The Da Vinci Code has more or less remained the same in my eyes since seeing it in theaters a decade ago. The acting more or less steals the show over a bit of a convoluted story, yet the mystery and adventure aspect makes the nearly two-and-a-half hour running time bearable.
The Da Vinci Code
Genre(s): Adventure, Suspense/Thriller
Sony | PG13 – 148 min. – $34.99 | October 11, 2016
Date Published: 10/14/2016 | Author: The Movieman
Note: Portions of this review were copied from my Extended Cut Blu-ray review.
THE MOVIE — 3.25/5
“I’m into something here that I cannot understand.” In that one instance, I can emphasize with Mr. Langdon. I cannot understand the hype either.
If you haven’t seen the countless news stories already, The Da Vinci Code is based upon the cult phenomenon book by author Dan Brown about Harvard professor/cryptologist Robert Langdon (TOM HANKS), called in by French detective Bezu Fache (JEAN RENO) to provide some insight into the death of a museum curator. However, he soon discovers he was not there to help, but instead to become the prime suspect into the murder. With the help of the curator’s granddaughter, Sophie Neveu (AUDREY TAUTOU), they join forces to find out who killed her grandfather and why.
Meanwhile, we follow Bishop Aringarosa (ALFRED MOLINA) and his own quest with the aid of albino Silas (PAUL BETTANY) to find the key to… well, I won’t ruin it for the one or two of you who don’t know or haven’t read the book.
Speaking of which, I must admit that although I am one of the 45 million who purchased the book, I only made it maybe a fourth of the way through. I can only speak for, as far as accuracy goes, to only a portion of the film and, from what I can tell, it seemed to be faithful. However, that does not mean I liked it…
The biggest problem — but not the only one — I had with The Da Vinci Code was the pacing. Even though Ron Howard, producer Brian Grazer and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman were at least semi-faithful to Dan Brown’s book (remember, I’ve only read a part of the book), that might’ve been detrimental to the value of the movie overall. There are certain sections that flowed well, only to be undone with so much talking, explanation and lecture, I felt like I was back in college as my professor drones on about things I could care less about.
What’s most interesting is the 2004 Nicholas Cage action-adventure National Treasure also explores and manipulates history to give a fun atmosphere and an all around entertaining flick. Obviously by its very nature, The Da Vinci Code cannot be as whimsy as Treasure due to the dark nature, but it instead of giving an interesting treasure and mystery hunt, it felt more like being dragged along rather than willing to explore and find out the next clue (and in the end, what it all means).
Also disappointing beyond pacing and suspense (or lack thereof), is the acting from such a talented cast. First, Tom Hanks — one of my favorite actors who, no matter what kind of film, can do no wrong — seemed to, and I truly hate using this term, phone-in his performance. As the leading man, and the one audience members follow, Hanks presents a character without much behind him. Most of the time, I can watch Tom Hanks get lost in his characters but here, I was looking at Tom Hanks, in a mullet-esque haircut no less, playing a guy named Langdon.
And the same can be said for most of the supporting characters including Audrey Tautou, who is sorely miscast in a important role to play opposite an even diluted Tom Hanks performance, Jean Reno, Alfred Molina and even Paul Bettany (though I must admit, he was indeed pretty damn scary and certainly creepy). For instance, and this is spoiler material here, Alfred Molina basically is a father figure to a psychologically disturbed Bettany, but I didn’t feel the emotion between the two. Sure, Aringarosa was using Silas for the needs of the Opus Dei, but their outcomes had no resonance and therefore, the film as little impact in that area.
However, it’s veteran (perhaps legendary as he’s been in so many major films in the past few years) Ian McKellen that delivers the best performance out of the bunch. It’s not to say it’s anything magical, but he was the only one I even remotely was interested in and probably saved this film from becoming a complete dog. His character is eccentric, full of energy and seemed to be the only one involved with the story with any sort of grandeur or amazement. The events that transpire make the President’s recorded confession of murder on “24” (season 5) look like an everyday occurrence (which I guess it is on “24”).
The Da Vinci Code is not a bad film but instead more… disappointing. This is why adapting a novel is difficult as books hold so much information that it is nearly impossible to include everything needed, so one wonders if this was the case here. I consider Code to be disappointing, not the major stinker that some around have trashed it.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.25/5
This release comes with a slip cover and the three discs are housed in the UHD black case.
