The Da Vinci Code

FTLComm - Tisdale - Wednesday , May 24, 2006


My brother was reluctant to go to this movie, he said he felt he should finish the book first. Sadly, Harry Porter and Lord of the Rings punished most movie goers who had not read the book first. The idea of a movie is that it is just that, a movie, a story told in pictures and sound that must stand on its own, no prior study and no notes to have gone over first.

When you take a novel, especially a big one with more than 400 pages, screen writers are faced with a difficult task. If you leave out important parts to make the thing fit the limited time period, you will ruin the story, if you fit in all the details, you may simply swamp the viewer in a data stream.

For those who have read the book and I am not one of them, but I take my wife's word for it, Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code, is a yarn spinner. He tells stories and he tells them well, he does not pretend to be a writer of literature, he is a potboiler storyteller.

For many of us the story line, the plot, is the essence of a book, or a movie, and for others, they prefer character development, or just lots of raw action. I am one of those who enjoys a good story and Hollywood has been pretty short on good stories lately relying upon explosions, computer assisted graphics and old television shows. The Da Vinci Code is one heck of a story. Roger Ebert complains in his review that neither Dan Brown's novel, or the movie version, by Ron Howard, has a plausible plot. Fine Roger, I don't care and I am betting neither will most readers or movie viewers. The movie the Da Vinci Code is just outstanding.


Ron Howard is a master craftsman, he know how to tell a story and his Oscars are proof of his ability. In this motion picture he gets the movie makers bag of tricks and uses most of them to tell a very complex story, but you are not going to have to ask your wife, or significant other "what the heck was that about" after the movie. The story is there relying upon what you see to guide you swiftly through historical events and various intrigues.


The secret to telling a plausible story is make it as close to the truth as possible and include some truth in the story. Here Ron Howard pulls out the stops and uses a lot of money to make a few twenty second clips that show scenes of historical events that freeze in your memory, then he throws in some computer magic to assist a historian fill in some blanks. To make things even more interesting the places involved in the story are real, you can actually go and see those places.

But you need a whole lot more to make a great movie than a complex whirlwind story line and this movie delivers. The sound track, which is the emotional language in a movie, any movie, is the catch that leads you from the opening scene to the end. Music, sound effects and sound scapes that open you up to the action on the screen.

Now for those who are action junkies, the Da Vinci Code has more than its share but just as Buckhiemer has in movies like Top Gun, Ron Howard does not bother with a lot of details that just get in the way of moving things along. The leading characters have a series of really close escapes and in most of them the director chooses to hint at how they got out of the trap and on to the next phase of the adventure.

Characters that the viewer can identify with and like are the strong element in every movie that we come out of the theatre glad that we seen that movie. In this movie Tom Hanks shows us the fragile side of his character and we believe him. The young woman who is more than the side kick in this one is equally special and the movie takes time to give us insight into both these people and make us root for their continued escape after escape.

Much was made of the religious aspects of this story before the movie was released, but no one who has viewed the movie would mistake it for the gospel according to Dan Brown, its a story, it involves the Catholic church and peripheral organisations related to the church, but this is an all out story.

The Da Vinci Code is showing in Melfort this week and next week until a week from Friday so do yourself a favour and go to a movie you will enjoy and you will have definitely got your money's worth.




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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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