I just come back watching the Da Vinci Code. My initial reaction was that it was very well adapted from the book. The book itself wasn't too long (unlike LOTR) but Ron Howard adapted it well into the movie format.
They say no publicity is bad publicity and Da Vinci code has had its fair share of publicity owing to the controversial topic of the movie. A lot of reviews have been influenced by this "negative" publicity. Reviews from the showing at Cannes say that Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou don't have chemistry. People are forgetting that the characters are not supposed to have actual chemistry, Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu are characters which are paired up not by love or anything, but my a mystery. Its an academic meeting another academic. They don't know each other, never did. You don't need too much chemistry for that.
One thing which stood out to me when the movie was announced and even today is the cast of the movie. Sir Ian McKellen as Sir Leagh Teabing, Jean Reno as Bezu Fache and Paul Bettany as Silas. Friggin Perfect! I couldn't have found someone better. When I was reading the book the first person which came to my mind was Sir Ian McKellen, he seems perfect for the part as the Sir Teabing. Jean Reno has played similar roles in the past and brings good flair to the role of Bezu Fache, the captain investigating the murder. Paul Bettany's acting as Silas is very good also, he fits well into the role the mad monk follower of Opus Dei .
But, not the same can be said of Tom Hanks. Don't get me wrong, Tom Hanks handled the role extremely well. However, Tom Hanks does not come across as a professor type person, and at that in a field like religious symbology. One could say, there is no chemistry between Robert Langdon and Tom Hanks itself.
The film rolls well, from one plot to the other, with relevant sub-plots weaving the story together. However some would critique that parts of the movie are too wordy. A JS Online Review says "…the film never uses a picture when thousand words will do". I care to disagree, there are certain elements of the book which can't be done in that sense. The concept of the movie is religion and specifically religious fanaticism (opus dei, priory, templar?). That cannot be done by pictures. No sir.
The movie sticks to the book. But it fails to bring the emotion, the flair, the thrilling suspense which the book brought. Ron Howard stuck by the book and played it safe, unfortunately it did not garner the same results as the book.
Excellent Fiction, Excellent Book, an OK movie, a must watch though if you have read the book. 4/5.
If you haven't read the book, don't bother watching the movie. Read the book. Also Chrono has some links to the reviews, reactions to the movie. All in all I consider it to be well worth the 20 bucks I spent (Movie Popcorn is expensive :().