The Da Vinci Code Ron Howard

The long-awaited adaptation of Dan Brown’s smash bestseller won’t have you scurrying for your holy texts, as the book did for so many. In fact, it may sour you on decoding anything for the rest of your life. Tom Hanks lends his stolid presence to the role of a "symbologist” who gets embroiled in a conspiracy to conceal the Pagan origins of the Christian church, including the big bombshell that Mary Magdalene was Jesus’s wife and not just some prostitute hanger-on. Out of the reams of explanatory text they fashion a sort of a thriller but it violates the formula in a crucial way: this is all MacGuffin and no human interest. No matter how the film huffs and puffs over Catholic sins and crimes against women, they can’t connect it to the people who actually populate the story; it’s just a bunch of people standing around professing things. And worse, they’re things written by high-priced hack Akiva Goldsman, his crimes further abetted by dullard for hire Ron Howard’s tedious brown-and-grey direction. A talented creative team might have done something with the feminist implications of the conspiracy but this is just a bunch of men chewing the fat while Audrey Tautou’s mystery woman stands around looking stunned. The two-disc special edition contains ten featurettes ranging from the cast and characters to various facets on the production to Dan Brown and his sunny attitude. There’s a decent two-part production doc but mostly it’s just people telling you a) what’s obvious from the film, b) how great everybody was, and c) how cool it was to shoot at the Louvre and other locations. Capping it off is a visual explanation of various "symbols” that will have you groaning with their obviousness. (Sony)