By Jack Rico
Rated: PG-13 for sequences of violence, disturbing images and thematic material.
Release Date: 2009-05-15
Starring: Akiva Goldsman
Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com.mx/Sony/HotSites/Mx/angelesydemonios/
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‘The Da Vinci Code’ was such good, clever cinematic entertainment, that expectations for ‘Angels & Demons’ to either match or exceed its success were crucial. Regrettably, neither came true. The contrivances and absurd coincidences of the clues are so predictable and telegraphed that it zapped all the fun out of the film. This new effort by Ron Howard and Tom Hanks falls short of their talents and abilities. Hanks not only phoned in his performance, it looked like he created a cartoon version of his character Robert Langdon.
“Angels & Demons,” published in 2000 by author Dan Brown, sees Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a cryptic symbol seared in the chest of a murdered physicist. What he discovers is a deadly vendetta against the Catholic Church by a centuries-old underground organization called the Illuminati to turn half of Rome into a wasteland.
Here’s the good and the bad with ‘Angels & Demons’: Entertainment vs. Implausibility.
Let me explain…the bad is that this film is ‘The Da Vinci Code’ on steroids, it’s so over-the-top. The clues are never ending and they are too easy to create any suspense. Also the acting was, for some reason or other, below par. Perhaps the cast’s uninspired efforts were a byproduct of shooting in a studio lot as opposed to Vatican City, which did not give any clearance to film on its premises. No wonder you saw so much CGI this time around. Finally, the ending takes a turn to the absurd, fully confirming that corporate studio heads prevailed by creating a film for the ‘everyday joe’ and not the literary fans of the book.
The good can be described in the beautiful and elegant camerawork of cinematographer Salvatore Totino, and a captivating story that tells of the mysteries inside the holy Vatican City. There are many scenes that are very entertaining to watch and delight in.
Still, the bad outweighs the good and the preposterous plot outweighs everything. If you’re a fan of the book you’ll be entertained but disappointed, and if you’re not, the same thing.