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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Da Vinci Code
Extended Cut


Starring: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Paul Bettany and Jean Reno
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 04 May 2009

Noted symbologist Professor Robert Langdon and police cryptologist Sophie Neveu go on a heart-racing quest to unearth the biggest cover-up in human history. Langdon is called to the Louvre Museum late one night where a curator has been murdered, leaving behind a mysterious trail of symbols and clues. With his own survival at stake, Langdon unveils a series of stunning secrets hidden in the artwork of Leonardo Da Vinci, all leading to a covert society dedicated to guarding an ancient secret that has remained hidden for 2000 years. The pair set off on a frantic quest through Paris, London and Scotland, collecting clues as they desperately attempt to crack the code and reveal secrets that will shake the very foundations of mankind...

Before we start I want to get something off my chest. I've never read The Da Vinci Code novel. There, I've said it... and I feel much better for it. Don't pity me... I've never wanted to and even having watched the movie I still have no interest in reading it. But I digress...

The Da Vinci Code is an entertaining movie, but you have to totally suspend disbelief while viewing. If you start to think about it too much then you'll soon start to realise that some of the plot twists are a little too silly to be taken seriously.

Without ruining anything for the one other person on the planet who hasn't read the book or already seen the film... Why is a certain person allowed to go out and get a career instead of being told who they are and kept a little safer? Why does the Depository Bank of Zurich ask for a PIN number as well as the insertion of a key? As the official there says he's been waiting for over 20 years for someone to come and retrieve that box this means that no one has been there for 20 years - which means that the person who opened the account would have had to have entered the PIN number over 20 years ago. But surely this would have been opened many years before that - as it implies the official wasn't there when the account was opened (as he'd know who opened it). It must be one of the oldest accounts they have and he is simply intrigued (otherwise he'd surely have been looking forward to any of the boxes over 20 years being opened). And, if the account is one of the oldest they have surely a PIN number wouldn't have been issued as they would not have been in use.

It was interesting to see that almost every character in the movie, with the exception of Langdon, is not who or what you think they are when you first meet them. These twists and turns do help to keep the viewer on their toes, but also make for an interesting second viewing too.

This release is the Extended Cut which apparently includes an additional 28 minutes of footage that was cut from the theatrical and DVD releases. Sadly there's no indication of what additional material has been inserted back into the film (other than a brief mention in one of the featurettes where we learn that a flashback of Silas's earlier life has been reinstated).

This movie also had one scene - the car crash scene - which totally shook me up. This, more than any other scene in the movie, made me realise what a master at his art Ron Howard is. I don't often jump, or get totally shocked when watching films, but this short sequence was so unexpected.

Extras include BD Live and Cinechat (which didn't work on either the Blu-ray player or PS3 we have here in the office - despite both being connected to quite a powerful Internet connection). Cinechat is potentially a neat idea. Here you can chat with a group of friends while watching the movie. It's a little like MSN on your Blu-ray player. Unlocking the Code Interactive Picture in Picture (this allows you to watch the movie and then access more information on various aspects of the film when different icons appear); Selected Scenes Commentary with Director Ron Howard (38 min, 25 sec commentary which can be watched as one feature, or broken into different segments. Here Howard provides commentary on certain scenes and aspects he thinks are important); and Angels and Demons (This is introduced by Howard (1 min, 05 sec) and then goes on to show a full scene from the next movie in the franchise as well as a trailer (7 min, 26 sec)).

Disc two includes First Day on the Set with Ron Howard (2 min, 13 secs look at the Louvre shoot); A Discussion with Dan Brown (4 min, 52 sec); A Portrait of Langdon (7 min, 18 sec exploration of Langdon as a character); Who is Sophie Neveu (6 min, 58 sec); Unusual Suspects (17 min, 58 sec look at the main characters who are not what they at first appear. This also includes interviews with all of the actors); Magical Places (15 min, 58 sec look at the locations); Close-up on Mona Lisa (6 min, 37 sec); The Filmmaker's Journey Part One (24 min, 40 sec behind the scenes featurette); The Filmmaker's Journey Part Two (12 min, 20 sec); The Codes of The Da Vinci Code (5 min, 33 sec look at some of the hidden codes in the movie - some are clever, others not so); The Music of The Da Vinci Code (2 min, 54 sec); Book to Screen (11 min, 06 sec); The Da Vinci Props (9 min, 43 sec look at the intricate and expensive props made for the film); The Da Vinci Sets (9 min, 10 sec); Re-creating Works of Art (6 min, 03 sec feature that shows how hundreds of works of art were re-created. I thought they'd just have photocopied them and then added a finish, but apparently they were created from scratch); The Visual Effects World of The Da Vinci Code (15 min, 03 sec); Scoring The Da Vinci Code (9 min, 44 sec) and trailers for other releases.

While this is an entertaining movie, I seriously question Sony's decision to spread the material across two Blu-ray discs when this would have easily fitted onto a single disc. But then you can't really grumble as the RRP is under £20. It would have been interesting if the original theatrical cut of the movie had also been included.

As long as you switch your brain off before watching, and just go along for the ride, then you'll enjoy this movie. Just don't start picking at the plot threads, otherwise you'll soon seen that the whole movie falls apart.


Darren Rea

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