DISC 1 (UHD MOVIE):
DISC 2 (FEATURES):
A Discussion with Dan Brown (4:52; HD) – The Da Vinci Code author Brown talks about where the ideas for the novel came from.
A Portrait of Langdon (7:18; HD) – Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, Dan Brown and others talk about the Langdon character and how Hanks encompassed the role so well.
Who is Sophie Neveu? (6:58; HD) – Another character profile for the role of Sophie where more members of the cast and crew talk about the character and casting Audrey Tautou who was picked amongst many actresses, including bigger names.
Unusual Suspects (17:58; HD) – The rest of the supporting cast (Jean Reno, Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina) are covered under this featurette with more interviews from the cast and crew (director, casting director).
Magic Places (15:58; HD) – The featurette goes over the filming locations in and around Paris, London and Scotland. Ron Howard talks about the importance of certain places to shoot, especially the opening scene at the Louver.
Close-Up on the Mona Lisa (6:37; HD) covers the famous Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting with Ron Howard and Dan Brown (plus Tom Hanks and others) discussing, and noting how small it is.
The Filmmakers’ Journey Part One (24:40; HD) and Part Two (12:20; HD) is a bigger ‘making-of’ featurette about how the film came about starting with the involvement of Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer moving into location scouting and other filmmaking process. It’s less a linear ‘making-of’ and more allows the cast and crew to talk about the project.
The Codes of The Da Vinci Code (5:33; HD) discusses the codes within the codes (or trivia) featured in the film, some are harder to see than others. The majority of the featurette goes through some of them.
The Music of The Da Vinci Code (2:54; HD) and Scoring The Da Vinci Code (9:44; HD) covers the motion picture score composed by Hans Zimmer. Some of the score was recorded within a chapel to get the right acoustics. Zimmer talks about how he came to the project while working on an anniversary edition of Backdraft.
Book to Screen (11:06; HD) obvious is about adapting the record-selling novel to the big screen. Dan Brown talks about his plans for the books (envisioned as a trilogy) and wanting to sell the rights after the books were out, but eventually went ahead with the caliber of talent that was interested.
The Da Vinci Props (9:43; HD) and The Da Vinci Sets (9:10; HD) both go over some of the on-set aspects of the filming from making the cryptex to designing the sets.
Recreating Works of Art (6:03; HD) is an interesting featurette if only to find out that there is an artist who can create an exact replica of certain pieces of art, including the Mona Lisa. Crew members also talk about how the art tells the story.
The Visual Effects World of The Da Vinci Code (15:03; HD) includes behind-the-scenes footage of how visual effects were used with some comparisons between on-set filming to the final product.
DISC 3 (BD MOVIE + FEATURES):
Launching a Legacy with a First Look at Inferno (4:26; HD) is a basic featurette meant to advertise the long-awaited third entry but at least includes new interviews with Howard, Hanks and others. ** NEW FEATURE **
Extended Cut Scenes (35:37; HD) – While it’s disappointing this release didn’t have the extended cut, we do at least get this to watch those scenes. As I said in my Blu-ray review, they don’t add too much, just some additional character moments. ** NEW-ISH FEATURE **
Teaser Trailer (2:05; HD)
VIDEO – 3.75/5
|The Da Vinci Code makes its debut on 4K UHD through Sony and is presented with a 2160p ultra-high definition transfer and shown in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio. Boasting a higher resolution, this now 10 year old film, while not brilliant looking, still is incredibly sharp throughout and colors are still lower key and drab in keeping with the tone and rich cinematography. I don’t think this will top anyone’s list as reference quality work for the format, but it’s still a nice looking transfer.|
AUDIO – 5.0/5
|The audio also receives a nice upgrade over the Blu-ray release. While the Blu-ray still contains the old DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, which in itself sounded great, this UHD version gets the Dolby Atmos treatment which takes the aural experience to the next level. While the quieter moments sound basically the same, when the action picks up, such as the few car chases, is where the depth shows itself and Hans Zimmer’s bombastic score reverberates throughout the home theater and the LFE channel kicks in to add to the experience.|
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, The Da Vinci Code has more or less remained the same in my eyes since seeing it in theaters a decade ago. The acting more or less steals the show over a bit of a convoluted story, yet the mystery and adventure aspect makes the nearly two-and-a-half hour running time bearable. As far as this UHD release goes, it is a moderate upgrade over the Blu-ray releases with the audio probably being the most noticeable difference.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.