The Da Vinci Code

Release Date: May 19, 2006

Movie of the Day for Thursday, October 14, 2004
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This painting is just chock-full of hidden meaning.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
50/52 Les Winan A book with one interesting idea but terrible writing becomes a movie with the same problems but more boredom.
58/65 Kim Hollis Yawn. If not for Ian McKellen, who's obviously having a lot of fun, this film would be a complete bust.
59/68 Michael Bentley A boring, tiresome, confusing mess that thoroughly wastes its strong cast and interesting premise.
63/76 Dan Krovich Adaptation completely without energy.
97/200 Max Braden Too earnest and yet too unmoving at the same time.
133/159 David Mumpower Akiva Goldsman and Ron Howard somehow managed to mess up a storyline I had previously considered impossible to mess up.

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A book that always seemed ready-made for a theatrical adaptation, Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code is indeed getting the big screen treatment in grand fashion. Following up their Academy Award winning collaboration on A Beautiful Mind, screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and director Ron Howard will be working together to turn this monster best-seller into a major motion picture.

The story centers around a Harvard "symbologist" named Robert Langdon, who studios will almost certainly be hoping to turn into an Indiana Jones for the 21st century. While in Paris on business, Langdon gets an urgent phone call late at night. It seems the elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum. Police have found a strange cipher near the body that they cannot make out, and ostensibly have sought Langdon's assistance to help them suss it out. In reality, though, they see Langdon as a potential suspect because his name is on the curator's calendar.

As Langdon works to solve the riddle - and clear his own good name - his stunning discoveries lead him to learn that some clues are hidden in works by Da Vinci himself - clues that anyone can see, but that have been very cleverly disguised by the infamous painter. A gifted French cryptologist named Sophie Neveu helps Langdon to escape the gendarmes so that he can investigate unimpeded, and together the two discover that the late curator was involved in a secret society known as the Priory of Sion - a society whose past members have included such notaries as Botticelli, Sir Isaac Newton, Da Vinci and Victor Hugo.

Langdon and Neveu trace the mystery through Paris, London and rural parts of England as they contend with an unknown powerbroker who somehow seems to know all of their next moves. If our heroes are unable to decipher the puzzle in time, the Priory's secret - one with monumental historical and religious implications - will be lost. On the other hand, if they find the secrets they seek, the very foundations of Christianity and Catholicism will be shattered.

Though no casting decisions have been made at this point, a number of heavyweights are in the running for the role of Langdon. So far, names mentioned include Russell Crowe (who works well with Howard and makes a great deal of sense), George Clooney, Tom Hanks and Hugh Jackman. Since this is a high-profile role that will have an opportunity to be turned into a franchise, it will be fascinating to see how things develop. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Da Vinci Code
Main Cast Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno
Supporting Cast Ian McKellen, Alfred Molina, Paul Bettany
Director Ron Howard
Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman
Distributor Sony/Columbia
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Running Time 149 minutes
Screen Count 3,735
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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