Film Reviews

ANGELS AND DEMONS

By • May 18th, 2009 •

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A tedious bore. Too slow and too many words. A farfetched medieval history lesson. Robert Langdon saves the Catholic Church!

The Catholic Church has nothing to worry about with this second movie by Dan “The Da Vinci Code” Brown. It’s a tedious bore.

There are enough scientific blunders that even atheists will shudder. It appears that screenwriters David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman just got lazy and put every bit of dialogue and historical background from the book in the script. Instead of creating drama or building a thriller, director Ron Howard had to goose up the film with loud, orchestrated music and lots of running.
Tom Hanks is back as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. He got a haircut. Apparently, the Vatican, hit on its snout with a blasphemous secret previously exposed by Langdon, has forgiven him. The Vatican is being threatened by the Illuminati, a secret organization the Church squashed centuries ago.

They’re baaaack!

Langdon might be identified as a symbologist, but he’s really an authority on the Catholic Church. Sadly, it falls to him to tell us everything about the Church’s history, religious art, medieval painters, popes, the Illuminati, the Higgs boson, and the city map of Rome.

With a teasing symbol, a poem, and some mumbo-jumbo language to decipher, the Vatican summons Langdon to Rome via private jet. He goes, but what he really wants is access to the super-secret Vatican archives. All the medieval treasures are kept there, even Jesus and Mary Magdalene’s marriage certificate. It’s second only to the mythic royal library at Alexandria.

Julius Caesar burned down the Alexandria library; the Vatican library has Langdon. He brings a juicy, ketchup-dripping Whopper, coffee, cigarettes, a briefcase of junk, and a thieving scientist. He doesn’t bother with gloves as he manhandles priceless manuscripts and rummages through the bookcases. The Vatican Library has fired all archivists due to the economical downturn.

I will never lend Langdon a book of mine!
The Pope has died, and coincidentally, antimatter has been stolen from the Large Hadron Collider*. Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) is the only one who can stop the antimatter from destroying mankind or Vatican City. The Illuminati has stolen the antimatter and is threatening to kill four kidnapped cardinals. The clock is ticking: the antimatter’s battery is running out and a cardinal will be killed every few hours.
Langdon is five minutes late to every killing! I’ve been to Rome many times, and traffic is a *****! I understand. Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way.

We never get a sense about the threat posed by the Illuminati. Too bad, it could have been ANGELS AND DEMONS’ sinister secret society like THE DIVINCI CODE’s Opus Dei. The cardinals, the priests, the Swiss guards, the Vatican police, and the dead Pope are all formless, scene-crowding figures. Langdon and Vittoria are left running through Rome searching empty churches for clues.
Hanks let his trust in Howard override what he surely knew was too much dialogue for his character. That’s Screenwriting 101 — the star never explains!

As for Robert Langdon, he’s back at Harvard but I understand that he’ll be investigating a rogue group of Catholic priests who have reinstated The Inquisition.

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*I’ve been watching The Large Hadron Collider and believe it is The Doomsday Machine.
Some scientists went to the European Court for Human Rights to put a halt to turning on the collider. These troublesome scientists sought “a restraining order for fear that it may create a black hole that will suck life and could swallow the Earth”. That’s right! Suck life and could swallow the Earth.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) laughed at the thought of creating a black hole or stranglet that could destroy the planet. The LHC, the world’s largest energy particle accelerator complex, was turned on September 10, 2008.
Renowned British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking chimed in, betting $100 that the first mega-experiment will not find the elusive particle seen as a holy grail of cosmic science, the Higgs particle, known as the “God Particle” since it is everywhere but remains elusive.

We got a reprieve! The LHC went offline in September 2008, when a faulty electrical connection between two of its magnets caused a malfunction in the cooling system that led to a helium leak. By CERN’s latest reckoning, the system will be turned on again in late September 2009. Get ready for those End of the World parties!

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