Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Angels & Demons
I thought The Da Vinci Code was moderately palatable. Nothing spectacular. Which is why I was surprised to see a sequel. The film made lots of money but just was not that good. Why someone chose to make a sequel is beyond my understanding. Angels & Demons was a waste of time. Of course, I watched it during an international flight...so I had nothing better to do.
Angels & Demonsis bad on many levels. Tom Hanks returns as Robert Langdon, who has been summoned to the Vatican to help solve the kidnapping of several Cardinals following the untimely death of the Pope. In a contrived and completely unbelievable turn of events, Langdon finds himself at the middle of a conspiracy within the Church. Langdon has a somewhat apostate view of church affairs so an intended irony exists in his effort to save the Institution while attempting to save the lives of thousands of residents and visitors to the Holy See (and surrounding area). The plot manages to squeeze and stretch reality with an impossible time line that often seems laughable. While solving Da Vinci Code-like riddles, Langdon manages to unravel the location where each Cardinal will be assassinated while trying to get ahead of the killer and solve the broader mystery. Langdon does not realize that he is a pawn who has been brought in to further the conspiracy.
This is where the plot really loses me. The plot relies heavily on Langdons ability to solve the mystery within an incredibly tight time line. There is also a scene where Langdon could easily have lost his life, in which case the broader plot could not have evolved properly and the entire elaborate set-up would have been for naught. There were other inconsistencies in the plot that just seemed to incredible...like managing to get a helicopter on stand-by in the courtyard of the Vatican within minutes. Even a carefully orchestrated plot would fail to execute a time line so quickly and precisely...depending on such minute details as another individuals ability to string together riddles and solve them...just one minute one way or the other changes the outcome. Not likely.
The characters in Angels & Demons are woefully bad. The characters are flat and predictable. The stereotypes would probably create outrage in communities other than the Christian (Catholic) Church. I was shocked at how blatantly religious considerations were disregarded with complete impunity. I am not Catholic and was not offended by the film personally. But I could easily see how someone could find the material offensive. Not simply because of the conspiracy and behind the scenes politics demonstrated in the film, but by the treatment of several of the characters, who are one-dimensional caricatures. It seemed like some liberty may have also been taken with historical facts.
Read More About Angels And Demons