There are loads of decent movies based on rubbish books. There are loads of rubbish movies based on decent books. But the movie version of The Da Vinci Code proves one thing, if nothing else – that The Da Vinci Code is a perfectly average book. Because the middling pot-boiler of a film is no better, and no worse, that the middling pot-boiler of the book. Indeed other mediocrities spring to mind. You could probably read the book of the Da Vinci Code in EXACTLY THE SAME TIME it takes to watch the film (I know it looks quite thick, but the chapters are very short and the print is quite large). The characters are no more engaging or attractive in the film, indeed all the actors seem to be plough a middling furrow – neither lousy nor notably good. Perhaps McKellen is a bit too good, but that is nicely balanced out by Paul Bettany’s ludicrously poor albino Silas: to create a no score draw.

So what of the Da Vinci Code haterz who have not been able to rustle up a good review between them? Fear of the movie industry I think, who are scared that in the current media domination of films, that books might be getting back in on the act. Cinema cannot afford to be snobbish, and certainly not afford to be snobbish about a film whose fundamental themes are those of art history and divinity. The fact that it is third form art history and week one divinity should not matter. One assumes the new version of the Omen which opens in a couple of weeks time is not going to be any smarter in its selective use of the Bible.

Oddly The Da Vinci Code, in staying closely to the book, creates a possibly refreshing film experience. As the book neglects the standard story beats of a film (no real romance, threats neutralized easily, overly ponderous ending) it does make you wonder about the way movies and adaptations are made. This kind of reverence to a fundamentally ropey source material gives the whole experience a similarity to shining a piece of shit. You are left with shiny shit, which is fine to look at as anything else if you like shiny stuff. I like pot-boiling thrillers, I like lousy films. I liked the Da Vinci Code too.