Sony/Columbia Pictures, 2006, Directed by: Ron Howard; Starring: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen
The long awaited ‘block-buster’ movie is finally here, but is it really deserving of the title, or is it a ‘bust’, or maybe something in between? Maybe it is just ‘good’ or ‘very good’. The 40 million best-seller book created an impossible task for the movie director, writers & stars. Is it really possible to satisfy all the fans of the book and stay true to the original story line, without further alienating millions of Christians, who view the work as an attack on their faith & their God? No, not really!
The book was fast-paced and full of suspense. The movie is prodding, predictable, and indecisive, with no real resolution. The book is full of ancient codes & cryptic symbols which must be solved along the way. The movie just floats from one site to the next with very little effort. The characters in the book are multi-dimensional & full of surprises, while the character development in the movie is quite minimal. The representatives of the Church are the bad guys, of coarse. The movie really tells us nothing about Robert Langdon, and there is no relationship developing between Robert and Sophie Neveu. The movie gives you very little reason to care for any of these people. One interesting contrast in the movie however, is Leigh Teabing’s insufferably long diatribe against Christianity, with Robert Langdon’s half-hearted anemic defense of the Church. This was really not in the book, but probably some sort of tiny ‘bone’ thrown for the benefit of Christian critics.
In the end, there is no real convincing climax, only an improbable possibility shown, in order to come to some sort of resolution. If you had never read the book, the movie might be good, even very good. The one really good thing about the movie, you were able to actually see all the sights portrayed in the book, and that was awesome.
If you are a serious Christian like myself, the movie is ‘over the top’ offensive in Teabing’s incredibly long attack, you just want to scream- “no, no, no way! – That is not correct! Not even close!” If you are a Catholic Christian, be prepared, because in the ‘Da Vinci Code’ world view, all evil emanates from The Church. The most developed characters in the movie, are the ‘killer’ monk & his Bishop. The movie actually succeeds in being more ‘anti-Christian’ than I ever expected it to be. This was a surprise. When you read the book, you can put it down and scream a little, and come back to it several days later. But with the movie, you are subjected to all the negative propaganda in 2 1/2 hours. It manages to present, or mention nearly all of the “Top Ten- False claims made in the Book”, that I cited in the previous article.