The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown’s enjoyably preposterous page-turner, with its lurid opening scene of a dying man playing anagrams on the floor of the Louvre, comes to the screen accompanied by the kind of hoopla usually reserved for cultural events of sublime importance—Ben-Hur, say, or Jesus Christ Superstar, or the latest American Idol. In fairness to director Ron Howard, writer Akiva Goldsman and star Tom Hanks, the book would be a challenge to any filmmakers, since it’s essentially just a bunch of cardboard characters running around yakking about ancient history. So, it’s not all Howard’s, Goldsman’s and Hanks’ fault that the movie is a turgid bore, about as lifeless as it could be while still making it through the projector. On the other hand, they didn’t have to drag it out to a seemingly endless 153 minutes.