Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Da Vinci Code

posted by jmiller
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, some nudity, thematic material, brief drug references and sexual content.
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Some sexual references, non-sexual nudity
Alcohol/Drugs:Drug user, drug joke
Violence/Scariness:Frequent peril and violence, including shooting, punching, slapping, graphic scenes of mortification of flesh
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie, some characters and situations that may be viewed as heretical or offensive
Movie Release Date:2006
DVD Release Date:2006

A character in this movie’s version of the Catholic organization Opus Dei explains that their mission is to follow doctrine very strictly. That was director Ron Howard’s secular mission as well with this adaptation of the world-wide best-seller. He and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman knew that the fans of the book would want to see every word up on the screen. And that’s pretty much what they give us, a color-by-numbers adaptation of the book instead of a movie.


Indeed, the book was more cinematic than its on-screen version, with little description, a lot of dialogue, and short, propulsive scenes with a lot of cliff-hangers. The very act of adapting it throws it out of balance. What is left to the imagination in the book comes across as heavy-handed and over the top on screen, from the very first appearance of Paul Bettany as Silas, with a sit-com-style Italian accent. The gossamer-thin plot is even wispier on screen and the book’s eneergetic pacing is slowed down by overly cautious and respectful direction. Its equally thin characterizations give even talented and charismatic performers like Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Bettany, and Alfred Molina too little to do. Only Ian McKellen as scholar Leif Teabing brings his character to life.


Hanks plays “symbolgist” Robert Langdon, in Paris to speak about his new book. Policeman Bezu Fache (Jean Reno) asks him to take a look at a recent homicide victim, a curator at the Louvre who had been scheduled to meet with Langdon that day. As Langdon observes the body, naked and arranged in a peculiar way, and the message he wrote in his own blood, they are interrupted by a police cryptographer, Sophie Neveu (Tautou). Soon after, Langdon and Neveu find themselves on the run from the police and some bad guys as they try to solve a mystery that is hundreds of years old.


It is fun to see the real locations portrayed in the book and there are some good twists in the plot. But Hanks looks tired and distracted and Tautou (of the lovely Amelie) does not seem comfortable with the English dialogue. The same is true for some of the Americans and Brits in the cast, though and it’s tough to blame them as some of the lines must have felt like chewing on wood: “We cannot let ego deter us from our goal.” “The mind sees what it chooses to see.” The historical flashbacks are overdone, with the exception of one subtle flicker between present and past that works nicely. Fans of the book may find what they are looking for, but everyone else may feel that it is a watered-down and dragged-out version of an Indiana Jones movie.

Parents should know that the movie has a good deal of peril and violence. Characters are shot, punched, killed in a car crash, and poisoned. There are also explicit scenes of a character hurting himself as an expression of his religious commitment. A character is an intravenous drug user. There is some strong language (spelled out in subtitles when characters swear in French). The movie also has themes that some audience members may find disturbing, even heretical. While the film-makers have stated clearly that the incidents depicted in the film are fantasy, some audience members may be upset by allegations of illegal activity on the part of some church members or the challenges to traditional doctrines.


Families who see this movie should talk about different groups through history that have believed that information needed to be kept from others. They may also want to talk about the views of different religions and cultures and eras about the role of women.


Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy reading the book. They will also enjoy movies like National Treasure, Die Hard 3 (very strong language), Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. They should learn about the real Opus Dei (whose response to the movie is here) and the real-life characters and locations, including Leonardo da Vinci and the Louvre. They may also want to explore some responses and critiques like this one and this one. Author Dan Brown responds here to questions about what is fact and what is fiction in the book and why he believes his book should not be considered offensive but an invitation to exploration and dialogue.



Previous Posts

A Trailer for A Movie You'll Never See: Moonquake Lake with Mila Kunis and Rihanna
"Moonquake Lake" has a lot of star power behind it -- "LEGO Movie" directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord and stars Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Rihanna. And it looks....intriguing, some sort of "Twilight"-style supernatural teen romance. It just isn't real. "Moonquake Lake" is a movie with

posted 3:54:43pm Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

New Additions to the National Film Registry: 2014
The Library of Congress has announced this year's additions to the National Film Registry. 25 “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant titles are added each year, under the terms of the National Film Preservation Act. The films must be at least 10 years old. The Librarian makes

posted 12:34:12pm Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

Black Reel Awards Nominations 2014
One of the great pleasures of this time of year is voting for so many of my favorite filmmakers as a part of the Black Reel Awards. Thanks, as ever, to Tim Gordon for allowing me to participate. I think it is fair to say we had more and better choices this year than we ever have before. Here are

posted 9:14:29am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

A Hannukah Version of "Shake it Off!"
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/NoHp2Rq8sMI?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:41am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Visually stunning, capably presented, and utterly unnecessary, this final in the six-movie Tolkien cycle is just for the fans.  I think even Tolkien himself would cry "no mas" at this p

posted 5:47:22pm Dec. 16, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.