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the da vinci code priory of sion prieure de sion

When Jacques Sauniere (Jean-Pierre Marielle) is found dead in the Louvre, his body arranged like Leonarda da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man and a pentagram painted with blood on his bare chest, Harvard Professor and symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks – as boring as it sounds) who happens to be in Paris is asked for help by the French police. Together with cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou – nice) he gets sucked into a secret war between ancient and secret societes, the mysterious Prieure de Sion (Priory of Sion) and Opus Dei being the most prominent of them. And he goes on a long paper chase to uncover the secret of the Holy Grail / Sang Real / Royal Blood – the alleged secret that Jesus was married to Maria Magdalena and had progeny. Who still live amongst us.
‘Alleged’ secret? Well, the story is not exactly shocking latest news. The 1982 book Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln tells this story – not as fiction, but as the result of years of investigation. And Dan Brown’s bestseller The Da Vinci Code tells the same story – this time as fiction. The book was published in 2003.

Those who have read the book(s) or are familiar with the tale can sit it out, enjoy the performance of Ian McKellen (wo is an excellent Sir Leigh Teabing) and the nice camera-work while ticking off solved riddles and visited locations. Viewers who don’t know anything about the story in advance (i may be mistaken here because i’m quite familiar with the books and legends) will probably find the plot to be as mysterious and elusive as the legendary Prieure de Sion itself, and may resort to clinging onto familiar faces (“this is Tom Hanks, he must be the hero, even if he is totally boring”, “a big part of this movie playing in France, i was just waiting for Jean Reno to appear!”, “isn’t this Doc Ock from Spider-Man 2? (Alfred Molina) Surely he must be the bad guy”, “hmmm, Gandalf … probably a good guy. But he’s also Magneto from the X-Men. Might be a bad guy after all”).

Hans Zimmer’s score will also leave no doubt about what are the interesting / exciting / emotional scenes, and the obtrusive use of flashbacks will make it totally clear which character suffers from which childhood trauma and why. It’s as if director Ron Howard didn’t trust his actors to properly communicate their emotions and wanted to be really sure you get it! Of course it might also be scriptwriter Akiva Goldsman’s fault – he of Batman and Robin fame. Howard and Goldsman also stole the riddle-solving scenes from their own movie A Beautiful Mind and mixed it a bit with Tom Cruise’s virtual-desktop-gesticulations from Minority Report.

All in all the film is not badly acted and still a gazillion times better than National Treasure, but suffers from a totally unimaginative script and direction and a lack of originality, so only one burning question remains: What was the purpose of making this film? Read the book(s)!

One Response to “THE DA VINCI CODE by Ron Howard”

  1. Movie Review » ANGELS & DEMONS by Ron Howard Says:

    […] next Dan Brown mystery thriller after The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons again tells of an adventure by Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom […]

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