...comes from John Hiscock of The Daily Telegraph. He writes:
It is clear from the opening scenes, featuring the Louvre curator running in fear through the museum's dark galleries with the homicidal albino monk Silas in pursuit, that this is a film that will race along at a breakneck pace. ...
(Note: Silas's ability to run around at night with great stealth and agility is emarkable, I suppose, considering that people with albinism have poor to very poor vision.)
Although the movie closely follows the book's storyline, Howard delivers something Dan Brown doesn't - dramatic recreations of events relating to the book's central inflammatory theory that for 2,000 years the Catholic Church has been covering up the fact that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and fathered a daughter, whose bloodline has survived into present-day Europe.
As well as scenes of the Inquisition and of women being tortured, burned and drowned, Howard shows Mary Magdalene fleeing the Holy Land for France and giving birth there.
Meanwhile, a few more remarks from Ron Howard about the making of the movie:
Very early on, within weeks after deciding that I wanted to do the movie, Brian Grazer, my producing partner at Imagine, Akiva Goldsman, the writer, and I went on the “Da Vinci Code” tour in London and in Paris. The person giving the tour didn’t know that we were working on the film and that we had already read the novel three or four times each. He kept describing everything about the story in great detail and at a certain point we said, we really know the story. Just drive us to the places and talk about the history. It was great—this blending of real places, verifiable factoids with these conspiracy theories that made the novel popular. During filming, I got to virtually live the Da Vinci Code Tour for about four or five months and it was fun and eye-opening. You do learn a lot about your world.
Perhaps "your world," but not the real world. After all, even Dan Brown's descriptions of modern-day places are full of errors — a remarkable achievement considering how many maps, travel books, and online information are available. But I digress. Back to Howard:
Early on, when I seriously began considering doing the movie, Tom gave me a call and said, “Do you want to talk about ‘The Da Vinci Code’?” He had read it and really liked it. He was intrigued about playing a career academic and man of that [level of] intellect. He had a real instant sense of the character that I thought was absolutely authentic. I really wanted authenticity in the characters to counterbalance the strangeness of the story. One of the things that he kept saying was, “Let’s get as much of the book into the movie as possible.” He was a big advocate of that. He has a fantastic bullshit detector. He wants to try to find the truth in his character and present it as much as possible so he was never interested in trying to turn it into something that it wasn’t—some kind of a superhero, super sleuth of a role.
Dare I suggest that someone's "detector" wasn't working very well when he read and filmed The Da Vinci Code? As for Langdon's vaunted intellect, it was fully exposed as severely lacking on page 298 (hardcover), when it took him an eternity to realize that he (a symbologist!) and Sophie (a detective!) cannot figure out that they are staring at reversed text. "I don't know," Langdon whispered intently, "My first guess is a Semitic, but now I'm not so sure." Uh, how about holding it up to a mirror, brilliant boy? Anyone--and I mean anyone--who has looked at Leonardo da Vinci's sketchbooks will know what they are seeing. But, again, I've strayed. Back to Howard and Hanks:
Frankly, if Tom Hanks did not become an actor, I am really certain that he would have become a high profile academic. He loves history. He loves that kind of problem-solving. He’s fascinated by the world and the way it works, loves to talk and think about it, loves to consider all the possibilities so he took to this character really well.
He loves history. Neat. Quick, Ron and Tom, give us the name of one real art scholar (with a real degree from a real school) who thinks that The Last Supper depicts Mary Magdalene seated to the right of Jesus. Or one biblical scholar who thinks that gnostic texts present a more human, believable Jesus than do the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John (all it takes to prove otherwise is to actually read them. Really, it's that simple). Or any historian who thinks that nobody believed Jesus was divine until A.D. 325. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.