It starts out as a documentary of sorts, but thankfully, Angels And Demons builds from a slow beginning to a thriller that leaves you at the edge of your seat. Well, kinda.
Based on the bestselling novel by Dan Brown, this is the follow-up to the clunker known as The Da Vinci Code (which was un-watchable, not because of the religious controversy it tried to stir up, but because it was a badly-planned, extremely boring film with terrible “acting”). If you want to look on the bright side, Angels And Demons is marginally more enjoyable than DVC.
Those who have read the book will lament: “The book was better!”
But my advice is, don’t judge this movie by its book. They cannot be compared, really: Director Ron Howard has taken huge liberties with the storyline. He has even totally altered the name and race of a main character, Camerlengo (Ewan McGregor).
Watching middle-aged Tom Hanks on an ancient treasure hunt “cleverly” devised by the cult-like ancient group known as the Illuminati is strangely enjoyable. Almost like Forrest Gump in The Amazing Race.
The story: The Pope is dead and the Catholic world is in a tizzy. They need a new Pope and fast!
The Vatican prepares for Cardinals all over the world to join together in a Cinderella search for the new Pope, and as the meeting begins, the four most-likely candidates are kidnapped.
Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is back in Rome once again but this time, he is actually invited by the Vatican to help solve a problem. The body of one of the Papal candidates is found, bearing a strange symbol that Langdon quickly identifies as a sign of the Illuminati.
The Illuminati threaten to kill the remaining candidates, one every hour, and after they are all gone, this group would destroy the Vatican with anti-matter (apparently the stuff that caused the “Big Bang” that launched Creation).
Transported from the written page to the silver screen, the ideas of anti-matter and hidden messages in the ancient Vatican Library from the discoverer Galileo come off, unfortunately, as a big bucket of hogwash.
Thusly, Langdon and his requisite hot female geek companion, Vittoria Vetra (played by Ayelet Zurer) race around Rome, looking for statues that point to the locations of the kidnapped Cardinals.
You might, like this reviewer, find yourself bursting into giggles at the sheer absurdity of the plot: Battery-powered anti-matter that can blow a city sky high? That’s like uploading a computer virus to kill a swarm of evil aliens who happen to have Wifi. Oops, sorry ID4.
An ancient cult threatening to destroy the Vatican? Excuse me, these people own more real estate in the world than McDonald’s. They are indestructible by man!
But I guess that’s the beauty of movies, right? Completely unbelievable situations made to seem real on screen. Unfortunately for poor Tom Hanks, director Howard forgot to include “suspension of disbelief”.
Though it strives to be exciting and thrilling, Angels And Demons lacks the breathless, page-turning thrill of Dan Brown’s book. But if you have never read the novel, this movie could seem pretty entertaining, with its race through picturesque Rome and rib-tickling plot twists. It will definitely keep you occupied for two hours.