Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Angels & Demons movie review

This 2009 thriller is adapted from the book of the same name by Dan Brown and is the sequel to the 2006 film Da Vinci Code, even though the book is a prequel. Confused yet? Better off not thinking about things too deeply. Directed by Ron “Richie Cunninghan” Howard and stars Tom Hanks reprising his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdom who is called on by the Vatican in order to uncover a conspiracy surrounding the kidnapping of four cardinals as well as the theft of an experimental antimatter device that could lead to the very destruction of Vatican city. Langdom discovers that the clues lead to the Illuminati, a secret organization that was persecuted by the Vatican hundreds of years ago and now is looking for revenge by seeking to kill off the kidnapped cardinals and activate the antimatter device. Can Langdom as well as Vittoria Vetra (the scientist who helped build the antimatter device) stop the Illuminati and save the very basis of Catholicism.

I wasn’t too excited to see this film. I really thought Da Vinci Code was quite boring and a new Dan Brown film well, didn’t leave my heart all a flutter. So when we sat down at the theater I had very low expectations. But yeah, it exceeded such low expectations. It’s a lot better than the first movie, but that’s really not saying much, but while an interesting premise with some fantastic execution by Ron Howard, I didn’t find the film all that enjoyable.

The main problem I had with Da Vinci Code is the same problem I had with Angels and Demons. Basically it’s a bunch of characters standing around while Langdom explains everything that’s going on in the film for the viewers that aren’t paying attention and then he goes on for 10 minutes about how all the clues lead to other clues. I mean we get visual cues on the clues and then Langdom repeats what we just saw. Also I know this is a mystery, but the only one figuring out anything is Langdom and everyone just stands around waiting for him to figure things out.

How about the acting? Tom Hanks as Robert Langdom is much better in this film, perhaps because he got rid of the mullet he had in the Da Vinci Code. Ayelet Zurer of Minich and Vantage Point fame plays Vittoria Vetra and she’s quite beautiful even if her character is completely waste din the film. All I’ll say is that she follows Langdom for one purpose and by the end she never even accomplishes anything. She’s not even a romantic lead or a foil for Langdom so I don’t get why her character was even part of the story. Ewan McGregor plays Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, the main clergyman that everything seemingly revolves around. He’s quite good here, even though he’s not given much to do. You know as I’m talking about this, every character in this film is ancillary besides Langdom. It’s like the world revolves around him. He’s fighting for god, but I wonder if he in fact is god.

Like I said before, Angels and Demons is much better than Da Vinci Code. The story is tighter, and the movie got very intense, very thrilling as times, as the characters weave themselves through a historical mystery than had my nerd heart pounding with talk surrounding the intellegcia, Galileo true beliefs and Bernini sculptures. God I love that kind of stuff. So I give this a very mild dvd/matinee rating. You could do a lot worse than this film, god knows I have recently and while not wholly a great watch its always interesting.

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