Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Da Vinci Code


The Da Vinci Code is not a great film but it is probably as good a film as can be made from the book. The book has been admirably condensed and the movie touches on all the key segments of the book. That said, it’s pretty amazing that the book, read over 2 ½ days, kept us hooked all the way while the movie, at just 2 ½ hours, seems to drag at a few places.

Since it’s pretty much a treasure hunt, the movie and its characters are always on the move and this gives it a good pace. Puzzles to decode and codes to crack are always a good way to involve the audience and this film is chockfull of them. As Hanks and Audrey move from one puzzle to another, they take us along with them. The exotic locations also offer some nice eye-candy.

There are some aspects that translate well from the written page to the screen and those are naturally the best parts of the film. Hanks’ first lecture on the interpretation of symbols and some of the chases, both on foot and in cars, fall into this category. The puzzles that have a visual dimension also gain by being shown on screen.

On the other hands, word and number puzzles are best suited for reading. We absorb them and try to solve them in our minds even as we continue reading. So there is genuine elation when the solution is revealed. That is missing in the film. Due to time constraints, the puzzles are solved almost as soon as they are presented, giving us little time to appreciate them. So these scenes feel too rushed and there little or no buildup and suspense.

Hanks seems a little confused on whether to play Langdon seriously or make him campy like the story itself. He opts for the former and sometimes looks a little too serious. Audry Tatou looks cute and Jean Reno plays his part with his usual gruffness. Ian McKellan fits his role perfectly and gets to make of the big revelations in the story.

23 Comments:

At 11:13 PM, Blogger Narayanan Venkitu said...

Hmm..I want to see this movie! I haven't read the book yet.

 
At 11:44 PM, Anonymous ram said...

I havent seen the movie as yet...will check it out one of these days...

 
At 12:05 AM, Blogger Rajesh Thiagarajan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 12:07 AM, Blogger Rajesh Thiagarajan said...

I watched this movie a few days back. I have not read the book so my mind had no threshold to compare with. To me, the movie was fairly gripping and the suspense made me involve in the movie.

Eventhough I did not read the book, I feel that last few scenes could/should have been better. Even for me the last scenes were predictable, this was the only let down given the rest of the movie was very good.

Enjoyed it.

Rajesh

 
At 6:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with you on imaginative intrepretation during book read. Book provided me almost two weeks of thrill ride.

Book Read = visual imagination + screenplay.

Movie = Just screenplay.

 
At 6:57 AM, Blogger Kumari said...

Hmm...we both saw it on Sunday and i felt cheated. Of course, The Mr who hadn't read the book, found it interesting plus he bugged me big time asking questions throughout the movie :p

Did they reduce the number of cryptix puzzles? I remember sth about trying to spell Sophie in hebrew or sth like that which i didn't see in the movie. And they completely removed the 'bro' character in the climax.

If there was any scene i liked in the movie, it was the one where Sophie Neveu tries to walk on water. That was a/only cute interpretation :D

Guess i liked the book better :(

 
At 7:25 AM, Blogger kuttichuvaru said...

yeah I too thought it cud hav been made better... but it was a decent watch though.... I liked the locations, the Louvre n other places especially :-)

 
At 9:42 AM, Blogger Filbert said...

Haven't watched the movie yet, Balaji. But what is surprising is the fact that inspite of getting moderate reviews, at best, this movie is raking in millions at the BO. May be, people were just curious to see the movie. The collections should start dropping by the 2nd week. Lets see

 
At 4:16 PM, Blogger Aravind said...

good movie but was boring at times.Nothing too special about Tom hanks in the cast thought someone else even could have fit the role .at a point in the theatre one person was snoring pretty loudly to the amusement of the audience.

 
At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As always very good review. The movie was strictly ok stuff.
How I wish Harrison Ford was cast as Robert Langdon. Tom Hanks looks baffled most of the times. The film should have been crispier.
My opinion is good books should not not be made as movies. Hope they dont start filming of Angels and Demons after the BO success of this movie.. The only saving grace will be we can enjoy visuals of Vatican!!

 
At 11:38 PM, Blogger Sundar Narayanan said...

i think the people who havent read the book will enjoy it a lot more!!

the only surprises for me were the real locations shown..

but the movie was still able to hold me .. so hats off to the director.

