The moving picture, now for over a century, has been entertaining the people. Right from the voiceless, emotion induced drama to the mellifluous dialogue-laden action thrillers that seem to be the trend today. The ideas behind the films over the past decade show a significant amount of recurrence. To battle the existing consistency and to break the monopoly of the cinema, directors turn to bestselling books for inspiration.
This was more of a marketing strategy rather than the artist’s urging desire to recreate the romance the book did. The fact that the book was already a bestseller provides the producer certainty that the film will do good among the public. The anxiousness that whether the film will be a hit is almost immediately substantiated. Secondly, the need to pay a scriptwriter is also eliminated. This is a disregard to the author who must have spent months or even years to carefully formulate an idea into a 400-odd page novel. For all this, the author gets the picayune amount of selling copyright that is about five-percent of the film’s budget. Thirdly, the directors, in order to make that film more appealing, alter important facts and events by reasoning them unnecessary thereby resulting in a chicanery of the public.
Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, stated in an interview, “If I’m not at my desk by 4:00 A.M., I feel like I’m missing my most productive hours.” In addition he also hung up gravity boots near his desk so that they could provide him different perspectives on the story. Moreover, he would keep an hourglass by his table to do push ups, sit ups and stretches regularly in order to keep his blood flow. One can only imagine waking up as early as he did, doing all he did and writing chapters, day after day, for years to produce a bestseller. Then came a guy, Ron Howard, calling himself a director who stated, with utter shamelessness that he will take this novel from the table of the readers to the projector in the cinemas.
The film released in 2006, apparently six years after the novel. By then the public had forgotten The Da Vinci Code enough to visit the multiplex to revive the experience again. The first few minutes into the film lived exactly up to the reader’s experience. Then the con started. The assassin from Opus Dei who drives an Audi in the novel is given a cost-effective Renault in the film. The two cryptexes are abridged into one, thus lessening the mystic capabilities of the protagonist, Robert Langdon. The talk about the sex-ritual that takes place between Robert and Sophie in the plane is missing. The Teacher, later revealed as Leigh Teabing, kills his own servant in the open, unlike in the car as stated in the novel. And the gravest of the cons come towards the end when they discover the location of Holy Grail by themselves contrary to that in the novel where Sophie’s Grandma says it all to Langdon. Moreover the Robert Langdon who is a claustrophobic and fears going into an elevator is all gassed up to go underground in the Rosslyn Church to stumble upon, again nowhere stated in the novel, Leonardo Da Vinci’s yet to be discovered paintings, Sophie Neveu’s family’s death newspapers as well as the members of Priory of Sion.
The director and his team distorted the originality of the novel and turned it into his own, downcast version of the novel. The film however earned $301 million worldwide. But the good news was that it was highly criticized. The critics’ consensus as gathered by Rotten Tomatoes was: “What makes Dan Brown’s novel a best seller is evidently not present in this dull and bloated movie adaptation of The Da Vinci Code.” Moreover, the film was poorly received at the Cannes Film Festival, where it debuted. Director Ron Howard noted that the overwhelmingly negative reviews were “frustrating” to him. Well he had a choice to avoid the frustration by directing the novel in its exact entirety. He chose not to and consequently acted as a fox who stated the grapes as sour simply because it couldn’t reach them. And perhaps the code left by Jacques Saunière, “O Draconian Devil, O lame Saint!” perfectly fits “Sir” Ron Howard.