Beautiful as an Japanese Angel...
I’m not going to pretend to be one of those hardcore fans who started loving a book years before it became popular (like I am with The Lovely Bones and all Charlene Harris novels). When people started creating a ruckus about the brilliance of Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code, I read it simply so I could discuss it with others and because it had such an effect on the wider community. I liked but didn’t love it. However, to this day it remains one of the most well-researched books I’ve ever read. So when the movie adaptation starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou was released back in 2006, I trotted along to see it having mediocre expectations.
For me personally it turned out to be one of those rare films where the movie was better than the book. Unfortunately I was one of only six other people in the world who liked the movie. Critics slammed it harder than the Rock and Mickey Rourke in a cage fight. Everyone was unpleasantly surprised when director Ron Howard announced he would also be adapting the sequel to The Da Vinci Code, titled Angels and Demons with a 2009 release date. I popped along to see the film when it opened last night and I must say I was incredibly pleased at its excellence. Unlike the first one, I hadn’t read Angels and Demons and perhaps that added to my viewing experience. Howard’s second effort with Hank’s character Professor Robert Langdon was faster paced than the original and remarkably better overall. It covered darker themes and the performances from the international cast were superb (Ewan McGregor especially!).
Angels and Demons was beautifully shot – and I mean beautifully! Vatican City never looked so good and I’m not sure whether the film crew were actually allowed in the Sistine Chapel or not (highly doubtful) but golly it looked believable. With the exception of a few shots that were obviously CGI, overall the cinematography was exquisite and I thought Howard did a great job at shooting this difficult material. The messages in the film, particularly the one about science and religion embracing and working with each other instead of against, were freakishly relevant. With all this taken in to account majority of critics have pinned Angels and Demons as slightly better than the original but still crap. Heck, I may be just one insignificant movie blogger in the critical sphere but if you would rather eat your own spleen than sit through Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past or 17 Again at the movies this weekend, try Angels and Demons for a seriously intelligent ride.