stars as Robert Langdon, a professor that studies symbols. Rather than make his character a know it all, he comes across as a very bright man, but still the kind of person that might really exist.
He is drawn into a murder investigation when a museum curator that he was supposed to meet with is found murdered. The body is arranged like Leonardo Da Vinci's famous Vitruvian man, and a cryptic message has been written in the dead man’s blood.

Upon finding out he is a suspect; Langdon is the run, trying to solve the puzzle left by a dying man. He teams with that man’s niece as they race against sinister forces, as well as the police, to unlock a mystery that may rock the very foundation of modern Christianity.

The two DVD collection takes a look at the history that influenced the writing, as well as the making of the film. It is the non-film related featurettes that make this particularly compelling. Loaded up with several featurettes, you get a look at everyone from the director, author, and actors all the way down to the Dolly Grip. These all seem to be a part of one larger telling of the creation of the film. Since a lot of it is about the book and actors, these featurettes will appeal to more casual fans than many of the more technical featurettes that often fill DVDs,

There is also a gift set available that has a full sized replica of Langdon's journal.

If you are looking for a fun yarn that does not insult your intelligence, this is for you. I should also point out that if having tenets of Christianity questioned bothers you and would interfere with your ability to enjoy what is a delightful yarn, this is not for you. If you were one of those that were up in arms about it the first time around, you might want to pick National Treasure. The historical suppositions are the least of that film’s crimes.

Jeremy Lynch
P.S. Even though I saw the film, I doubt I will get around to picking up the book.

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