Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Da Vinci Code Film

I recently went to the Odeon Cinema at Leicester to watch the blockbuster film of “The Da Vinci Code”.

It was something of a family outing. Not only did I go, but my wife Anne came too – it was her choice of activity for her birthday – and so did our teenage sons Kevin and Robin.

Although I spent many years managing cinemas, I rarely go to see films nowadays. This isn’t just because of the cost, or the difficulty of finding suitable times.

The main reason I don’t go very often is that our Odeon (in an inner city location after the City Centre cinema was closed some years ago) has a policy of inflicting a massive and violent assault on one’s ears and head. The sound level, and resulting distortion, is unbelievable during the advertisements and trailers, and although it calms down a bit during the main feature it is still much too loud. I sit through the preliminaries in considerable pain.

Would I have allowed this? No, of course not, but then again I didn’t have a clientele who have very loud music pumped directly into their ears and who conduct conversations in yells.

I also used to ensure that staff were actually on duty within auditoria so that the situation could, in all respects, be monitored.

Anyway, what did I think of the film?

Well, the first thing to say, as people have been getting quite hot under the collar about this, is that it’s based on Dan Brown’s book, which is a novel. It’s not supposed to be read as factual truth, any more than James Bond, Harry Potter or Indiana Jones films are the truth.

The ideas in “The Da Vinci Code” about the history of Christianity, involving Jesus’s life and possible descendants, and shadowy organisations helping or hindering the established church, have been postulated for a good number of years. Nobody with a bit of interest in the subject would have been unaware of a lot of the theories.

Having said that, I wasn’t that impressed by the film. Director Ron Howard has made better. Ian McKellen gives the best performance, although you will not be astonished to discover that he is well over the top. Tom Hanks is more or less adequate, but a bit wooden.

I felt that a lot of the dialogue was a bit silly, and the action scenes were shot so closely (inside the car, for example, that is allegedly weaving about on pavements and between vehicles and shoppers – in a good film like “The Blues Brothers” you see that this is really happening) as to not really be action scenes at all.

Then there is a sequence where, with the Paris police force searching all over for them, the two main protagonists calmly walk out of the Louvre (where the police knew they had been) at night. Does the Louvre not have alarms? Or security staff?

And there’s another particularly daft bit where a private plane lands, to be met by a fleet of police cars. Our heroes are nowhere to be seen. That’s because they have got off the plane and into a car, where they are hiding in the back. Somehow, the massed police officers have all failed to notice them doing this.

But it’s good for tourism. Part of it, for example, was shot at Belvoir Castle, and at Lincoln the tourism figures shot up hugely when filming took place there.

There is also, naturally, a surge of interest in the Knights Templar.

And it’s good for my business.

On my Guided Walks around Rothley, I include a look at the surviving Templar chapel, and I’m sure that there will be more people than usual wanting to go on this walk next time – which is on Wednesday evening 2nd August.

And one of my morning Coach Trips next year will be “The Da Vinci Code Tour”, looking at places around Leicestershire associated with the film and its background – this will be on Tuesday 6th March.

You can book places on either of these tours as soon as you like.