Sunday, May 21, 2006

"Da Vinci Code"

An impulse add to the 'in progress' bookpile was "Fiasco: A History of Hollywood's Iconic Flops" - a look at, wait for it, some of the memorable film flops of all time. All manner of things can go wrong in the production of a movie, but the common thread running through to Cleopatra's, Ishtar's and Showgirls' of the world is best described as excessive ambition bordering on hubris.

I bring that up, because for all the hype and hoopla, one thing noticably lacking in the film version of "The Da Vinci Code" is ambition. In retrospect, I'm not sure why this is surprising, as a by-the-numbers pot-boiler novel most easily translates into a by-the-numbers pot-boiler film. If not for the 'controversy' of the religious aspects (and the built-in audience of 40 million copies sold) this is nothing more than another here-today, gone tommorow, pseudo-historical thriller (think National Treasure or Sahara)

As an example of the genre, DVC is perfectly acceptable - especially considering the star-wattage which exceeds what can usually be brought to bear. That said, I have three minor quibbles and one major one.

The small ones - 1. Paul Bettany's ludicrous attempt at a Spanish(?) accent. Was it Mexican or more Belorussian? I half expected him to yell out "Say Hello to my lil' friend!" as he whipped himself.

2. THE SCORE IS A LITTLE OVER THE TOP AND IN YOUR FACE.

3. The utter lack of chemistry between Tom Hanks and Amelie.

But my big problem was the faith with which the film follows to book's plot - there are so many twists and turns that just don't come through well in the time alotted. The plot moves fast without moving quickly, so their is a rush from scene to scene, none of which are particularly compelling. Indeed, it serves more to demonstrate the combination of banality and risibility for which Dan Brown's novels are justly noted. The only portion that really hums are the vingettes involving Ian MacKellan who barely even pauses for tea to wash down the scenery he's been devouring.

And saddest of all, the film doesn't even live up to the controversy, as the 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail' theories on which it is based are presented so quickly that there is very little in the way of a frontal challenge to the church.

Pooh's View: Decent popcorn fare, MacKellan is good, but mosly 'Feh!'

1 comment:

DJ Ninja said...

I think the score is Hans Zimmer, which explains the "in-your-face" quality. His score is just about the only thing about Batman Begins I don't like, which is saying something because just about everything else in that movie is perfect. Zimmer's score in "Crimson Tide" is pretty sweet, though.