Backdraft - * 1/2
Backdraft really is a bad movie. It's a good example of how Ron Howard's sentimentality can overwhelm a film. Just seeing Alec Baldwin's brother's shit-eating grin is enough to prompt me to turn it off. He's symbolic of everything that's wrong with the film: style over substance. The sibling rivalry conflict is boring, the firefighting is unrealistic (my neighbor, who used to be a firefighter, told me so), and the opening of the film tells us in 5 minutes what kind of film this is going to be (write by numbers).
You would think Ron Howard would have learned his lesson on Backdraft, but his next film, "Far and Away," had just as many problems as "Backdraft." It wasn't until "Apollo 13" that he came up with something really special--one of my favorite films.
I'm hoping that "The DaVinci Code" is as good as Howard's best, including Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, and Cinderella Man.