Reviewing the Script

The LA Times did something today that newspapers and major magazines never do — they reviewed a published screenplay of a recent film, Akiva Goldsman’s adaptation of THE DAVINCI CODE. The book critic’s opinion of the script is  secondary to the extraordinary nature of the review itself, which probably never would been printed (or even assigned) if not for the fact that the film had one of the biggest opening weekends in movie history. Which, perhaps, is why the anonymous editor felt it necessary to preface the review with his rationale for publishing it:

"The Da Vinci Code" is not just a mega-selling book, not just a
crowd-drawing movie, it’s also, at $21.95, an "illustrated screenplay"
replete with storyboards, stills from the movie, musings by author Dan
Brown and the movie’s principals and boxes of production trivia (such
as " ‘The Da Vinci Code’ had 25 revisions over six months" and
"Twenty-four rue Haxo doesn’t actually exist in Paris.") At the heart
of the "official making-of-the-movie book," though, is Akiva Goldsman’s
script. The Times asked film and book critic Charles Taylor to consider
how it plays on the page.

Screenplays are published all the time but are never taken seriously (or noticed at all) by  the general media, only by the script-craft magazines. Does this mean we’ll start seeing more published screenplays reviewed by the LA Times? I doubt it. But still, in its own way, it’s something of a watershed event.

7 thoughts on “Reviewing the Script”

  1. Good for the LA Times; hopefully next time they’ll pick a script to review based on merit and not (box office) worth. Goldsman’s script is as silly and exposition heavy as Brown’s book. Were the idea behind the “DVC” not so captivating, this book would have flown as under the radar as Brown’s previous works.

  2. I don’t think so. The script followed the book to the letter. I didn’t find it to be “exposition heavy” as some say. The hook is claiming Jesus left offspring. That’s what drew multiple millions of readers in.

  3. Screenwriters are the most underappreciated people on earth. Screenwriters are the ones who should have their names up in lights, not actors. A great screenplay can make even an idiot director or an imbecile actor look splendid. We remember Shakespeare, not his players.

  4. Jim’s right: it’s a freak event. And should stay that way. Reviewing scripts is pointless — they’re not even meant to be read. All it does is take away space that could have been given to an actual book.

  5. Maybe they had nothing else to do and decided to go for it since the movie did so well at the box office. Probably a waste of print and stuff, but I’m wililng to bet someone found it amusing.

  6. They are up in lights in the credits, but a pittance compared to the actors indeed. It’s the magnification and the image that rules. As a SAG member and a writer, albeit not very far up the ladder in either, I can appreciate the torrid trail to success in both. I spent a lot of time, days, weeks, months watching and working with actors including Tom Cruise and Dick Van Dyke. They make it look easy, but it isn’t by a long shot.


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