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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Angels and Demons: A Review

Saturday, May 23, 2009 Posted by Unknown , , , , No comments
Ron Howard's second attempt at making a Dan Brown movie was a bit of a mixed bag. Believing that he could jazz up a Brown's second novel that follows the adventures of Robert Langdon, Howard and crew updated the source material with what they believe would have made the movie connect with a larger audience than the the text itself.

As a movie-gower that also happens to pick up a book here and there, I did happen to read Angels and Demons before the movie came out. Granted it was a bit back, but the book was a great read and illustrated Brown's excellent ability to capture the reader with every chapter and force you to keep turning the page until one of his fantastic--although predictable--twist endings.

The movie adaptation severely lacked that element which, for me, made it disappointing. Moreover, I thought the producers would have learned that adapting a massive novel into a 2 hour film takes a lot of work and very rarely does well (case in point, Da Vinci Code).

However, I will say Angels and Demons was more enjoyable than its predecessor. The fixes they made to the script to maintain the constant tension that a film needs was a great change to the novel. But I really wish they explored more aspects of Robert Langdon's relationship with Vittoria, but I suppose it's a bit strange to see an aged Tom Hanks flirting with a young scientist. However, Tom Hanks did a commendable job as our protagonist. Although the script was a bit uneven, Mr. Hanks does his best to keep the funny, sarcastic, intelligent element that Brown gives Langdon in the books.

Weakest aspect of the film? The need to speed things up. What made the books great was that you flipped the pages gradually, opening up the mystery and discovering the resolution with our hero. The problem with a movie is that people don't want that (case in point, Da Vinci Code), but with a movie like Angels and Demons a slower pace in certain moments would have helped greatly. For example, the scenes where Dan Brown discovers the road markers to each church. He is speaking and translating Italian, and since he needs to be explaining at a normal, talking voice, it's almost impossible to remember where he is going or why he a certain Obelisk represents a symbol for the Illuminati.

Although the script suffers from a medium that drags the viewer at a much faster pace than they would prefer, the film isn't an entire waste. It's a fun, exciting adventure film in line with a classic detective tale. There's little action, a lot of thinking, and an enjoyable payoff in the just might not undertand why Tom Hanks is there.