Angels & Demons

National Treasure meets 24

Forgive the informality of this review, as it is far too hard to write a full review when my frustrations with the film can be summed up in very few words.

I have never read a Dan Brown novel. When I saw The Da Vinci Code in 2006, I left the theater asking myself, “This is what all the hype is about?” surprised at how little work the characters had to put into uncovering the largest conspiracy of all time. For that reason, I wrote it off and forgot about it until last week, when I decided to prep myself for Angels & Demons by revisiting The Da Vinci Code on DVD. This time around, it was actually very entertaining – making me excited for the new adaptation of the prequel-novel-turned-sequel-movie, Angels & Demons.

Just minutes into Angels & Demons, it hit me that director Ron Howard wasn’t using the cinematic visual effects that he used in The Da Vinci Code to show main character symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) cracking the codes behind this new mystery. There were no scenes showing Langdon’s mind’s eye decoding characters and solving puzzles. Instead, it was like watching Nicholas Cage in the National Treasure movies – pointing to certain statues and artifacts and quickly deciphering their meanings and significance in the big picture. There was no mystery behind these mysteries.

In yesterday’s news, Angels & Demons actor Stellan Skarsgard was quoted as saying that Dan Brown’s writing style is very poor. I couldn’t agree more with his statements. Brown has a knack for twisting historical events in a fictional manner. That is his gimmick. He twists history to explain his bad fiction. The story to Angels & Demons is of such a poor quality that, at times, you can’t help but laugh out loud at his story. Your main 24-esque threat in Angels & Demons is trying to stop the murders on Catholic cardinals every hour until midnight, when an anti-matter (an element of science fiction novels) bomb will destroy Vatican City if not found and “deactivated?” Come on. Hardly the plot device you’d expect from someone who tried to explain Christ’s bloodline in a his most popular book.

Because of these two elements, bland directing and bad story, Angels & Demons is waste of your time. The directing causes the film to be less interesting than C-SPAN and the science fiction action that drives Star Trek seems more plausible than the awful ending to Angels & Demons. The only thing that Angels & Demons has going for it is Tom Hanks’ hair not being as greasy as it was in The Da Vinci Code. That’s it.

Photo credit: Sony Pictures

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