by Jimmy Akin

in Film and TV

HanksYEE-HAW!!! That magisterial mag of movie magic, Variety, has done the dishes on The Da Vinci Code and dished the pic a turkey-sized pan!

Here are some blurbs SONY probably won’t be using from their review:

"A stodgy, grim thing"–Variety

"Perhaps the best thing the project’s critics could have hoped for"–Variety

"Exceedingly literal-minded"–Variety

"Ron Howard and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman have conspired to drain any sense of fun out of the melodrama"–Variety

"An oppressively talky film"–Variety

"It is impossible to believe that, had the novel never existed, such a script would ever have been considered by a Hollywood studio"–Variety

"The irony in the film’s inadequacy is that the novel was widely found to be so cinematic"–Variety

"What went down easily on the page becomes laborious onscreen"–Variety

"High-minded lurid material sucked dry by a desperately solemn approach"–Variety

"A palpable lack of chemistry between Hanks and Tautou"–Variety

"Howard . . . makes them both look stiff, pasty and inexpressive"–Variety

"A film so overloaded with plot that there’s no room for anything else, from emotion to stylistic grace notes"–Variety

"Hans Zimmer’s ever-present score is dramatic to the point of over-insistence"–Variety

"Missed opportunities"–Variety

"The final dramatic revelations . . . come off as particularly flat"–Variety




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BillyHW May 17, 2006 at 12:47 am


Francis DS May 17, 2006 at 1:01 am

Darn it. The reviews make me want to see the movie!
What’s wrong with me?

MaryC May 17, 2006 at 3:39 am

Francis, it’s car crash stuff.

Edward May 17, 2006 at 4:25 am

Jimmy, your “Read the whole thing” and “Cannes ain’t conned, either” links both go to the same site.

Georgette May 17, 2006 at 5:02 am

Great news indeed! But I’m still not buyin’ anything made by SONY!
“If you love Jesus, don’t buy SONY!”

Barbara May 17, 2006 at 5:36 am

Unfortunately, sometimes what the critics pan, viewers end up loving. Hopefully that is not the case this time.

Chris S. May 17, 2006 at 5:39 am

Sounds like a perfect neo-gnostic version of Left Behind. A really bad dime store novel that everybody was reading and mistaking for truth (and whose author wanted people to take for truth), followed by an incredibly bad movie that tanked.
So, what will the next bad anti-Catholic/heresy spreading novel that everybody reads be about?

Annalucia May 17, 2006 at 5:41 am

It sounds like a perfect vehicle for the MST3K treatment. But for that, we can wait for the video.

Annalucia May 17, 2006 at 5:43 am

BTW Jimmy, great headline. It’s so…New York Post.

Paul May 17, 2006 at 7:21 am

I think that this is the correct link to the Variety article…

Tim J. May 17, 2006 at 7:23 am

Hey, whether the movie bombs at the box office in the U.S. or not, I think all faithful Christians can allow themselves a little unabashed shadenfreud at the movie’s (apparent) total lack of artistic merit.
It will be neither celebrated nor long remembered, except as a joke, which is fitting.
“And now their sons mock me in song; I have become a byword among them.”.

Barbara May 17, 2006 at 7:33 am

“And now their sons mock me in song; I have become a byword among them.”.
I was going to guess one of the prophets, or possibly Psalms. To my surprise, it turned out to be Job 30:9

Norm May 17, 2006 at 7:43 am

This is going to be an awesome chapter in the Mayberry Code.

Sonetka May 17, 2006 at 8:14 am

Man, Tom Hanks looks rough.

Ed Peters May 17, 2006 at 8:16 am

Jimmy, how much will an indulgence cost me for all the scheudenfreud I am having over the trashing of DVC by the Babylonians in Hollywood’s power structure? I luv to see wolves tearing up other wolves.

Eowyn May 17, 2006 at 8:25 am

You know, I can’t help thinking this whole debacle has been a good thing. For once, not only have Christians been united against an evil but Catholics have been united too! :) Even the priests were anti Da Vinci Code from THE PULPITS!

