Thursday, May 25, 2006

First: THE DA VINCI CODE Critics

Surfing the Web I found that, basically, those critics who were negative found THE DA VINCI CODE too talky, plodding, stodgy, too literal, and containing too much exposition. Variety film critic Todd McCarthy wrote that the bestseller had been turned into a cinematic "grim thing".

One accused Tom Hanks (Robert Langdon) of performing like a zombie. Some critics found the weight of screenwriter Akiva Goldsman's script too heavy to bear, saying Langdon's lengthy asides on religious and cultural icons choked the story's suspense.

Another critic asserted that there was no chemistry between Hanks and Audrey Tautou (Sophie Neveu). Still others complained that there was too much music, and the film was overly grandiose.

Only one critic that I read confessed that he had not read the book. No wonder he did not get it. I wonder how many others never read the book, either.

Almost all the critics agreed that Sir Ian McKellen was outstanding in the role of Leigh Teabing. I wonder if they will submit him to the Academy as a lead, or supporting actor?

Of course, Opus Dei was negative. Mike Collett-White reported that the conservative Catholic movement depicted as a murderous cult in THE DA VINCI CODE invited media in Rome to one of its vocational schools in a working class section of the Italian capital. The aim was to show off the school's training of young people to be mechanics, electricians and chefs as an example of the good works done by Opus Dei. Opus Dei spokesman Manuel Sanchez Hurtado, referring to the movie said, "Soon this regrettable but fleeting episode will be forgotten. . . . Let us hope that its lessons about mutual respect and understanding are not."

Collett-White also reported that Lou Lumenick of the New York Post was far more upbeat: "Ron Howard's splendid. THE DIVINCI CODE is the Holy Grail of summer blockbusters: a crackling, fast-moving thriller that's every bit as brainy and irresistible as Dan Brown's controversial bestseller."

Sir Ian tried to make light of the controversy. "I'm very happy to believe that Jesus was married," he said. "I know the Catholic Church has problems with gay people and I thought this would be absolute proof that Jesus was not gay."

Director Ron Howard said, "There's no question that the film is likely to be upsetting to some people," Howard told reporters. "My advice, since virtually no one has really seen the movie yet, is to not go see the movie if you think you're going to be upset. Wait. Talk to somebody who has seen it. Discuss it. And then arrive at an opinion about the movie itself. . . . This is supposed to be entertainment, it's not theology."

Next: What Mimi thinks of THE DA VINCI CODE, the movie.

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