The Da Vinci Code [Blu-Ray] Ron Howard

The Da Vinci Code [Blu-Ray] Ron Howard
With these Dan Brown novels, Ron Howard has just about the sweetest gig in Hollywood: a veritable cash cow franchise not dependant on anything but some controversial Vatican-bashing. It was a pulpy novel to start, which, to the surprise of everyone, including the author, became the must-read of 2004. Even I, a casual fiction reader at best, read it and was unimpressed. But often these pulpy airport novels make good movies (i.e., The Godfather). The Da Vinci Codeis still not a great film but is adequate in every aspect. Symbology professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) gets embroiled in a centuries-long conflict between an evil Vatican sect and a secret society devoted to keeping a controversial secret that threatens the very foundation of the Catholic Church. Everyone phones it in here. Howard adequately replicates the book for the screen with competent but uninspired direction; Hanks lets his natural star power do the work; and all other key creatives, like Salvatore Totino's slick camerawork and Hans Zimmer's recycling of his Batmanscore, add the necessary polish. It's really just a blockbuster version of a Hardy Boysnovel, an excuse for us to watch the characters solve a series of clever puzzles connecting religious history, sacred works of art and historical science. To give Brown some credit, the core ideas are intriguing and his historical connections actually seem plausible. The clues of the royal bloodline of Jesus Christ hidden in the Last Supper are revealed right before our eyes with little stretching of our imaginations required. I love a good conspiracy and if taken on that level The Da Vinci Codecan provide some decent fun. The Blu-Ray release, coinciding with sequel Angels and Demons,gives us an epic 174-minute "extended" version of the film. Egad, do we need to spend this much time on this story? No, but surprisingly it all flows really well if, say, watched in hour-and-a-half intervals. Sony, perhaps, sets a "special features" record by giving us 17 featurettes! Although I'd rather have seen a proper full-length making-of documentary there are enough interesting titbits on the production, art history and religious lore to further expand the experience. (Sony)