(If you haven’t yet, read my long, philosophical review of The Da Vinci Code)
I saw the movie a few days ago, and so I thought I’d make a short list of some important ways that it was different than the book:
- The movie’s plot was less complicated.
- Langdon was more of a spineless religioid. (In the book, he knew about, and believed, the Priory’s story. In the movie, he calls it a “myth”, tacks “according to the Priory myth” on the end of all his statements, and argues unconvincingly about it with Teabing–using much the same arguments as moviegoers would expect frustrated Christians to use). Ultimately he comes across as having gone on a journey of personal discovery, which is not at all the character of the book.
- Bezu Fache was more of a religious fanatic, and a forensic dupe (as opposed to the brilliant, hard-as-nails police captain from the novel).
- Teabing was a much more lively character than I would have assumed from the book.
- The conclusion, especially regarding Sophie’s family, was far less satisfying.
Apart from the Teabing bit, all of these were disappointments. The one change I really liked about the movie was the part where Robert finds the seal under the sign of the rose in the keystone. It is covered with “mysterious writing” (in reality, just English written reflectedly). In the book, the characters agonize for a long time over its deciphering. But it is quite clearly (there’s a picture in the book) English. In the movie, Robert takes one glance at it and says, “We need a mirror,” as any non-catatonic English-speaker would. So it cleared up one embarrassment.
Now, mostly what I want to talk about is two broader-picture statements which occurred in the movie explicitly but not in the book. As we will see, it’s to Dan Brown’s credit that he didn’t write such laughable dialogue into the novel. (Or if he did, it was done in such a way that I missed it).