The Da Vinci Code

(i)

 

Slow-moving, talky translation of popular novel.
  • Review Date: November 14, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 147 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

To protect a secret, characters kill, lie, rob, and injure -- while others are determined to uncover the truth. The movie's plot presumes upon long-standing, deep-seated cover ups among very important people.

Positive role models

Langdon is resourceful and very intelligent; his determination to uncover the truth never flags. But other characters are far less worth emulating, whether because they lie and betray others or because they purposely harm themselves.

Violence

Shooting murder opens the film; Silas whips and cuts himself, showing blood and cringing/grimacing in pain; grainy flashback scenes repeatedly show violence (Crusades/knights, battles/armies, witch hunts/burnings, visualizing various narrations of "history"); personal flashbacks include Silas' abuse as a child, young Robert trapped in a well, and young Sophie crying/afraid in the harrowing car accident that killed her parents. General action includes shootings, fisticuffs, poisoning, kicks/slaps; Silas kills a nun by smashing her head; blood on shirts and faces.

Sex

Some famous paintings show women's naked body parts; Silas appears naked as he performs self-flagellation (you see only his backside and close-ups of limbs); discussion of gender roles includes mention of penises (emblem of "male aggression").

Language

Some swearing, including French with subtitles ("s--t," "bastard") and English ("Jesus," "hell").

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the movie opens with a brutal murder and includes several other bloody scenes, including a naked man beating himself. The subject matter is too convoluted to interest young kids, so unless you want to shush them, leave them home. A couple of characters use mild profanity, although most of the cursing shows up in French and in subtitles. SPOILER ALERT: The film's plot, based on Dan Brown's best-selling novel, suggests that the Catholic Church has for centuries repressed the "truth" that Jesus was human, married Mary Magdalene, and fathered a daughter. Some viewers may find the issues raised -- Jesus' divinity and the Church's cover-up -- upsetting.

What's the story?

When world-renowned symbologist Dr. Langdon (Tom Hanks) is called by Parisian policeman Capt. Fache (Jean Reno) to consult on a murder case, the scholar is briefly flattered, then daunted when he learns he is a suspect, owing to a note left by the victim. Along with the victim's granddaughter, cryptologist Sophie (Audrey Tautou), Langdon tries to decipher the message, which begins with the victim's arranging of his own body to approximate Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. "Symbols," says the doctor early on, "are a language that can help us understand our past." The film reveals various characters' pasts, including the murderer's (a self-flagellating albino Opus Dei monk named Silas [Paul Bettany]), Sophie's, Langdon's, and significant events in history. Robert and Sophie end up on a kind of scavenger hunt from Paris to London, and are tracked by Fache and aided by Robert's colleague, Sir Teabing (Ian McKellen), who claims to be thrilled to be on a "grail quest." The mystery involves a Catholic Church's cover-up -- for thousands of years -- concerning Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Based on Dan Brown's bestseller, THE DA VINCI CODE is surprisingly unwieldy and conventional, despite and because of the controversy surrounding it. While the movie often looks like it's offering subjective views into Robert Langdon's mind, in effect these images are silly and slow. The special effects are unconvincing as paintings and sculptures move, and the explanatory voice-overs tend to repeat what's obvious.

For all the mystical blurring of edges, the film doesn't make smart connections between periods or characters, and it offers too much explanation and tedious literal flashbacks. The untangling of all the plot strands leads not to an interrogation of various institutions (academe, the cops, the Church), but to a pile-on of much less interesting personal pathologies.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's premise and the controversy it has inspired. How does the controversy help to promote the movie?

  • What's the appeal of conspiracy theories?

  • If you've read the book, how does the movie compare?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 19, 2006
DVD release date:November 14, 2006
Cast:Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Tom Hanks
Director:Ron Howard
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Genre:Thriller
Run time:147 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:disturbing images, violence, some nudity, thematic material, brief drug references and sexual content

This review of The Da Vinci Code was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written byhotkat144 April 9, 2008

LOVED IT

I absolutly LOVED this movie
Teen, 16 years old Written bymovieman09 April 9, 2008
Teen, 16 years old Written bymoviemogul April 9, 2008

Go Read the Book... It's So Much Better

This movie adaption is only alright, as it moves at a much slower pace and can drag alon g sometimes, unlike tht book's much better pacing. It feels more like a slow moving (fictional) history lesson or something of the sort, rather than the first-rate thriller it should've been. But for those concerned about the religious controversy, don't worry too much, as Ron Howard decided to take out the questioning of JESUS's divinty, and also made Langdon somewhat spiritual. I consider myself a devout (albeit, young) Catholic, and reading the book changed me in no way, and I think can actually strengthen one's faith (for all you good, Catholic parents worried about the content). But anyways, go read the book, and you'll have a much better time.

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