 
At 4:49 AM, Blogger Maverick said...

//Hope they dont start filming of Angels and Demons after the BO success of this movie//
Anon
Sony has already made their announcement of filming Dan Brown's 'Angels & Demons' :)

 
At 6:59 AM, Blogger Preethi said...

Balaji, you are right...though this was not a gr8 movie, it definitely was a good effort. If we accept the fact that any movie based on a book is never going to be as good as the book (which I did) then the movie was a decent one to watch.

 
At 10:20 AM, Anonymous sks said...

haven't seen the movie yet, but read through the book. Also agree with anonymus that a young harrion ford would have been the natural choice. may be with a little bit of speilberg, but then it wouldn't have been an adaptation anymore. Nice review balaji, after reading it i plan wait till it comes to the DVD.

 
At 5:30 PM, Blogger Niraja said...

After I read the book I very badly wanted to see the movie. It was well presented for a 2.5 hrs movie. My disspointment wa tht they had diluted the key issue very much in the movie. The director acted diplomatic in many ways and the issue was not strongly presneted or suppoted as it was in the book. I guess he wanted to please all audiences. So it was just a crime thriller unlike the book which had a better religious aspect. More of those puzzles included in the movie would ve been monotonous and I was glad they did not do it. BTW, Sophie was trying to turn Water into wine since she was from Jesus's bloodline. She was nt trying to walk in it one of the members said. Good movie. Better book. But deserves one visit to the theatre.

 
At 6:41 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

narayanan/ram, interested to know the thots of those who havent read the book. do let us know after u see it :)

rajesh, interesting. i'm sure not reading the book makes a big difference when watching the film...

anon, nicely put :)

kumari, yeah i think they reduced the # of puzzles. a good thing since the word/number puzzles didnt translate too well to screen :)

kuttichuvaru, yeah. the locales were pretty much the best part of the film. a pretty good tour :)

filbert, ebert said in his review that the book is next only to the Bible in sales!! so seeing the film became a must-do event i think. i for one havent such crowds at the theater for a long long time though i have a lotta blockbusters on the opening day...

aravind, yeah some parts just didnt catch my interesting. though i wasnt sure if it was because i knew what would happen or because there was no energy...

anon, thanx. i still think liam neeson would've made the best langdon :)

sundar, hmmm... i thot itd be the other way round since those who havent read it would have a lot of surprises...

mav, that was news to me :)

preeti, yeah if u resign urself to that fact and see the movie for its own merits, this was a pretty good movie...

sks, ford wouldnt have to be too much younger to play langdon :)

niraja, i think he just wanted to avoid controversy and hence diluted the religious stuff. and i too think sophie did try to talk on water. this was in the last few scenes where she kinda dips her toe into the water and hanks makes some comment...

 
At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Vijay said...

Balaji, I liked the novel and the movie. The movie has consumed quite a lot of efforts. The Secular Humanist view is well portrayed by Tom Hanks. Like with anything, it could be better. Worth watching!!

I am glad that the Madras HC let it release in TamilNadu, despite our CM's best efforts to indulge in Vote Bank Politics.

Regards

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger Joe Berenguer said...

Hi there Blogger, a real useful blog.Keep with the good work.
If you have a moment, please visit my big videogame site.
I send you warm regards and wishes of continued success.

 
At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys,
Is Da Vinci Code same as the book Da Vijay Code: The exit of the Nehrus

 
At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No,
Da Vijay Code:The exit of the Nehrus a New York Times best seller speaks of how members of minorities can become head of government(in India it is PM) in America it is President.In India or America a Malayalee or a Naga or in America a Black man cannot become Head of Government. This book speaks of a method to set right this anomaly. This is done by a method called PCR.

 
At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Da Vijay Code: The Exit of the Nehrus is a book on Indian Politics.It has nothing to do with the Da Vinci Code

Pramesh

 
At 6:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Da Vijay Code: The exit of the Nehrus, Da Vinci Code- about Mary Madgalene-we seem to be now caught in a code mania about great historical personalities

 
At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Da Vijay Code: The Exit of the Nehrus promises true fireworks in India like the Da Vinci Code. Has anyone read this book.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home