Saturday, 16 May 2009

Angels and Demons

After the ridiculous amount of hype that surrounded the release of The Da Vinci Code it was only a matter of time before Dan Browns “other” Robert Langdon novel got the big screen treatment with Ron Howard returning as director and Tom Hanks (sans mullet) playing the said Robert Langdon.

This time Robert Langdon finds himself embroiled in another church cover up when the Illuminati rise from the underground and attempt to destroy the Catholic church and the only man capable in the entire world, of stopping this event, is of course Robert Langdon.

Tom Hanks is fine as Robert Langdon and kudos for him for being brave enough to wear Speedos in todays critical era and to say some of his lines in such a straight and serious manner without sniggering. The rest of the cast were fine, although Ewan McGregors Irish accent faltered on many occasions.

The plot, like the novel, has enough twists and turns to keep the audience engrossed and some of the set pieces, especially the “fire” scene are very unsettling to watch. There was a good mix of suspense and action to break up all the talking and trips to the Vatican Archives (which was not anything like I pictured them to be when I read the book!)

The sets were gorgeous to look at - replica or not the locations were impressive.

No matter how intelligent this movie, or indeed any of Dan Browns novels claim to be, what they essentially boil down to is a grown up treasure hunt, with an intelligent man, sprouting exposition which, when read appears incredulous, but when spoken on the big screen, is at times down right  laughable, in the chase to find this particular movies “holy grail”.  

I would give the movie 8/10 but perhaps that is being overly generous.  It is a very entertaining movie granted, but the entire success of Robert Langdons mission depended solely on the fact that in 400 years not one of the cleaning ladies in Vatican City moved any of the conveniently placed statues which so helpfully (literally) pointed out the way in every church - either that or the Illuminati where in charge of the cleaning.  

Dan Brown is given a lot of criticism for his writing.  He is not going to be remembered amongst the great modern writers, but what he good at is tapping into all the clichés and tricks used to keep the reader hooked, with constant cliff-hangers and interesting snippets of fiction portrayed as fact and like him or loath him - it works.  Angels and Demons is a very watchable movie and the fact that these types of movies are still very profitable is probably a conspiracy Da Vinci would be proud of

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