Film critics panned The Da Vinci Code after its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in France yesterday.
According to the Associated Press, “reaction ranged from halfhearted admiration to boredom to derision.” The film is to open on screens worldwide Friday.
The AP reported that “laughter rippled through the theater” near the end of the film at the Cannes press screening at what was supposed to be a serious moment in the film — when Tom Hanks' character, symbologist Robert Langdon, reveals a key secret to co-star Audrey Tautou with great melodrama.
"It's not a good sign when your film's big revelatory moment is greeted with laughter," wrote the Boston Herald’s film writer, Stephen Schaefer.
The laughter was clearly something director Ron Howard “would not have anticipated,” reported the Press Association Newsfile.
CNN reported that after the audience broke out into laughter, the critics spoke through the final scenes. “There was no applause when the credits rolled; instead, a few catcalls and hisses broke the silence,” CNN reported.
The AP reported that some even walked out during the movie’s closing minutes and “there was none of the scattered applause even bad movies sometimes receive at Cannes.”
Some critics found the weight of the script too heavy to bear.
"Sitting through all the verbose explanations and speculations about symbols, codes, secret cults, religious history and covert messages in art, it is impossible to believe that, had the novel never existed, such a script would ever have been considered by a Hollywood studio," wrote Daily Variety critic Todd McCarthy.
The Hollywood Reporter had a similar opinion: “The movie is so drenched in dialogue musing over arcane mythological and historical lore and scenes grow so static that even camera movement can’t disguise the dramatic inertia.”
Some critics grew restless during the two-and-a-half-hour screening. James Rocchi, a film critic for CBS 5 television in San Francisco, was among those who said the movie dragged on “and not in a good way."
“As sturdy and versatile an actor as Hanks can be, he can't work miracles when he's got nothing to work with,” wrote AP film critic Christy Lemire.
Despite the less-than-favorable reviews, the film is still expected to be a hit at the box office.