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Movie Review: The Da Vinci Code (2006) *Minor Spoilers*

The Da Vinci Code One Sheet
It seems that, to review The Da Vinci Code, you have to say if you've read the book. I have and I'm a fan of the book (fact, fiction or somewhere in between).

I went into the movie with low expectations. A movie reviewer that I usually have a lot of time for had described this movie as 'a missed opportunity' and 'a bucket of sh..'. She hadn't read the book and thought the first half hour was too wordy and boring. She did concede that she could see how this film would make a great book though.

With that in mind I went along to see the film. If you don't know what the film is about, haven't seen it, or at least read the book, then this isn't the review for you. I'm assuming you at least have some idea of characters etc.

First up, much comment has been made about Tom Hanks hair (having been straightened). You'd think with all the talk he must've dyed it orange and put a pink bow in it. To me it looked appropriate for the character (Robert Langdon) and looked fine on Tom...it's hair...didn't think anymore about it and probably wouldn't have commented here if others hadn't made such a fuss.

Onto the film...I certainly didn't find it boring, though it is unnecessarily wordy in places...such as when Robert is brought to the scene of the first murder and he says out loud the room in the gallery he is entering (who does that?). It's meant to give the impression that Hanks knows the room the murder took place in even before he visits the scene - thus adding to the impression that he in fact committed the murder (I'm not spoiling anything here - you see right from the start he didn't).

Like the book the film never really slows down. Although the book benefits from the ability to be more detailed in the action and chapter breaks. I seem to remember too that Sophie (Audrey Tautou) doing a lot more to assist Robert in deciphering some of the clues (after all she is a trained cryptologist working for some police department). I found that some of the codes came across as being too easy to solve and therefore one wonders how the films secret could be kept for so many centuries.

A few times I found it hard to follow Langdon's logic in his thinking. Perhaps it needed to be more wordy at these points.

I think, if you haven't read the book, you lose some of the enjoyment of comparison with the film. As anyone who's read the book will tell you (for any film based on a book) you look for differences in the detail of the storyline. For example, in the book Langdon visits a library in London to use its massive electronic data base (which has since been proven, not to exist). In the film, they never make it to the library but instead use the internet from a fellow bus commuter's mobile phone to solve the next clue.

There are some nice special effects that overlay the past with the present which I thought worked quite well. Perhaps more could have been done with these to help explain things.

My only real disappointment with this film is that it was a great opportunity to see some of the films artworks and locations in the context of the story (rather than as part of a documentary debunking the 'facts'). I think this is where the film lets fans down quite a bit. Particularly in the artworks - which get more consideration in the book. Even the one artwork that is explored closely (Da Vinci's 'Last Supper' isn't looked at too closely with visuals). 

Over all it's a movie that you need to watch and listen to carefully. It's not light entertainment. All the actors gave a credible performance...with no one seeming to be out of place or remarkably different from their character in the book (perhaps with the exception of Tom Hanks but even he makes the character his own).

The film ends some what different to the book (though basically the same) and one is left wondering if the implications of this secret would really be quite so earth shattering in today's world. (Jesus had a family...let's go shopping!)

I doubt people would lose their faith over it...perhaps the church might just evolve a little bit, after all...we didn't know it was all a lie until now...right?

It's all over hyped really - especially by the church.

I found the film enjoyable. I might just see it again on DVD so I can look more closely at the logic. It certainly wasn't a bad film by any means. I would encourage you to read the book first (if you intend to see the film) as this will add something to your experience.

It is worth seeing...but you'll leave thinking...'I've seen it now'. It's not going to change your life or encourage you to question your faith... the real debate began and ended with the book and the numerous documentaries and additional books to debunk its 'facts'.

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