Did the discovery of Lucy rock your world? Did the Gospel of Judas give you nightmares? If so, stay far away from The Da Vinci Code - the new movie based on Dan Brown's best-selling behemoth will shake your fundamentalist foundations. If not, relax, lightning did not smite a single soul while exiting the theater.
Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou were adequate as The Da Vinci Code's Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu. Neither achieved a standout performance, but Tom Hanks is pretty good in anything, and Audrey Tautou …well, she is pretty and French. The real star of the movie, however (as in most movies he is in), is Ian McKellen. Much like Paul Giamatti in Ron Howard's last film Cinderella Man, McKellen has the ability to take a supporting role and deliver it with such expertise that it becomes the most memorable performance of the film. That man can convey more emotion in one look than most actors can achieve within an entire role. Any movie with McKellen in the cast can't be all bad.
It is also impressive when the director of a summer blockbuster gets a little creative, and Ron Howard has a few really clever scenes. In the scenes where historical events were referenced, the way Howard wove the present and the past with landmarks as constants was very cool. It gave a living, tangible characteristic to the history Howard was trying to represent, and it worked really well within the movie.
The Da Vinci Code unfortunately started much stronger than it ended. If a movie is 2 ½ hours long, it had better be gripping enough to keep my mind from wandering. The Da Vinci Code hinted at a climax for a good half hour, and unless we are talking about a different subject altogether, that is just too long. When a movie keeps fooling you into thinking that it is almost over, pretty soon you find yourself wishing that it would be.
Does The Da Vinci Code live up to its hype – the good and the bad? No. It wasn't good or bad enough to do either. It had a solid cast, good director, and compelling subject matter – but it also seemed to drag on forever. Did it rattle my religious foundations? About as much as Bosom Buddies did. But I can still appreciate the effort.