Having heard Mark Kermode slay the film (and Tom Hanks' hair) a week or two ago, my parents telling me that weren't going to watch it because of the terrible reviews, and also not being able to get past the first thirty pages of the book because the prose style annoyed me so much, I was fully expecting a big steaming, 149 minute long turd of a film.
So, incredibly, it was actually better than I thought. But... there are so many things wrong with it.
It's not giving anything away to say that a murder happens in the first reel, inside the Louvre. The film cuts between the murder and Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) giving a lecture on signs to a packed theatre, which suggests that the two events are happening at the same time.
Captain Fache (played by a reasonably bored looking Jean Reno) and the rest of the Paris police then assume that Langdon dunnit by some scribblings left by the dead man, despite the fact that 500 people could verify his whereabouts at the time of the murder. We find out later on that Fache is not exactly 100% honest copper material, but even so, this wound me up.
Also, the script... the script...
> Langdon / Hanks : ...all the letters are mixed up
> Neveu / Tautou : (looks thoughtful) Ah. An anagram
... right, thanks for that explanation.
Audrey Tautou looks fabulous throughout, but I'd better shut up about her if I want to reach my second wedding anniversary. Both her and Hanks are incredibly wooden throughout, possibly due to the script - although Ian McKellen manages to make a decent fist of his conspiracy theory-obsessed scholar.
Super-scary Paul Bettany mopes about a lot in his monk's robes, slapping himself about a bit with a cat o'nine tails and talking in something ancient on a mobile phone. When he disposes of a nun, he pulls the same menacing "oh you've really upset me" face as in Gangster No.1, which made me grin as I remembered. I amused myself for the next couple of scenes by having a go myself (widen eyes, turn head to one side, and breathe in deeply - there, you got it).
The ropey scripting and the wooden acting could be halfway forgivable if there was some tension built up, but my knuckles remained their usual yellowy-pink throughout, even during the Smart car backwards chase scene.
And when it ended there was an enormous sense of - oh, was that it? Is that all that everyone is so excited about?