The Code in the Subtitles
Like many other people, I went to see The DaVinci Code. Yeah, I admit it, the marketing and hype of the whole thing worked on me. Having never read the book and not really knowing much of the story, I had no preconceived notions or judgments about the whole thing. What I encountered during my long sit in the dark theatre was something I didn't expect, however.
There are a lot of subtitles in the film since much of the story is based in Paris and Italy. To keep it authentic, the language of the locale is spoken and the subtitles are in English. That's all OK, I can deal with that. But, while I was sitting there, I kept thinking about the typeface used for those subtitles.
Being a type nerd, I started thinking about the choice of the font used in the subtitles, Helvetica, as I determined, and if it was truly the correct one. It was so plain and boring. Granted I was sitting in about the fourth row of the theatre and it was right in my face, but I still kept thinking, "Is this right?"
Maybe this typeface can be read very easily in all areas of the theatre and regular people wouldn't have much trouble reading it. It was very important to be able to catch all of the dialogue in order to understand the story, so an italic style or serif font may not have been the best in that sense. I kept thinking about the other "Roman" typefaces used in the titles and opening and closing credits, though. They looked much more "DaVinci-esque". Those reminded me of Copperplate Gothic, but I'm not sure. It may have been a custom typeface. Did Ron Howard and the design team really think this part through enough?
Remember the opening credits for Catch Me if You Can? I absolutely loved it! It was like a movie-within-a-movie. That one really worked for a graphic and type aficionado like me.
I really enjoyed the movie just the same, although it was a little long. With all of the previews and commercials that run through a movie these days, you end up sitting there, captured, way longer than two hours - but that's a whole other issue.
Maybe there was more to that movie than I thought. With all of the other codes and deciphering going on in the story, maybe there were more "codes" placed in the film than any of us really know. After all, the subtitles were in "Hell-vetica"!