When it comes to film adaptations of beloved books, whatever genre it might be; they’re a bit of a hit-and-miss situation. They’re either going to be extremely well made and push for the Academy Awards, or they will be films that we will forget 20 minutes after watching them. It’s hard work to make book fans happy. Filmmakers often tend to change things a lot and name it as “inspired by X book by X author” and yet the book fans expect it to be exactly the way they envisioned it within their heads. So, when director Ron Howard decided to make a film adaptation of the popular book The Da Vinci Code, pikes were already up and torches were lit.
Fortunately, though, Ron Howard anticipated this and created a film that would be enjoyed by both book fans and new viewers!
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The Movie Review
Robert Langdon is a Symbologist who travels from the beautiful city of Paris to the dark underbellies of London to unravel a mysterious and bizarre murder. The body of the victim is posed as Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man symbolism, so they need Langon as a specialist. He’s accompanied by a cryptographer named Sophie Neveu, who must work together to uncover the secret symbolism as they dive deeper into this mystery together. They soon come across a religious enigma, which is being protected by an age-old secret society that initially started during the renaissance era.
Ron Howard is a director who has many accolades, credited for beautiful films such as Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind, Rush, and the recent Hillbilly Elegy. Howard’s direction has always had one frequency to it, you’re not supposed to stop thinking about what’s going on screen. His philosophy for his films is that they shouldn’t just be entertaining at every step of the way, rather they should be thought-provoking to such a degree that your suspense levels never decrease.
This is the case with The Da Vinci Code, which is a film that consistently keeps feeding you tiny bits of information that is never enough, and you’re always thinking about WHAT is going to happen next.
There are a few hiccups in the film though, mainly due to the overall pacing. While it does tend to keep you hooked and interested, it ends up getting off track quite a lot. It’s mainly to give time for characters to develop, but they don’t develop much throughout the film. In fact, they’re almost always stagnant in their personalities and never manage to grow.
This leaves the film with moments of conversation between the two characters of Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu played by Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou who both play their characters exceptionally, despite the film not requiring that much acting talent overall.
Dan Brown’s signature style of symbolism and allegorical imagery was translated quite poorly to screen in my opinion. There were hardly any moments that I can recount as truly Dan Brown. Most of the film looked quite dull in color and felt extremely drowned in monochromatic colors overall with a huge portion of it being greys, browns, and yellows. It was supposed to look much more visceral in its art style, and much more threatening for the main characters overall.
Yet the cinematography of the film made it look like a happy flashback sequence, which it wasn’t at all.
The thing that I would want to like about this film usually would be the score; however, it is a very hit-and-miss overall soundtrack. Some tracks manage to hit the sweet spot and are quite memorable yet the overall score and the timing of the moments it’s used in is very poor. So, much of it just keeps getting forgotten. Listening to it by itself is actually much better than trying to remember it in the film itself.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, The Da Vinci Code is a highly entertaining film that keeps you on your toes. The film is supported by its wonderful cast, who play their roles to absolute perfection. Along with a direction that makes it feel like a true-born thriller yet it always ends up missing the mark overall in keeping that sense of mystery up. It spoon-feeds you tiny bits of information to keep the mirage of suspense up, yet never truly lets you dive deep into the work of art that the Da Vinci Code’s story could be.