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Blu-ray Reviews: The Da Vinci Code

Originally published in Sound and Image, Sept/Oct 2009, v.23#01
Last updated 24 February 2013

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The Da Vinci Code
2006 - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Australia
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Ian McKellen, Jean Reno, Paul Bettany, Alfred Molina, Jürgen Prochnow and Jean-Yves Berteloot

Movie: 3.0 Picture: 4.5 Sound: 4.5 Extras: 4.5

I confess: I missed the whole The Da Vinci Code phenomenon. Which just about puts me in a minority since, according to Wikipedia, it is the eighth biggest selling novel of all time, with some 80 million copies sold in the six years since it was published.

I understand from the fans that the biggest disappointment in the movie was Tom Hanks playing the Robert Langdon role. But perhaps that should be offset against Paul Bettany, both heartbreaking and chilling as Silas. In any case, it made plenty of money at the box office, and consequently the Blu-ray release was accorded top class treatment from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

That means two discs. It perhaps seems odd given the enormous 50GB capacity of Blu-ray, but when a movie is a little long, it's best to unload the bulk of the extras onto a separate disc, just to ensure that a healthy bitrate is provided for the movie. The Blu-ray version is the 175 minute extended cut, but you still get over 24Mbps of MPEG4 AVC video, plus another 2.5Mbps or so of PIP material, arranged across a number of different categories. Disc 2 delivers nearly three hours of high definition featurettes.

There is also a BD-Live 'Cinechat' movie, which is supposed to allow you to 'chat' with others over the Internet while the movie's playing. Perhaps, but I couldn't register because at some point in the past I've registered with Sony, specifying my email address. It would not let me re-register with that email address, nor did it (either via the disc, or the Cinechat website) seem to have any provision for a forgotten password.

Being a Sony disc, if you key 7669 at the main menu on either disc you will get a set of four high definition test patterns with which you can check out your TV.

If you are using an older home theatre receiver and relying upon receiving the 'core' Dolby Digital stream, which is packaged into the 16 bit Dolby TrueHD, you will be getting a DVD-like 448kbps rather than the 640kbps that usually appears on Blu-ray.

Running time: 175 minutes
Picture: 2.40:1, 1080p24, MPEG4 AVC @ 24.44Mbps
Sound: English: Dolby TrueHD 16/48 3/2.1 @ 1390kbps (core: Dolby Digital 3/2.1 @ 448kbps); Commentary: Dolby Digital Surround 2/0.0 @ 192kbps; BonusView PIP audio: DTS Express 24/48 2/0.0 @ 192kbps
Subtitles: English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish
Extras: Bookmarks; BD-Live CineChat; 'Unlocking the Code' Interactive BonusView PIP (480p24, MPEG4 AVC @ 1.39Mbps), DTS Express 24/48 2.0 @ 192kbps); A First Look at Angels and Demons/Trailer for Angels and Demons (1080p24, MPEG2, DD5.1 @ 640kbps - 7 mins); 27 Select Scenes Commentary with Ron Howard (1080p24, MPEG4 AVC, DD2.0 @ 192kbps - 38 mins); 7669 Test Patterns (1080p24, MPEG2 - 1 min); 17 Disc 2 Featurettes (1080i60, MPEG2, DD2.0 @ 192kbps - 168 minutes); 3 Trailers for other movies (1080p24, MPEG2, DD5.1 @ 640kbps - 5 mins)
Restrictions: Rated M (Australian rating); Region Free

The following video bitrate graph for the feature was generated by BDInfo 0.5.2:

The Da Vinci Code video bitrate graph

This one shows the BonusView PIP track:

The Da Vinci Code PIP video bitrate graph

© 2002-2009, Stephen Dawson