(2006) dir. Ron Howard
Ugh. This movie really loused up what could have been a pretty fun pop yarn. I had read both the book and Dan Brown’s previous novel featuring the Robert Langdon character, Angels & Devils, which I actually preferred to The Da Vinci Code, though it didn’t make such a cultural impact as the latter. The books are swift, fun reads, adventures, mysteries, and intrigues with a flair toward the intellectual side with their history, art, and criticisms of the duality of science and Catholicism. It sure as hell ain’t Shakespeare, and some elements of the books are pathetically rendered. Also, they are total templates of one another.
But they were fun reads.
I am not sure what Ron Howard was thinking exactly, but this film has a murky darkness and dourness that really casts a shadow on the whole of the film. Any levity and goofiness typically reads here as hardcore seriousness. Tom Hanks winces throughout. Audrey Tatou only smiles at the very end. Everybody is pretty unhappy except for Ian McKellen, who seems to be having a real good time.
I guess that Howard just took this book a lot more seriously than anyone should. And some of the digital effects to show past scenes and imagined thoughts are really really silly. I certainly didn’t harbor any real expectations, but it was still worse than I thought it would be.