Who out there remembers the colossal borefest that was The Da Vinci Code? Keep in mind I’m talking about the movie, not the book. The book, like all of Dan Brown’s novels (including Angels and Demons), was a real page-turner. It kept a tight and riveting plot based on heavily researched real world history and phenomena.
That was the book. The movie was a sluggish, dopey worldwide blockbuster. It’s like I always say, there’s no accounting for taste. What sells best in Hollywood appeals to the broadest audience with the lowest common denominator.
Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is back again in the Da Vinci sequel (which was actually a book prequel). I guess that timelines don’t really matter between stories but they sure do on the inside. Perhaps taking a cue from plot-driven TV shows like 24, this is the kind of movie that includes timestamps and locations at the scene breaks, just to keep us on the edge of our seats while staying informed of the sequence of events.
Langdon starts off one day doing laps in the pool at Harvard (that’s right, Hanks in a Speedo) before he’s whisked off to Vatican City to assist with uncovering a treacherous plot against the Catholic church and the Holy See. A secret and ancient society of scientists called the Illuminati has kidnapped four bishops just as they are about to vote for the new pope.
The hostages will be brutally assassinated — one per hour — until a device containing anti-matter will destroy St. Peter’s Basilica and everything around it in some kind of plasma-rippling mega-explosion. It’s up to the symbologist super sleuth and a physicist from CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, to track the bad guys down. All they have to do is follow the signs. Seriously. I mean numerous statues pointing in the direction that Langdon must go.
As much as Angels has better pacing than its predecessor, everything is just as mundane and ridiculous as ever. The characters are really just names and faces here. The basic premise is pretty far-reaching too. Anti-matter? More gobbledygook, I say. But the dialogue takes the cake for its idiocy. If two people are in a race to save someone’s life, must they stop for five minutes to discuss the importance of Galileo’s writings out of context? Why does a physicist know so much about medicine? Why must every little thing be explained in excruciating detail?
As fun and frivolous as it all is, it’s offensive to think that this is what passes for entertainment. If you care about quality, you will find this exasperatingly awful. If you can go to a movie and enjoy watching something mindless, then you’ll be okay. To be honest, I felt like my intelligence actually decreased because of this movie.
Although the Illuminati can be nice or naughty, depending on your view, the real sinners as far as I’m concerned are writer Akiva Goldsman and director Ron Howard. As a team they are a gang of ruthless thugs, never concerned with how much of an audience’s time they can waste by turning good stories into black holes. Howard and Hanks have worked together several times in the past. Maybe they should look at doing Splash 2 instead of Langdon’s next quagmire.
Angels and Demons
Directed by: Ron Howard
Starring: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer and Stellan Skarsgard
Now playing at: Grandin Theatres, Westmount Centre Cinemas, North Edmonton Cineplex and Scotiabank Theatre