SONY has released the ridiculously controversial before ever seen "THE DaVINCI CODE" on dvd in both letterbox and full-frame formats. Question: Are there still dvd viewers so backward that they'd actually intentionally "buy" a cropped dvd? Worse, has Ron Howard fallen lost so much credibility and power in Hollywood that he can't "demand" proper aspect ratios be mandatory for his films? Well, this reviewer can at least safely say, after having seen the film in its theater presentation, letterboxing didn't prevent it from becoming one of the all time "worst films ever made"! It's so bad on so many levels, that there's not enough time in this life, to waste pointing out every instance of failure in the film.
It has to be a billboard size warning that the story is crap, when characters are forced to make continuous comments that their journey is unmasking "the greatest" hoax ever perpetrated, instead of actually delivering on the promise. But, there's plenty of talk here and that's yet another problem. This is one of the talkiest films of recent memory. It's just too, too much about nothing! Howard and his overrated screenwriter fail to realize that less is more, and there's no reason for the predictable scenes to be dragged out as much as they are here! Having never read the book, many felt the film was pretty close in its vision to it. Then, why didn't Howard realize the idea of an Albino assassin seems absolutely over-the-top ridiculous here and alter that character a little?
Without ruining anything, the final scene in the film is obviously meant to be a long, jaw-dropping revelatory shot, unearthing yet another ho-hum mystery. It's anything but! The fact that this final shot exists only further proves Howard has no idea how awful his film is. Audrey Tatou does as good a job as possible with the garbage she's handed, but it's not enough to save the film. That would require a real miracle!
SONY has chosen to release this film in two versions, letterboxed and cropped. SONY only allowed this reviewer to view the cropped version(but again, it wouldn't have changed the actual problems with the script and pacing). Needless to say, the cropped version only makes a bad film much worse! Overly grainy in many spots due to being blown up, there's still a lot of clarity. Unfortunately, colors vary in quality as well. Contrast is problematic as well, with dark scenes lacking the deep blacks and grays we've grown to expect from SONY releases.
SONY has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. It's more aggressive than we'd expected. Surrounds are utilized effectively throughout and this is a thoroughly engaging mix. Discrete sounds and panning effects are employed with real creativity, enhancing some horrid scenes, almost making them bearable("almost").
SONY has included plenty of extras on this 2 disc set. A bunch of featurettes are offered separately or as a "play all" option. These featurettes include:
First Day on the Set with Ron Howard
Discussion with Dan Brown
Portrait of Robert Langdon
Who is Sophie Neveu?
Close Up of Mona Lisa
Filmmaker's Journey Parts I and II
Codes of The Da Vinci Code
Music of The Da Vinci Code
These featurettes add up to a documentary much better than the film, even with some dull aspects to the segments, the majority are great.