The Da Vinci Code, Ron Howard's controversial adaptation of the best-selling novel, failed to impress critics at its press debut at the Cannes Film Festival. Perhaps the coterie of critics who got an early look at the film a day before its big premiere were tired and jetlagged, or maybe the movie just really does suck. At any rate, response to the film from the critics thus far has been decidedly lukewarm. Cinematical's erstwhile Editor-in-Chief James Rocchi was quoted in an AP piece on the film with this memorable tag: "I kept thinking of the Energizer Bunny, because it kept going and going and going, and not in a good way."
Now, you can take the critics' response for what you will, but I personally take it with a grain of salt. The thing about press screenings -- and I say this as someone who is lucky enough to get to review movies for a living -- is that they are packed with critics, who are, by their nature and by virture of the fact that they see 89,000 movies a year, perhaps a wee touch more cynincal than your average moviegoer. It's not surprising to me, really, that a theater full of critics would snicker and laugh outright at melodramatic lines in a film like Da Vinci -- they've been waiting to sink their teeth into Ron Howard's baby from day one. The real test, for me, is how the film plays to an audience of people who aren't paid to be, well, critical. I'll be seeing The Da Vinci Code myself on Thursday with one very excited guest and a theater packed with real people, and I can't wait to see how this audience will react to the film. The sneak preview audience tends to be a pretty good barometer, and I'm curious to see if they will snicker and titter like the Cannes critic crowd. Be sure to check back here on Friday for my review and the reaction of the real-people crowd.
How about you? Are you pumped up to finally see The Da Vinci Code play on the big screen? Does the critics' reaction impact your desire to see the film? Does Tom Hanks' hairdo creep you out? Would you have cast Audrey Tautou in the role of Sophie? Or could you not care less about Da Vinci and all the hype around it?