Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Angels & Demons

Angels & Demons

Cinema Monolith: 4/10 Film Reel
IMDb: 6.6/10
The Arizona Republic: *** out of 5

Released on May 15, 2009
Rated PG-13
138 minutes

Directed by Ron Howard

Written by Akiva Goldsman and David Koepp, based on the novel by Dan Brown

Cast: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgård, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Pierfrancesco Favino, Elya Baskin, Rance Howard, Thure Lindhardt, Kristof Konrad, Alfred Molina (narration)

Surprisingly, I thought this film was lame, dull, and incredibly disappointing. Ron Howard and Tom Hanks returned to familiar ground in this sequel to The Da Vinci Code, where this time professor of symbology Robert Langdon, as played by Hanks, is asked by the Roman Catholic Church to help track down four cardinals in line to succeed the recently-deceased pope, who have been kidnapped by the Illuminati, who also threaten to use a stolen vial of antimatter to destroy the Vatican. Yes, by all means, contact a Harvard professor to put a stop to this extreme terrorist threat!

Though blasphemous as this may sound, after watching a man and woman run from murder scene to murder scene, arriving too late each time, only to be tripped up later by a ‘I’m-not-who-you-think-I-am’ revelation, I was reminded of a certain poorly-made and pointless independent film I once worked on as a script supervisor. For those of you who know what I’m referring to, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. To me, the people involved in this production simply walked through it—including director Howard and lead actor Hanks—as if they had better things to do than show enthusiasm for this project. Where was the emotion, and the tension, and the excitement?

Along with several plot contrivances, I was also put off by Hanks’ constant stream of religious gobbledy-speak referencing, which seemed oppressive and bothersome after awhile. Speak English, for chrissake! I’d read Dan Brown’s novel of the same name, and enjoyed it plenty more than this screwy adaptation; maybe the screenwriters should’ve stuck closer to the source material, instead of veering off into several new and completely unnecessary directions.

And at 138 minutes, the misguided opening and 20-minute bonus conclusion could have been lopped off, saving the audience a good half-hour of time they’d never get back. I’d read somewhere that Clint Eastwood wanted to direct this; it’s too bad he didn’t, because we might’ve had a more appealing movie at our disposal. However, I do agree with a friend’s comment regarding Ayelet Zurer: she was indeed no Audrey Tautou. Or Audrey Meadows, for that matter.  (4/10)

Angels & Demons - photo desk

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From the Monolith: 125

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