Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Angels & Demons Review

Whether or not you think the stories are inflammatory to the Catholic Church and sacreligious and whether or not you think Dan Brown reads too much into symbols and coincidences is immaterial.  One thing is for sure.  You cannot deny that Brown knows how to tell a good thriller.  The Da Vinci Code lent itself better to a movie and I think that's because it dealt with subjects and a legend that more people are familiar with.  Angels & Demons uses a legend and locations that are a bit more vague to the general public.  As a result, they have to spend more time in their exposition.  In a book, it works well because the author can use as many words as he/she likes to get the message across.  A film maker has less time though and all of the exposition in this story is rushed.

Brown's thrillers are so intricate that you really cannot omit much and still have a tight story.  So they spend the first half of this movie using the dialogue to explain things while trying to keep it moving at a fast pace.  (One thing they could have omitted was the shots of his Mickey Mouse watch.  It's taken from the books and never explained in the movie so it is completely extraneous and downright stupid.)  As a result, the dialogue became a bit cheesy and forced.  Add the fact that Tom Hanks (for some inexplicable reason) turned Robert Langdon into a condescending jackass for this movie and he immediately becomes unlikeable.  However, after the halfway point, the pace remains but they are finished explaining things and let the story unfold.

Ironically enough, what makes this movie good is the story itself.  The idea of science vs religion and the Illuminati vs the Catholic Church is one that I find way more compelling than the Holy Grail (Da Vinci Code).  Don't get me wrong, I liked the Da Vinci Code.  But I prefer both the book and movie versions of Angels & Demons simply for the story.  I especially like the resolution and conclusion for Angels & Demons more but I won't give anything away.  If you really want to know my thoughts on the endings for both, leave a comment with an email address and I'll get back to you.

I am disappointed that they reversed the order of this and the Da Vinci Code from the books but I realize they had to capitalize on the success of the second one quickly for the movie.  But you don't have to see these in order anyways.  They are really their own stories and are made separately quite well.  The only thing you need to know is that Langdon was involved in another adventure involving the church.

See it.  While it may not be the best acting or writing, the story is really tight and it moves very quickly.  I found, after multiple viewings, it still grips me and holds my attention.  So that makes it good in my book.

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