The Da Vinci Code, which opens in North American theaters on Friday, debuted Tuesday at a press screening at the Cannes Film Festival in front of some of the world's toughest critics.
The immediate verdict: "Lukewarm praise, shrugs of indifference, some jeering laughter, and a few derisive jabs," according to The Associated Press.
"I kept thinking of the Energizer Bunny, because it kept going and going and going, and not in a good way," said James Rocchi, a film critic for CBS 5 TV in San Francisco.
Reuters reported that the film left critics cold.
"Nothing really works," said Stephen Schaefer of the Boston Herald. "It's not suspenseful. It's not romantic. It's certainly not fun."
Film criticism aside, USA Today reports that the movie "deviates only subtly" from the book, with the lead character—Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks)—actually entertaining the notion that Jesus might have been divine after all. (Brown's book claims that Christ wasn't God.)
In the film, Langdon says, "History shows Jesus was an extraordinary man. Why couldn't Jesus have been divine and still have been a father?" That line isn't in the book. And near the end of the movie, Langdon says, "What matters is what you believe," also indicating that the film doesn't take quite as hard-line a stance on the question of Christ's divinity.
USA Today also reports that, contrary to rumors, there are no scenes of Jesus and Mary Magdalene romantically involved.
Rick Honeycutt of The Hollywood Reporter writes in his review: "For those who hate [the book], the eagerly awaited and much-hyped movie version beautifully exposes all its flaws and nightmares of logic. For those who love the book's page-turning intensity, the movie version heightens Brown's mischievous ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more