Wednesday, May 24, 2006

No need to break the Da Vinci code. It's already broken.

If you want to watch an otherwise respectable writer flush his career down the toilet, just pay attention to the dialogue in this film, written by Akiva Goldsmith, whose previous films include "Cinderella Man", "A Beautiful Mind", and "The Client" among others. Of course, the guy also wrote "Batman & Robin"and "Lost in Space", so perhaps this all isn't unexpected. It's just that he'd had appeared to have left his embarrassing past behind.

In this movie, every other piece of dialogue is some exasperated character saying something like "I don't understand" or "What did you say?" or "Explain that again". Join the club. Between Audrey Tautou's accent and Robert Langdon's (Tom Hanks) unrelenting explanations of the origins of The Knights Templar or Sir Leigh Teabing's (Ian McKellen) explanation of Jesus's secret bloodline.

The point is, this whole movie is made up almost entirely of explanations of one thing or another and made up very little of any action. Adapting a book, as director Ron Howard is doing here, doesn't mean actually reading the damn thing on screen word for word or having the characters recite as much prose as humanly possible. In the two-and-a-half hours this thing takes to conclude, that appears to be the goal. The result is a lot of dialogue meant to give one character or another a chance to breathe between long monologues.

If you're one of the four or five people who haven't read Dan Brown's book, then perhaps you're in for some surprises. However, you probably already know that the Church is p***d off, which means that the movie has something to do with Jesus and something they don't particularly like.

Basically, symbologist Robert Langdon is called to examine a murder scene while in Paris and stumbles on a age old religious mystery. He's whisked away from the scene by a French police officer, Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), and together they try to solve the crime while being chased by an albino monk (Paul Bettany), who discovered God in prison, where many people discover Him.

Casting seems to be a serious problem here. As Silas, Bettany isn't exactly menacing. He's just kind of creepy in that "my neighbor is an Albino" sort of way. Then there's the fact that our Jesus expert is Magneto and the Cardinal (Alfred Molina) directing Silas is Doc Ock.

No need to break the Da Vinci code. It's already broken.

-Mr. Cranky

No comments: