Da Vinci Code, The: 10th Anniversary Edition 4K UltraHD

Featured In Issue 213, January 2017

WSR Score4
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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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Ron Howard
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Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, was number one on the best-seller’s list for what-seemed-like forever. Now, making its way to UHD Blu-ray, comes the story of mystery, suspense, and the biggest cover-up of mankind. When the curator of the Louvre Museum is found murdered, Professor Robert Langdon (Hanks) is called to the scene of the crime. Suspicion is soon cast upon Langdon, who, with the aid of the dead man’s granddaughter, police cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Tautou), goes on a desperate search while following symbols and clues, ultimately leading to the Holy Grail. (Tricia Spears)

Special features on Disc One include Unlocking The Code: an interactive picture-in-picture (I-PIP); 27 select-scenes commentary with Director Ron Howard; plus an entire sequence from Angels And Demons with introduction by Howard (HD 07:26); cinechat interactivity with friends while watching the film; and BD-Live functionality. Special features on Disc Two include 17 featurettes: First Day On The Set (HD 02:13), A Discussion With Author/Executive Producer Dan Brown (HD 04:52), A Portrait Of Langdon (HD 07:18), Who Is Sophie Neveu? (HD 06:58), Unusual Suspects (HD 17:58), Magical Places (HD 15:58), Close-Up On Mona Lisa (HD 06:37), The Filmmakers' Journey Part One and Part Two (HD 37:00), The Codes Of The Da Vinci Code (HD 05:33), The Music Of The Da Vinci Code (HD 02:54), Book To Screen (HD 11:06), The Da Vinci Props (HD 09:43), The Da Vinci Sets (HD 09:10), Re-Creating Works Of Art (HD 06:03), The Visual Effects World Of The Da Vinci Code (HD 15:03), and Scoring The Da Vinci Code (HD 09:44); and three trailers.

Now 10 years old, The Da Vinci Code was shot on film that appears to be Super35 format based on the appearance of the images. While the digital intermediate is 4K, images do not have the clarity and pinpoint resolution of today’s 4K or higher digital cinema cameras. Film grain is visible in most scenes and is occasionally very visible, likely on purpose for “atmosphere” and dramatic effect. Sharpness ranges from excellent to a little soft from scene to scene. In many scenes, close-ups of the female lead appear softer than close-ups of male actors. Color is often natural, but there are many places where lighting is stylized and less accurate to create moods or drama. HDR makes images “pop” compared to SDR on the HD Blu-ray. But resolution is only a little better than the HD Blu-ray version included in the same package. It requires an extremely bright video display to view HDR images to best effect. Displays with “normal” levels of brightness will only hint at the improvements HDR offers here and in other movies. (Doug Blackburn)

The 7.1 sound from the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is well crafted, with especially good-sounding orchestral soundtrack interludes. There are some brief scenes with dynamic action (the car chase, for example), but most of the movie’s tension is developed through dialogue and on-screen advancing of the plot with scenes of tension, foreboding, and increasing complexity of the underlying plot. The LFE channel is more atmospheric than room shaker because of the nature of this movie. It’s certainly in keeping with the tone of the movie and the on-screen action. But this isn’t a movie to use to show off your new huge subwoofer.

Immersive sound here is much like other 4K UltraHD Blu-ray titles reviewed so far. Some music appears in the height channels and because many scenes take place inside lively acoustic spaces like large churches, the Louvre, tunnels, etc., you hear echo/reverb of voices more often than in most movies with Atmos soundtracks. But there remain long periods of silence from the height channels, when plenty of ambience could be placed in the height channels to make the movie more consistently immersive. Aside from music, the only other things you hear in the height channels are some echo of voices and very few other sounds. The height channels just don’t have much going on. At one point, there is tense music in the height channels that stops abruptly, even though the music in the 7.1 channels continues playing. This is another example of a Dolby Atmos soundtrack that appears to have the sound in the height channels placed there by software, with no creativity on the part of the sound engineers/mixers. When there is some different sort of sound in the height channels, like ambient sound during the ride in the back of the armored car, what does appear in the height channels seems to be too low in level compared to what you would hear in real life if you were in the scene yourself. This is, so far, common to all Atmos soundtracks, so it’s no real surprise. (Doug Blackburn)