OK, everyone. Here's how it goes. Robert Langdon is smart. He knows history and symbols. There is a threat against the Vatican. OK? Following me so far? The threat is from the Illuminati, an organization of scientists vowing revenge on the Catholic Church. Alright? They've kidnapped four cardinals who are supposed to be in the running for Pope. Get it? OK, and the sexy scientist Vittoria Vetra is the expert who knows how to manage the bomb they're threatening the Vatican with. Yeah, OK, as long as you understand, we can get on with the movie. But we'll remind you of all of this in about 10 minutes in case you forget.
This may as well have been flashing on the screen for the entirety of Angels & Demons. On the surface, this doesn't seem like the kind of film that would attract brain dead idiots, but it seems that writers David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman didn't want to take the chance that some mentally challenged 11 year old might get lost in the story. This is my biggest qualm with Angels & Demons, an already mediocre film dragged down to fiery depths of cinematic hell by a completely incompetent script. OK, maybe that's a little extreme, but I couldn't pass up the chance to say "fiery depths of cinematic hell", now could I?
One example of the spoon-feeding nature of the script is the power outage idea. A camera has a live video feed of the bomb, and it's somewhere inside the Vatican. Security decides to turn off select power grids bits at a time so that they could see where to check for the bomb should the camera go dark. This seems easy enough to remember, right? Well, turns out it isn't. Every time the characters are in a room and the lights go out, some side character must remind everyone that security is turning off power at random. They really should have abandoned all hope of a four-walled narrative early on and had Tom Hanks turn to the camera every now and then and say "Alright, so let me get you up to speed here..."
And Robert Langdon. What a great character. Not only does he know everything that could possibly help him in his quest to rescue the four cardinals and stop the terrorist, but he talks about nothing else! I could count on one hand the amount of lines Tom Hanks reads that isn't a historical fact about Italy, the Illuminati, the Catholic Church, or something along the lines of "It should be here!", "We have to go there!", "They must be planning to..." or other cut and paste exclamations.
But it's a good thing that the good guy, Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, is there for guidance. Man, he's such a hero. A real saint. The perfect man for the job. Or, is he? SHOCK! TWIST! Run for the hills, because the suspicious-looking good guy who fits into the plot in nearly no significant way other than to be revealed to secretly have been the mastermind behind the whole plot is...the mastermind behind the whole plot! EEEEKK! But that means that the even more suspicious looking guy who everyone suspects is secretly the villain is...not secretly the villain! Gosh, if only they had given us a chance to figure it out...
Other minor things. Some good, some bad. Good: they got rid of what would have been a ridiculously contrived romantic subplot. The explosion at the end looked pretty. The bad: whose bright idea (pardon the pun) was it to have the light shine into the camera and nearly blind the audience whenever a character is running around with a flashlight? Why is it that two people of Italian origin in Italy, alone, speak English to each other sometimes, but Italian other times? I wouldn't mind if they spoke English the entire time, but the flip-flopping drove me crazy! Don't even get me started on the hilariously obvious and incredibly poorly written (so poorly written it stood out amongst the rest of the poorly written film) speeches about faith vs science. Yeesh.
Really, what a mediocre film. Pretty blandly directed, awful writing, and a phoned-in performance by Tom Hanks. Throw in an incredibly suspenseful "will Robert Langdon die in the middle of the movie?!" scene, a useless female sidekick and no real reason to care what happens to anyone and you can top off what should have been a huge disappointment, but really was just what most of us had expected. Oh, well. They can't all be gems.
Angels & Demons
Action / Mystery / Thriller
Angels & Demons
Action / Mystery / Thriller
Following the murder of a physicist, Father Silvano Bentivoglio, a symbolist, Robert Langdon, and a scientist, Vittoria Vetra, are on an adventure involving a secret brotherhood, the Illuminati. Clues lead them all around the Vatican, including the four altars of science, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. An assassin, working for the Illuminati, has captured four cardinals, and murders each, painfully. Robert and Vittoria also are searching for a new very destructive weapon that could kill millions.
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August 03, 2012 at 12:52 PM