Tim J. May 17, 2006 at 8:35 am

Looks like I flubbed the spelling of “schadenfreud” above, even though I Googled it to make sure.
The Internet – The Dis-information Superhighway!
Maybe it has more than one acceptable English spelling. For those unfamiliar, “schadenfreud” is from the German (“damage-joy”) and means to take pleasure in the misery or failure of others.
In this case, Ed, I just doubt there would be any sin to it, since we are rejoicing in the failure of the Lord’s enemies. They SHOULD fail, and we should rejoice when they do.

Inocencio May 17, 2006 at 8:44 am
Tim May 17, 2006 at 8:47 am

Looks like the actors aren’t going down without a fight:
This from Ian McKellen [Gandalf of Lord of the Rings],
“Well, I’ve often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction. I mean, walking on water, it takes an act of faith…”
Read it for yourself.

Ed Peters May 17, 2006 at 8:57 am

TimJ: GREAT POINT. now I’ll take my indulgence money and spend it imposing my morality on others.

Susan May 17, 2006 at 8:58 am

Ian McKellan is a gay man who, if I had to guess, probably has lots of issues with Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular.

Silas May 17, 2006 at 9:16 am

Well Jimmy,
It was nice to bask in the glow of the bad reviews, but here’s a Fox review which is much more favorable to the movie:,2933,195755,00.html
Some quotes:
“But right now you want to know is: Is “The Da Vinci Code” a good movie? The overall answer is yes.”
“For most of its overlong two and a half hours, the film is enticing.”
“Is “The Da Vinci Code” the best movie of 2006? Probably not. But it’s a good movie, solid entertainment with much to recommend it. The only people who could be unhappy with it are Opus Dei, which is fairly well attacked as represented in excellent performances by Paul Bettany, Jean Reno and Alfred Molina.”
“Mainstream audiences will take this for what it is: superb escapism, excellent summer entertainment and ambitious filmmaking.”
Read it and weep.

Tim J. May 17, 2006 at 10:16 am

I read that FOX News review yesterday. Pretty tepid praise, overall.
Plus, since when do the Hollywood cultural mavens take their cues from Fox? Variety and the Cannes audience carry much more influence among opinion makers.

Michael May 17, 2006 at 10:26 am

“Much more favorable” must mean “not entirely negative”.

mgt May 17, 2006 at 10:26 am

Fox Review? Damning with faint praise.

Paul May 17, 2006 at 10:28 am

Is it just me, or does Tom Hanks look like he suddenly aged 15 years overnight? Maybe I just haven’t been paying that much attention to him lately, but I was quite taken aback by his appearance when I saw him hosting Saturday Night Live recently. This has nothing to do with The Da Vinci Code, and I’m sorry if this sounds mean. But I had the same reaction to the picture accompanying this post — he just looks much older lately than it seems like he should.

Michael May 17, 2006 at 10:40 am

How old is he? Around 50?

StubbleSpark May 17, 2006 at 10:41 am

We don’t need to wonder what will come up next. Nothing in the DVC is new — it is all recycled pseudo-theology attacking Catholicism. Some of that stuff is hundreds of years old. Ten years from now, it will all come back again fresh as daisies in the hands of some new poser intellectual creep whose idea of debate is to 1) grossly misrepresent his opponent’s views and 2) laugh at those misinterpretations out of self-serving spite.
Remember everyone, we’re still seeing Over the Hedge!
But here are some more reviews (all bad — very, very bad):
Still, I want a Silas T-shirt!
By the way: I told you so!

Tim May 17, 2006 at 11:02 am

Since when does it have to be a good movie for anyone to watch?
‘Titanic’ wasn’t such a great movie; however it’s the highest grossing movies ever made.
‘Fight 93’ was a good movie, a tribute to the martyrs of that fateful morning.
Did people see it? No, they chose to see ‘RV’ with Robin Williams for gosh sakes.

