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Ron Howard illustrates The Da Vinci Code
By JEFFREY GANTZ  |  May 19, 2006
2.0 2.0 Stars

What’s left is 454 pages crammed into 149 minutes — which means the plot is even more confusing. Howard has wisely reduced the two cryptexes to one; Bézu Fache has an affiliation that’s not mentioned in the book, there are changes in the character of Vernet and the relationship of Opus Dei and the Vatican, and Sophie throws in some 007-like pyrotechnics behind the wheel of her SmartCar. The movie also attempts to placate Christians by having Langdon challenge Leigh Teabing’s more ridiculous notions, but Howard and Hanks make a wimpy job of it, particularly since we’ve just seen lurid flashbacks of Templars and witches being burned by the Church that would make Cecil B. DeMille blush. Ian McKellen overplays and undercuts Sir Leigh, enjoying himself while Hanks and Tautou stand around looking glum; it makes you wonder what Bill Murray — with a different director — might have done as Langdon. (Or Ethan Hawke with Julie Delpy . . . ) Paul Bettany’s Silas and Alfred Molina’s Aringarosa go the caricature route, having no scope to do anything else; Jean Reno hints at a more complex Bézu Fache. Hans Zimmer’s score is by turns suspense-lite, romantic-lite, devotional-lite.

Hanks finds himself at the very end, when he kneels before the Louvre’s Inverse Pyramid and Brown’s clever concluding conceit is revealed, but if The Da Vinci Code had any truth in it, Langdon would have knelt before Sophie. Bogus book, bogus movie.
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