I must say that I am not impressed. This is what I had apprehended. One reason behind the huge success of the worldwide bestseller — with more than 60.5 million copies in print (as of May 2006) — was the great writing style of Dan Brown. Such a complex idea presented in a fast-paced thriller that makes the reader virtually run with the story! The movie has tried to keep up with the pace of the novel but in doing so it has failed to deliver the idea.
The selection of Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou did not do justice to the original characters. Even if I accept Tom Hanks as movie characters are supposed to be heroic. But Sophie Neveu is much more beautiful than Audrey Tautou. I would bet on this. This single selection has spoiled the entire movie. Sophie has green eyes in the book but brown in the movie. Also, Sophie of the book has red hair alluding to her connection to Mary Magdalene; while Audrey’s is brown.
Langdon is seen in the movie to hold far more moderate views towards the Catholic Church who is not ready to accept whatever Teabing explains to him and Neveu. Langdon of movie dismisses most of the Grail story as myth and is skeptical about the Priory of Sion.
- In the book, Teabing claims that over 3 million women were burned at the stake during the witch trials. In the movie, it is Langdon who first posits the figure of 50,000 people, and Teabing who goes on to add that “some people say much more, possibly millions.”
- In the book, Teabing’s claim that Emperor Constantine invented Christ’s divinity is met by Langdon with a “soft nod of concurrence.” In the movie, Langdon passionately challenges this claim of Teabing’s as nonsense.
- Whereas the book states unequivocally that it was the Christians who waged war on the pagans in an attempt to suppress them, in the movie this claim of Teabing’s is met by an assertion from Langdon that we don’t know whether it was the Christians or the Pagans who initiated the violence.
Bezu Fache is shown to be a member of Opus Dei who was instructed by Aringarosa to stop Langdon. In the book, Aringarosa tells Fache about Silas after realizing that he has been cheated.
The role of Opus Dei is less significant in the movie and it appears that Silas is only a cruel murderer – rather than a blindly faithful servant as in the book.
Robert and Sophie easily find the entrance to the tomb beneath the Rosslyn Chapel. However, no such entrance is mentioned in the book and they never find it – the book only says that sonograms have confirmed the existence of the chamber.
The guide of the Rosslyn Chapel is the brother of Sophie, raised by their grandmother. But in the movie, he is said to have died in the accident.
Sauniere is Sophie’s grandfather who brought her up. The grandparents lived separately for the sake of protecting Sophie and her brother. However, in the movie Sauniere is presented as not her real grandfather.
- The answer to Teabing’s second question at the gate changes. In the movie, the question to Langdon is whether he wants milk or lemon with his tea and he answers that it depends on the type of tea they are having. In the book, he is given the choice of milk or sugar, and hesitates before realizing that the correct answer is actually lemon (and that the tea should be Earl Grey, which in the film he was later offered within Teabing’s residence and asked for lemon in response).
- Langdon does not carefully hide the cryptex under furniture to prevent Teabing from discovering it prematurely the way he does in the book.
- In the movie Teabing uses sophisticated computer animation to demonstrate codes in Da Vinci’s paintings; whereas in the book he merely points at prints.
- The name of Rémy Legaludec, Leigh Teabing’s butler, is changed in the film to “Remy Jean”.
- In the novel, Robert and Sophie go to a library in London to discover the relevance of A. Pope. Whereas in the movie they borrow someone’s mobile phone (which had a web browser) on a city bus, after they realize it will take too long to get to the library. Sophie uses feminine attractiveness to borrow the phone (which may introduce a technique not present in the book).
- There is no second cryptex inside the first. The solution to the cryptex (and the mirrored writing found on the panel behind the rose logo on the box) is the same as the second one in the book.
The movie followed the novel chapter by chapter, page by page. However, many things were left out. But I don’t complain to that as all such details cannot be stuffed into a movie. Packing so much facts and information would have made it 6 hours long!
However, many expressed disappointment not to find some portions they liked in the book. Bois de Boulogne — the forest — with its nightly beauty that kindled many a reader’s imagination was absent in the movie — much to the disappointment of many.
Unlike in the book, Langdon and Neveu don’t kiss at the end of the movie. Instead they are shown making farewells. May be Howard did not dare to make Neveu, so-called carrier of the Sang Real (Royal Blood), lock her lips with Langdon.
- In the movie, the members of the Priory of Sion are revealed, but in the book, there is no such reference.
- The significance of this Priory of Sion pagan ritual is never explained by Langdon, as he does in the book.
- The movie makes no verbal reference to the Divine Proportion. However, during a sequence in which Langdon cuts his face shaving, the pattern of the blood droplet in the sink vaguely resembles the shape of the Greek letter Phi. Also, the Bank of Zurich’s emblem closely resembles a Phi.
- No mention is ever made in the movie of the surveillance equipment in the top of the barn at Teabing’s manor, nor of the miniature knight in Sauniere’s office in which a bug had been placed.
- In the movie, Sophie tries to walk on water, and jokes about making water into wine, presumably due to having Jesus’ and Mary’s miracle-making genes or “blood.”
- In the book, there is no such reference. In the movie, Sophie “cures” Robert’s phobia, and there are other very sublime touching moments between them, barely implying that some relationship could continue, but without ever implying romance.
Coming to how much successful the movies has been in conveying the key idea. Well, it has failed miserably on that count. One who has not read the book will not understand a thing. The reaction of such viewers during the movie was “what the hell is happening!” and “what really happened!” at the end. One example will explain it all. The past of Silas shown in the movie is as vague as it can be. And again, only one who has read can follow. It also fails to catch the excitement of breaking the anagrams.
So, in a word, DVC sucks as a movie but is a good supplement to the original bestselling 2003 novel. An inquisitive reader will simply love to see the cryptex in action, the slides of The Last Supper. Seeing the middle-age Rome is also a treat to the historically enthusiastic. Aringarosa with his twisted nose, Silas the Albino, Bezu Fache the bull are more or less the same (appearance-wise) as in the book. Seeing them is also an experience. Corporal mortification was really well presented — some shuddered to see those. The tortures inflicted by the church in the medieval times are also shown with clarity.
Ron Howard must thank Information & Broadcasting minister Priyaranjan Das Munsi for the extra mile he went in spreading the name of DVC further. He postponed the release, himself saw the movie and finally gave it the green signal albeit at the cost of an ‘A’ rating — all this, his critics say, to please ‘madam’ Sonia Gandhi. His detractors go on saying that his efforts, however, were all in vain as Mrs. Gandhi who does not practice Christianity anymore has read the novel long ago and has reportedly ‘liked it’. Surprise, more surprise, Mrs. Gandhi was gifted with the book by none other than Communist leader Sitaram Yechury during the honeymoon period of UPA and the Left. Jokes apart, regarding all the controversies about the movie and several Indian states banning it, I wonder — why wasn’t the book banned in the first place and why is its movie version being targeted? The book given a free hand and the movie facing bans and all that — surely the cinema industry can complain of partiality.
Whether you have seen DVC or not and whether you have liked it or not, you must not miss this — get to read Da Vinci Da Gupt Katha by the one and only Greatbong. Warning: beware, you may die laughing.
Bulleted texts have been taken from Wikipedia.
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