Howard’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ worth solving

Amy Weiss

No, it’s not as good as the book. Yes, it’s worth seeing anyway.

Director Ron Howard stays true to the story of The Da Vinci Code, changing little from Dan Brown’s best-selling novel about college professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) and Parisian cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) on their mission to uncover the truth about a conflict between Catholicism and a secret society.

The mysterious murder of Louvre curator Jacques Sauniere sends Langdon and Neveu on a code-breaking quest to find the Holy Grail before corrupt members of the ultra-conservative Catholic sect Opus Dei obtain and destroy it. The Grail is supposed proof that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had a child, and that the bloodline still exists.

Ian McKellen delivers the film’s best performance as quirky scholar Leigh Teabing, an expert on both the Grail and the Priory of Sion, a secret society charged with protecting its location. Sought out by Langdon, Teabing joins the pair in solving Sauniere’s clues to bring them closer to the truth before it’s too late.

Surely the visual version of the book – which has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide – is not going to please everyone. For many readers, the actors, the sets and the lines are not exactly what they pictured, and the two-and-a-half hour film doesn’t hold their interest the same way the page-turner did.

And for those who haven’t read the book, the movie might not provide enough to fully understand an accessible, yet deeply detailed story.

Still, the film is entertaining. Howard employs interesting visual techniques to overlap present and past, and Hans Zimmer composes an enchanting score. For those who’ve read the book, Da Vinci provides a perfect refresher course. For those who haven’t – well, a sizable portion may head straight to Barnes & Noble after the credits.