The Da Vinci Code (2006) -

The Conspirators

Robert Langdon: Tom Hanks
Sophie Neveu: Audrey Tautou
Sir Leigh Teabing: Ian McKellen
Bishop Aringarosa: Alfred Molina
Andre Vernet: Jurgen Prochnow
Silas: Paul Bettany
Bezu Fache: Jean Reno


The Mastermind

Directed By Ron Howard.
Written By Akiva Goldsman.

Running Time: 148 Minutes. Rated PG-13 (for disturbing images, violence, some nudity, thematic material, brief drug references and sexual content).

See the movie trailer


"Funny, I don't even like history" - Sophie Noveu (Something tells us Dan Brown is speaking from personal experience here).

"Witness the greatest cover-up in human history" – Sir Lea Teabing

A dumb line:

"Christ sacrificed his life for the betterment of humanity, so too may be the fate of his seed,"

Said by the evil Bishop Aringarosa, making the sign of the cross no less, while affirming that yes, they will have to kill the heir of Jesus if necessary. Rating: 2 UFOs

Matt DeReno Staff Writer


The Cover-Up here grandly includes the Catholic Church as the suppressor of a hidden history about its own religion, which namely involved remarkable facts about the personal life of Jesus and the fact that he not only had a wife, but a child born of that wife, Mary Magdalene. The Holly Grail is in fact Mary Magdalene, the Cup of Christ, in the sense that she holds the bloodline of Jesus Christ.

The early church, notably under the Fourth Century tutelage of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine decided to switch it all over from Paganism, which was still common, to Catholicism, which was rising in popularity. The reason put forth was that Constantine was simply "betting on the winning horse" and wanted to consolidate his empire under one religion. Subsequently, he converted and convened the Council of Nicaea.

It was the council of Nicaea then that committed the cover-up by suppressing all gospels and evidence of Jesus "the regular guy" and promoted more or less, Jesus "the son of God guy." After all, how could Constantine consolidate his power under Catholicism if Jesus was an everyday fellow who had a wife and a kid? Although, there has been no evidence suggesting he had a dog and two-car garage.

For starters, early in the movie you have an albino Monk, a member of the ultra-conservative self-flagellating Christian sect, Opus Dei, whipping himself to a bloody pulp and using a cilice to grip and milk blood out of his thigh. This monk, Silas, was in the opening scenes responsible for the death of a professor, one Jacques Sauniere, who upon taking a bullet in the gut, was left to die by Silas. Inexplicably grisly, yet the movie is PG-13.

Da Vinci Code starring Tom Hanks with long hair is based on the blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown (which is based on another book, so claims another author) and the albino Monk is neither based on a real Opus Die monks nor albinos. So people in both classifications can rest easier that just like Jesus, they are employed merely as fictional props for a dramatic movie and nothing more. From this point, we shall build toward a critique of the DVD release The Da Vinci Code.

The Parisian car chase in the beginning surrounding The Louvre is commonplace and nothing to get terribly excited about. Surely, the chase in the French Connection can rest easy.

The violent scenes are adequate enough to convey the creepiness and effectiveness of the albino Monk (relation to any real albino monk's purely coincidental). If anything, the self-torture of the monk is a grim reminder that religious zealotry of any persuasion is harmful and detrimental to humanity. But then are so many other things, like say, politics, so there again it is nothing to get bent out of shape about. It is not like Mohammed is in the movie or anything.

The acting is okay. Nothing divine. Tom Hanks has surely held up better performances but the Da Vinci Code didn't really push him to do a whole lot other than have long hair. The interactions between Robert Langdon and Sophie Noveu seemed forced and contrived though this probably says more about the novel than the film adaptation because the movie was pretty much true to the book. This inspires me to come to a certain conclusion having seen movie and read said book by Dan Brown. It can be summed up as thusly: never has so much been made of so little.

The part were Jesus appears in a helicopter with grenade-launching M16 was pretty cool (Okay, that was the fake spoiler warning. Ignore and chuckle).

As usual, Ian McClellan is excellent and highly believable as the learned Leigh Teabing. One gets the impression that Ian McClellan could eloquently explain the user's manual for a washing machine and make it compelling. After all, this is Gandalf we are talking about (reference to Lord of the Rings there). Jean Reno was good as Bazu Fache, the quasi good cop. Although, he seems to be Jean Reno in this film, like all his other films.

The flashback scenes were pretty good quality. The sack of Jerusalem stood out and the fatal car crash of Sophie Nevue's parents was effective. The witch hunts were good and illustrative and all in all, the flashbacks conveyed a certain mystery and cemented the story together. And believe me; the story indeed needs cementing and plot mortar. It is a woven tapestry of imaginary historical relationships and events hard if not impossible to prove. As Sophie Noveue asks "Is it possible?" Robert Langdon replies "It's not impossible." But, that small sentiment is the linchpin of the whole movie and all conspiracy theorists everywhere. Doesn't exactly mean anything not that it has too. But, any trace of empirical evidence in a positive form, really is the hallmark of a great Cover-Up.

Not to twist Churchill into something serviceable for a movie review, but history is fair game for twisting when it comes to the Da Vinci Code. Ultimately, I believe the story itself played out much better in novel form than on the silver screen and I feel that is because on pages, your imagination has to do work to flesh out the plot driven story. That plot, though intriguing, is laid out in broad brush strokes asking you color in the spaces with your imagination. You can't do that with a movie. With a movie, it is all colored in for you but for the meaning is your judgment. To make the judgment important, the cinematic wheels have to turn effectively. The movie is serviceable in that regard.

Namely in mood, did it seem to mirror the novel and mood is something the author has full control over. However, I don't the somber and dark mood of the book, translated well to film. I am reminded of the National Treasure movie, a blatant rip off of the Dan Brown book, but all in all, a more fun movie than the Da Vinci Code.

We gave National Treasure 2 ½ UFOs, and it's hard to give Da Vinci Code anything more. However, having seen the Da Vinci Code, I wish we could go back and give National Treasure a 3, but our conspirators are not revisionists. It just might be the movie would play better if you were totally oblivious to the hubris carried by the Dan Brown book. But, that is an unrealistic plot line. So it is perhaps a built in hindrance to the movie's effectiveness that damn near a billion people already know what the secret is because the book was just that damn popular.

However, the movie strikes some fairly sentimental notes at the very end when Sophie is finally reunited with some distant relatives (to put it mildly). This surprisingly, comes after the full climax of action in which Teabing, Silas the albino Monk, Bishop Aringarosa and Bache Faze all exit stage right.

At this point, to me at least, it aroused feelings of astonishment and interest. But, alas, it is all crammed near the end of the film. Were it to play on these emotions earlier, then more praise we might have heaped upon it. And it did, ultimately, force you to attribute meaning to certain facts about Jesus.

And the meaning, like I said, can be summed up thusly: never before has so much been made of so little.&

We think JC himself would agree: It's a freaking piece of entertainment and on that note, it fares well. Great Cover-up movie? Not really. Is the movie worth plopping in the DVD player for some good conspiracy aficionado fare and fix? Yes, we will give it that. More amazing than the possibility that Jesus might have had a wife and child is that Dan Brown is so rich. Put please don't twist those statements. Dan Brown might make another movie about it.










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