In Angels and Demons, the sequel to the 2006 hit The Da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks reprises his role as Dr. Robert Langdon, a symbologist who is no friend to the church. However, the Vatican turns to him for help after four cardinals are kidnapped. The kidnapper? Apparently a member of the Illuminati, a group of thinkers once persecuted by the Catholic Church and thought to have been long gone. Clues have been left, revealing where the cardinals will be executed, but Robert Langdon must decode them first. Thrown into the mix is a stolen container of anti-matter produced by the Large Hadron Collider, which will explode when the battery –which powers the container and keeps the anti-matter suspended – runs out of power, causing the anti-matter to fall out of suspension and touch matter.
This leads to a massive chase around Vatican City, as Dr. Langdon, the hot scientist lady looking for her lost container of anti-matter, and dozens of police who don’t need names, search for the cardinals before they’re killed. And hopefully, maybe, possibly, they’ll find that pesky container of anti-matter that’s going to explode too.
While this is all going on, the pope has died and cardinals from all over the world are conferring in St. Pete’s Basilica to decide who the next pope will be. This means that Vatican City is crowded to capacity with believers from all over the world, waiting for the new pope to be chosen. So, mix a secret society bent on revenge, kidnappings and murders of important religious figures, controversial science with explosive potential, Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, and lots of pretty shots of Vatican City together and you get a movie masterpiece, right? Not quite.
The Good: The director, and the cast. Ron Howard once again produces a visually stunning film and condenses a rather long and drawn out book in a way that catches all the important bits and cuts most of the annoying fat. Tom Hanks somehow makes Dr. Robert Langdon almost likable. This is an impressive feat, as Robert Langdon of the book is Super Nerd with his secret identity, the Most Boring Man Alive. Ewan McGregor plays a rather confusing character, Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, with as much grace and believability as possible. The kidnapper and assassin is played by Nikolaj Lie Kaas and is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting characters in the entire movie. I left the theater wishing that he’d gotten more attention. A back story about why he was the way he was would have been appreciated.
The Bad: The story. In spite of all the running around and the panic, there were a few times when the dragged and I was, quite simply, bored. While the plot is set up to evoke edge-of-your-seat panic, it’s just not there. Part of it I blame on the characters. There is no emotional connection to make us care about what happens to the main characters, nor is there much reason to dislike the antagonists. Instead, we care more about the side characters such as the police or the assassin, than anyone whom the story focuses attention on. Also, Dan Brown’s “the Church is EVIL” message is becoming a tad overdone. It’s become a fad. Can he demonize some other aspect of society now?
Final Thoughts: Overall, I thought this movie did a really good job considering the source material. I wouldn’t buy it, but I might order it from Netflix some weekend.
Oh Yeah, The Book: Um... yeah... Do yourself a favor and skip the book. It gave me a headache. Watch the movie if you're curious. It's all there minus confusion and unnecessary romance. AND the horrible writing. Just, don't go there. Don't.
- Maria D'Isidoro
- was sold to gypsies as a small child for half a tank of gas and a kitten. She was quickly, if not easily, retrieved by her mother after the kitten was revealed to be an Eldrich horror looking for a ride into the nearest metropolitan area to begin wreaking havoc. It's been a bone of contention between Maria and her family ever since, whether the Horror-kitten would've been more or less trouble than she grew up to be.