StubbleSpark May 17, 2006 at 11:05 am

I hate to harp on this, but …
The othercott is still necessary. Studios use popular success in America when selling their movies in other countries. I lived in Japan for a long time and you would be surprised at how many films can claim to be “The number one movie in America!!”
Even if that movie was at the top of the charts for one weekend, the description still applies.
Its utter destruction must still be pursued with great prejudice, to keep its foreign release limited.
One undeniable success of the movie is the way it has made the defilement of our Lord so commonplace it might as well be a breakfast cereal. Ads for it are everywhere. Otherwise mildly respectable networks have openly trumpeted its errors as truth in long, thinly veiled commercials.
Also, we need to point out how the Gnostic worldview in the end makes bad stories (Matrix tanked, V for Vandetta was vile, and now Brown’s Gnostic bomb). This is because their understanding of the universe is so flawed, that when it is revealed through story-telling, you cannot help but detect it is more lie than fiction.
Long live the resistance!

Atlantic May 17, 2006 at 11:07 am

So far, my favourite review is in the London Evening Standard:

Completely clueless Da Vinci
By David Sexton, Evening Standard
17 May 2006
The movie of The Da Vinci Code has one inestimable advantage over the novel. Utilising the moving picture, it has effectively eliminated most of Dan Brown’s plodding prose. It’s not all good news, though. It has retained lots of his execrable dialogue.
Look here too!
• Da Vinci stars make tracks for Cannes
• Hanks blasts Da Vinci critics
• Judge reveals his own Da Vinci Code
• Gallery: See stills from the film
The film is punishingly faithful to the book, from first to last. We begin with the murder in the Louvre of the curator, Jacques Sauniere, by the glaring albino monk Silas, played by Paul Bettany, displaying marginally more charisma than the rest of the cast, otherwise an oddly illfavoured crew.
As the “symbologist” hero Robert Langdon, large Tom Hanks sports impressive bags under the eyes with matching jowls, while his furrowed brow suggests headache more than deep thought.
Other stories:
Ewan to star in Woody’s film
Carry On again … in London
Completely clueless Da Vinci
Buffed up but nowhere to go
Da Vinci Code is ‘fanciful’
Hanks a million, Tom
Chelsea stars hit big screen
It’s Scarlett Poppins
Not a super market
Saying goodbye
As the heroine Sophie Neveu, wee Audrey Tautou is more good-looking, provided one doesn’t hope for too much in the way of emotion, animation or expressive speech. Alfred Molina plays lardy Bishop Aringarosa just this side of a bit part in Blackadder, while Ian McKellen does Sir Leigh Teabing proud, delivering a full-out caricature of a tweedily affected millionaire.
The Da Vinci Code is, for the best-selling thriller of all time, bizarrely unwieldy. It’s really just one long chase, from the Louvre to the private bank, from Teabing’s chateau to London, the Templar Church and Westminster Abbey, and then finally to Rosslyn Chapel in Edinburgh.
Robert and Sophie lead the way, pursued by armed police, generally travelling in large convoys, dogged by the maddened monk. At each stage, there’s a dismal little clue to be deciphered to lead on to the next – an anagram, a mystery key, a bit of mirror-writing, a combination lock…
No amount of suspense, however, could bear the quantity of exposition laid upon it. We are laboriously instructed in the history of Jesus and the Church, the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail, Opus Dei and the Priory of Sion, by the device of one character telling another, usually dim Sophie, all about it, in the style of an article from the Reader’s Digest.
In a thoroughly welcome outbreak of hilarious bad taste, the director Ron Howard has chosen to illustrate these cod history lessons with flashbacks depicting the events in question to help those at the back of the class.
“We actually saw, albeit hazily, pagan Romans cavorting, Mary Magdalene giving birth, and, best of all, the Council of Nicaea upgrading Jesus to a deity in 325AD in a crowd scene that’s like a toga-clad rave.”

Atlantic May 17, 2006 at 11:08 am

Sorry – I only meant to paste in the last two paragraphs!

lily May 17, 2006 at 11:40 am

Well, I knew it was a dog….It is a great pleasure to know that 😉 “that dog won’t hunt”….

mulopwepaul May 17, 2006 at 11:48 am

Friedman, the movie critic for Fox, has an axe to grind with Christianity–he was one of the leaders of the anti-Passion pack.
If you read him long enough, you start to see his worldview is fundamentally based on the notion that Christianity leads to pogroms.

