He said: The trick for lighting letters is getting old | SummitDaily.com
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He said: The trick for lighting letters is getting old

Dan Thomas
Dan Thomas
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Don’t believe everything you see – or read. I’m not warning viewers against letting “The Da Vinci Code” lead them into converting to paganism. I’m just wondering if there’s maybe some sort of far-reaching conspiracy behind the uniformly awful reviews for the movie.

I’m half-kidding, but I did hear rumors of church leaders suggesting their flocks protest the release by seeing “Over the Hedge” instead. The clever response from a recent pagan proselyte, of course, would be to skip “The Da Vinci Code” under the guise of following the boycott, then come up with a movie review about how the hidden message in “Over the Hedge” turned him into a satanist, but I’m not smart enough to pull that off. Nor is “The Da Vinci Code” really worth the effort. The book, in contrast, was a revelation, and maybe that’s as rational and simple as familiarity breeding contempt. Once the surprise wears off, even the printed version’s flaws become more evident.

Ron Howard’s moviemaking tricks don’t aid the translation to the screen, though. The director leads a page-turning narrative astray by interspersing scenes of history and backstory, then speeds up the solutions to book’s mind puzzles to a whiz-kid pace – and reuses the light-up-the-letters trick that didn’t look as shopworn in “A Beautiful Mind.”Nor do the leads in “The Da Vinci Code” help: Tom Hanks is flat as cryptologist Robert Langdon instead of his usually steady self, and maybe that’s why Audrey Tautou – so charmingly tweaked in the off-kilter “Amelie” – seems muzzled. I wish I could say the same for Paul Bettany and his confusion of emoting with intensity. There would certainly seem to be a more threatening actor available to play Silas the albino monk.

Still, “The Da Vinci Code” isn’t the awful movie critics across the country have described. At least Hanks seems to be the best choice – mullet and all – of those supposedly up for the role: I can’t imagine how brutish Russell Crowe would make brainiac Langdon; I wouldn’t put co-opting the story for Scientology past Tom Cruise. Scene-stealer Ian McKellen makes Sir Leigh Teabing much more sympathetic than he came across in the book. And just having a visual representation of the artwork in the book (I went back and read my college art history textbook after I finished “The Da Vinci Code”) made me want to read the book again.It’s not that the “Da Vinci Code” is terrible, there’s just not much to cheer, or to protest – except that it could’ve been better.


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