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Finally, Someone Who Likes the Da Vinci Code

By Brian | May 18, 2006 | Share on Facebook

Back in early April, I predicted the success of The Da Vinci Code movie:

Mark my words: this movie is going to be the next Titanic. It’s going to make a billion dollars. And the irony is, a lot of its business is going to be driven by these paranoid religious folks who seem so desparate to prove to us what we already know – that it’s just a story.

Since it’s debut at the Cannes Film Festival, there’s been a slight hitch in the plan, though: everyone seems to have hated it. As of this writing, 23 of the 29 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are negative, and the average rating is a mere 4.8 out of 10.

This came as a bit of a shock to me for two reasons: 1) I really enjoyed the book, and 2) I just can’t imagine that Ron Howard and Tom Hanks, two of the most talented movie guys working today, could come together for such a clunker.

Today, though, Roger Ebert’s review came out. I like Ebert’s reviews because he tends to like the same kinds of movies I like, and also because he usually does a good job of explaining why he likes or doesn’t like a movie. In this case, I think he sheds some light on why the bulk of reviewers panned this film:

The movie works; it’s involving, intriguing and constantly seems on the edge of startling revelations. After it’s over and we’re back on the street, we wonder why this crucial secret needed to be protected by the equivalent of a brain-twister puzzle crossed with a scavenger hunt. The trail that Robert and Sophie follow is so difficult and convoluted that it seems impossible that anyone, including them, could ever follow it. The secret needs to be protected up to a point; beyond that it is absolutely lost, and the whole point of protecting it is beside the point.

In other words, it’s hard to follow. I guess your average movie reviewer sees this as a bad thing; though I rather expected it from this movie. In fact, having read the book, I can’t imagine how anyone would walk into the film and not expect it to require a lot of thinking. Maybe because it’s in the “Summer Blockbuster” category?

At any rate, I’m still looking forward to seeing it, if for no other reason than to see which of the critics I agree with. And I still stand by my claims that the movie will set box office records (OK, $1 billion might have been pushing it, especially if it doesn’t receive critical acclaim), but heck – Titanic only scored 86% on Rotten Tomatoes (7.7/10) and it hit the mark…

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