May 28, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

thedavincicodeGuest Review from EKD: This cinematic whipping boy was not half as bad as I expected, which was pretty bad, considering the book is like a Choose Your Own Adventure for adults, with all the choices pre-made for you. With low enough expectations, it might even seem like a great movie -- emphasis on "seem," because it's at least 30 minutes too long for a romance-free one-track "McGuffin" chase. Tom Hanks (and I had no problem with the hair) and the Amelie girl traipse around Paris and London, following cryptic clues about art, secret societies, the Catholic church, and whatnot, pursued by a dyspeptic Jean Reno and apparently rabid Paul Bettany. Each set piece works well, and the interspersed flashbacks were surprisingly effective, but there's just too many of each, they start to blur together. Some of the switcheroos are clever, others are at a sub-Word Search level (the cryptex spells WHAT?), so take your fun where you can get it. Incidentally, I can't understand the religious controversy over this thing -- the whole "Who was Mary Magdalene?" bombshell is soft-pedaled at best, with the whole movie ending on a bit of a "maybe so, maybe no" whimper. I think this might actually have made a better Sunday night miniseries than a feature -- again, the power of low expectations. One extra point for Ian McKellen in a semi-Gandalfian turn as wise old mentor, complete with not one but two walking sticks!

My Note: Let me just add that the movie's so-called "ending" is a total cop-out. Think about the ending of Contact and you're on the right track. (Showcase Cinemas Woburn)