Ellen May 17, 2006 at 12:22 pm

I remember Friedman’s Passion review was so over the top I couldn’t believe he saw the same movie I did.

MaryC May 17, 2006 at 12:37 pm

As a film critic he’s as much use as a chocolate teapot. How can you rely on his reviews if he lets his personal agenda undercut his professional integrity.

mulopwepaul May 17, 2006 at 2:13 pm

We all have our crochets; it’s just a pity that Friedman’s concern the core beliefs of 1 billion of his fellow humans.
As long as he’s reviewing secular movies about secular people doing secular things, he’s quite reliable.

MaryC May 17, 2006 at 2:24 pm

OK. So the rule of thumb is: trust him generally, but not on films with Christianity as a central theme.

Tim M. May 17, 2006 at 4:12 pm

Tim J.
I think you mean “schadenfreude”.
In German, you would use say “schade” in roughly the same situtation where in English you would say “bummer”.
in German “Freude” is joy… as in one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This may be best known in from Beethoven’s Symphony No.9, Op.125 “Choral”. Words taken from Friedrich Schiller’s poem “An die Freude (Ode to Joy)”
Yes, Schadenfreude is receiving joy from someone else’s bummer.

Tim J. May 17, 2006 at 4:25 pm

Thanks. Tim M.
I hope you took no pleasure in my floundering with a foreign toungue.

Tim M. May 17, 2006 at 4:29 pm

and when you Google “schadenfreude” … it’s all good.
and when in doubt, there is ALWAYS my old standard:
:) t.i.m.

Tim M. May 17, 2006 at 4:31 pm

Tim J.
:) no schadenfreude taken on your linguistic faux pax.
Have a great day and may DVC tank at the box office this weekend.
I will see Over The Hedge.

Anonymous May 17, 2006 at 4:35 pm

note to all
I am pretty timid about hundreds of millions of people seeing a picture of ME this year and compared to pics of me five, ten, twenty, thirty years ago.
but Tom Hanks does look as if the years have been flying by for him, as well as the rest of us.

DavidOmaha May 17, 2006 at 4:50 pm

See “Akeelah and the Bee”! Why does everyone insist on “Over…”?
“Akeelah and the Bee”
“Akeelah and the Bee”
Actually, I haven’t seen “United 93” yet, so that will come first, but then I’m seeing “Akeelah and the Bee” again.

Scott Lyons May 17, 2006 at 5:28 pm

So dark the Ron of Cannes.

Michael May 17, 2006 at 7:03 pm

So dark the Cannes of Dan.

Gene Branaman May 17, 2006 at 7:16 pm

David, it matter not, really. Akeelah is a great alternative to DVC, just as Over the Hedge or United 93 would be. It’s just that OtH is opening the same weekend as DVC & that might send a clearer message to Sony & H’wood if DVC’s direct opeining competition were to take bidnizz away from DVC. That’s how H’wood thinks.
But StubbleSpark’s right, the Othercott’s still on, folks. And if you can’t make it to OtH this weekend, maybe just go on Fandango & buy a ticket or 2 for a Friday or Saturday showing. That would be just as good!

lily May 19, 2006 at 1:00 am

Re: the Othercott..
How about going to the theater & asking for tickets to “anything but the Da Vinci Code”? A little on the loud side, maybe? Not enough to be obnoxious, but enough so that nobody mistakes you for someone who wants to see DVC????

Inedita May 23, 2006 at 4:19 pm

Jimmy wrote, “How on earth did the murdered museum guy have enough time as he was bleeding to death to strip nekkid and cover himself with ritualistic symbols in blood (and why would he do that, anyway?) and then think up a bunch of puzzles needed to write three secret messages in ultraviolet ink in different parts of the Louvre? And why was he carrying ultraviolet ink around with him to begin with?”
A better question, perhaps: why not just call his granddaughter?
From the Louvre’s website,
“Pay phones
There are twelve pay phones located beneath the escalators leading to the Denon, Sully, and Richelieu wings. One of them (beneath the Sully escalators) is intended for use by disabled visitors.”

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