The Da Vinci Code & Angels and Demons DVD|
The Da Vinci Code: Critics and controversy aside, The Da Vinci Code is a verifiable blockbuster. Combine the film's huge worldwide box-office take with over 100 million copies of Dan Brown's book sold, and The Da Vinci Code has clearly made the leap from pop-culture hit to a certifiable franchise (games and action figures are sure to follow). The leap for any story making the move from book to big screen, however, is always more perilous. In the case of The Da Vinci Code, the story is concocted of such a preposterous formula of elements that you wouldn't envy Akiva Goldsman, the screenwriter who was handed a potentially unfilmable book and asked to make a filmable script out of it. Goldsman's solution was to have the screenplay follow the book as closely as possible, with a few needed changes, including a better ending. The result is a film that actually makes slightly better entertainment than the book. So if you're like most of the world, by now you've read the book and know that it starts out as a murder mystery. While lecturing in Paris, noted Harvard Professor of Symbology Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is summoned to the Louvre by French police help decipher a bizarre series of clues left at the scene of the murder of the chief curator, Jacques Sauniere. Enter Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), gifted cryptologist and Sauniere's granddaughter. Neveu and Langdon are forced to team up to solve the mystery, and from there the story is propelled across Europe as it balloons into a modern-day mini-quest for the Holy Grail, complete with alternative theories about the life of Christ, ancient secret societies headed by historical figures like Leonardo Da Vinci, secret codes, conniving bishops, daring escapes, car chases, and, of course, a murderous albino monk controlled by a secret master who calls himself "The Teacher." Taken solely as a mystery thriller, the movie almost works--despite some gaping holes--mostly just because it keeps moving forward at the breakneck pace set in the book. Brown's greatest trick might have been to have the entire story take place in a day so that the action is forced to keep going, despite some necessary pauses for exposition. Hanks and Tautou are just fine together but not exactly a memorable screen pair; meanwhile, Sir Ian McKellen's scenery-chewing as pivotal character Sir Leigh Teabing is just what the film needs to keep it from taking itself too seriously. In the end, this hit movie is just like a good roller-coaster ride: try not to think too much about it--just sit back and enjoy the trip. --Daniel Vancini, Amazon.com Angels & Demons: If the devil is in the details, there's a lot of wicked fun in Angels & Demons, the sequel (originally a prequel) to The Da Vinci Code. Director Ron Howard delivers edge-of-your-pew thrills all over the Vatican, the City of Rome, and the deepest, dankest catacombs. Tom Hanks is dependably watchable in his reprised role as Professor Robert Langdon, summoned urgently to Rome on a matter of utmost urgency--which happens to coincide with the death of the Pope, meaning the Vatican is teeming with cardinals and Rome is teeming with the faithful. A religious offshoot group, calling themselves the Illuminati, which protested the Catholic Church's prosecution of scientists 400 years ago, has resurfaced and is making extreme, and gruesome, terrorist demands. The film zooms around the city, as Langdon follows clues embedded in art, architecture, and the very bone structure of the Vatican. The cast is terrific, including Ewan McGregor, who is memorable as a young protégé of the late pontiff, and who seems to challenge the common wisdom of the Conclave just by being 40 years younger than his fellows when he lectures for church reform. Stellan Skarsgard is excellent as a gruff commander of the Swiss Guard, who may or may not have thrown in with the Illuminati. But the real star of the film is Rome, and its High Church gorgeousness, with lush cinematography by Salvatore Totino, who renders the real sky above the Vatican, in a cataclysmic event, with the detail and majesty of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. --A.T. Hurley, Amazon.comfrom£6.49 | RRP:
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 or region free DVD player in order to play The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown&39;s international bestseller comes alive in the film The Da Vinci Code directed by Ron Howard with a screenplay by Akiva Goldsman Join symbologist Robert Langdon (Academy Award(r) Winner Tom Hanks 1993 Best Actor Philadelphia and 1994 Best Actor Forrest Gump) and cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou) in their heart-racing quest to solve a bizarre murder mystery that will take them from France to England -- and behind the veil of a mysterious ancient society where they discover a secret protected since the time of Christ Angels & Demons A new Pope is to be chosen There are 4 candidates The Illuminati want to make them decision themselves As the prospective candidates are killed off one by one the killer lets it be known that he is from the Illuminati but what do they want? Renowned symbologist Robert Langdon is called upon to investigate clues leading him to the Vatican and on a quest for a massively destructive weapon Actors Tom Hanks Audrey Tautou Ian McKellen Alfred Molina Jurgen Prochnow Paul Bettany Jean Reno Etienne Chicot Clive Carter Ayelet Zurer Ewan McGregor Stellan Skarsgard David Pasquesi Cosimo Fusco Allen Dula & Armin Mueller-Stahl Director Ron Howard Certificate 12 years and over Year 2006 ; 2009 Screen Widescreen Languages English - Dolby Digital (51)
Average Rating for The Da Vinci Code & Angels and Demons - 3 out of 5
(based on 1 user reviews)
The Da Vinci Code & Angels and DemonsJohn Taylor
As 'airport pulp' Dan Brown's novels are world beaters, but turning his clue-laden webs of intricate discovery into screenable movies presents writers and directors with a problem even Harvard Professor hero Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) would need more than his usual 3 minutes to solve. And therein lies the problem.
Imagine the scene: tension mounts as our hero and his tag-along lady 'helper' prepare to open the latest box/door/painting/book/ (insert as appropriate) to reveal some astonishing secret that will transform the world, (or maybe just another clue). "Are you going to open it?" she asks. "Yes" he replies, key poised, "I am about to reveal an ancient secret hidden for centuries by generations of specially-chosen members of an ultra-secret organisation, the very existence of which has been denied for all that time yet whose members have included some of the most powerful men of their generations, and which has been handed down the years from templar knights to Venetian traders, and on down the years to this very night". I made that up, but you get the idea. "Just open it!!" you wail, in agony.
Don't blame screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (I am Legend; I Robot). By not using a 'third person' narrator - a disembodied storyteller - and delivering massive quantities of historical explanation as dialogue Brown's books are full of such excruciating moments. Faced with filming it the only alternatives would be continuous voiceover or more subtitles than a Chinese martial arts masterpiece! No wonder the results can be a little stilted.
Yet amazingly, even this dialogue-heavy awkwardness fails to spoil what, in the end, are two perfectly entertaining movies shot with, at times, an eye-smacking quality of cinematography. 'Angel and Demons' in particular, with it's principle setting in and around Vatican city, makes what probably ranks as the best ever job of capturing the awe-inspiring grandeur and beauty of that incredible space, better even than some of the most lovingly-compiled BBC historical and architectural documentaries. Even 'The Da Vinci Code' does a creditable job of presenting such fascinating places as the Louvre, Westminster Abbey, London's Temple church and the astonishing Rosslyn chapel.
Perhaps lesser screen figures than Hanks, Ian MacKellen, Ewen MacGregor, Audrey Tatou, Jean Reno and Stellan Skarsgard would fail to make Brown's characters work. Perhaps a less accomplished Director than Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, and Frost/Nixon) would fumble the whole thing. As it is, it does work. Ignore the highbrow critics, and enjoy these for what they are - two cracking good yarns, enjoyably told.
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