Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Book to Movie: Angels and Demons

Summary: If the devil is in the details, there's a lot of wicked fun in Angels & Demons, the sequel (originally a prequel) to The Da Vinci Code. Director Ron Howard delivers edge-of-your-pew thrills all over the Vatican, the City of Rome, and the deepest, dankest catacombs. Tom Hanks is dependably watchable in his reprised role as Professor Robert Langdon, summoned urgently to Rome on a matter of utmost urgency--which happens to coincide with the death of the Pope, meaning the Vatican is teeming with cardinals and Rome is teeming with the faithful. A religious offshoot group, calling themselves the Illuminati, which protested the Catholic Church's prosecution of scientists 400 years ago, has resurfaced and is making extreme, and gruesome, terrorist demands. The film zooms around the city, as Langdon follows clues embedded in art, architecture, and the very bone structure of the Vatican. The cast is terrific, including Ewan McGregor, who is memorable as a young protégé of the late pontiff, and who seems to challenge the common wisdom of the Conclave just by being 40 years younger than his fellows when he lectures for church reform. Stellan Skarsgard is excellent as a gruff commander of the Swiss Guard, who may or may not have thrown in with the Illuminati. But the real star of the film is Rome, and its High Church gorgeousness, with lush cinematography by Salvatore Totino, who renders the real sky above the Vatican, in a cataclysmic event, with the detail and majesty of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Review: I admit it, I never finished the book of Angels & Demons. I was pregnant with my daughter and my mind was just too foggy to read it. I did get about half way through it when I stopped, so I remember glimmers. Having said that this movie adaptation is so much better than The Da Vinci Code which sucked compared to the book. It didn't do the book justice at all. Instantly, Angels and Demons brings you in and you are enthralled.

Angels & Demons is fast-paced and the action never lets up. The story is extremely interesting and follows Brown's typical plot science vs. religion. What I thought was the most interesting was how the Cardinals pick a new Pontiff. The other thing that I felt was an important character was Vatican City itself. I didn't realize that while it's inside Rome, it's a separate city with a separate police force.

I'm not Catholic but their history is definitely interesting and very intriguing. The archives were extremely modern and I was very surprised by this. Then I reminded myself that the Catholic church is one of the richest institutions in the world.

I will say that I pretty much figured out the bad guy in the beginning of the movie but that doesn't matter much because I still loved watching Langdon figure this one out.

I'm a huge Tom Hanks fan and was much more pleased with this Robert Langdon movie than with The Da Vinci Code. To be honest, I never saw Mr. Hanks as Robert Langdon but now I can't picture anyone else.

So, even if you haven't read the book, I would definitely watch the movie. You won't be disappointed.

Movie Final Take: 4.5/5


stacybuckeye December 30, 2009 at 3:39 PM  

I agree that this was a much better adaptation than the DaVinci Code. They did have to change so much from the book to make it better, but it was worth it.

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