Ryan Chartrand

I entered “The Da Vinci Code” expecting the most over-hyped film of the year. After seeing it, however, I realized I’d just seen one of the most over-criticized films of the year.

Whether you’re a Christian or an Atheist, open- or closed-minded, “The Da Vinci Code” will please everyone. There’s really no reason to criticize or request to crucify this film (or the great Ron Howard) – it’s simply fiction. Howard, who directed the movie, was even kind enough to put a very blatant pro-Christian tone to the ending.

Debating whether “The Da Vinci Code” is fiction is meaningless. Deciphering why the critics detest the film with such passion is even more futile. Crack this code fellow critics: Job quit your. Now.

“The Da Vinci Code” is based on a lengthy book by Dan Brown that naturally has an even more elaborate plot. The story covers a wide range of conspiracy theories and ancient legends that claim Jesus Christ was no more than a sidewalk entertainer in San Francisco, except he became the subject of the greatest-selling book of all time instead of getting a quarter chucked at him. The theories draw their “facts” from paintings such as “The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci, which shows a woman, namely Mary Magdalene, sitting next to Jesus.

It isn’t every day you hear the entire religion of Christianity called a “hoax” or Jesus a “fraud.” But don’t let these shocking claims scare you away; it’s all from “fiction land” and by the end of the movie you’ll either laugh at its impossibility or be an annoying old woman and scream out “Oh! For heaven’s sakes! Well, I’ll be!”

On a side note, be prepared for church ladies in attendance.

Obviously, the plot is quite compelling and becomes far more complex as the two and a half hours digress. As noted, however, Howard makes it quite clear that the “bad guys” are anyone who believes these theories are true and anyone fighting against them, such as the splendiferous Tom Hanks, someone obviously worth Googling.

Sadly, the screenplay isn’t the best reproduction of the book. This is mostly because the film is devoid of what readers consider the most fascinating aspect of the book, the “Mona Lisa.” Knowing that so much is left out will obviously inspire people to rush to bookstores, but I suppose there’s also only so much you can fit in a two-and-a-half-hour period.

The acting makes up for any minor direction or screenplay-related complaints that many critics seem to over exaggerate.

But Hanks isn’t the only one who will hook you. Audrey Tautou (“Amelie”) finally makes a performance with an accent that is bearable and worthwhile. Sir Ian McKellen finally takes a role almost unrelated to Gandalf and manages to convey his dynamic character with uncanny passion. And Paul Bettany (“Wimbledon”) steals the show as a somewhat-evil, yet always disturbing monk who enjoys whipping himself and walloping nuns with large stones (imagine if Hanks had accidentally taken that role). The list of talent continues until finally you come to the realization that there really is no way for a film with such a unique story and well-portrayed characters to fail.

I entered “The Da Vinci Code” angered by protestors (even as a Christian myself) and left even more enraged knowing they will still refuse to watch it, no matter how many times I tell them that it ultimately promotes Christianity.

Nevertheless, there are few films, or pure compilations of fiction, that will stimulate, captivate and constantly keep you wanting more this year like this package of joy and lacerations.

Don’t leave the house with just $7 – you’ll later find yourself at a bookstore wondering why you are broke. Don’t blame me, blame Ron Howard.

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