Monday, May 18, 2009
WORTH SEEING ONCE.
ANGELS AND DEMONS (C+)
As promised this review was posted by Monday. Now Derek has something to do while working. It took me awhile to think of what grade to give Angels & Demons. I was back and forth on it being good and boring almost the entire film. In the end I settled on mediocrity to the sequel of the 2006 movie, The Da Vinci Code. Both of these films were adaptions of novels written by Dan Brown. Both starred Tom Hanks (Apollo 13) and were directed by Ron Howard (Yep...Apollo 13). If you haven't seen one of the best movies EVER made...Apollo 13, skip this review and this movie and GO SEE APOLLO 13!
Angels & Demons has Hanks returning as Dr. Langdon, solving all the mysteries in the world of religion. The film begins with some dissent between the Catholic Church and an ancient enemy called the Illuminati. Their objective begins with the plot to violently kill four Vatican bishops and concludes with entire destruction of Vatican City by a potentially devastating scientific discovery called antimatter.
Dr. Langdon meets with the current Catholic Church official Ewan McGregor (Star Wars) who is in charge in the absence of the recently fallen Pope. Together they create a plan of action to prevent the Illuminati plot from materializing. Langdon and an antimatter scientist (Ayelet Zurer) follow all the clues left in the pages of history to find the location of the antimatter bomb, and the captured bishops.
The story moved along a little slow initially, but picked up nicely as the movie hit its stride with the mysterious Illuminati threatening the church. The dialogue was interesting on the historical level as Dr. Langdon spits his knowledge to help solve the mystery. Everything else in this screenplay was fairly average however, giving me that boring feeling I was referring to earlier. This script needed some help before being made into a film.
This was another one of those films with plenty of favorable coincidence working for the good guys. This can become rather annoying in a real world setting. It is not blatantly overused, but enough to annoy me.
Ron Howard showed his star power as a director by creating clear shots that enhance the storytelling on this project. The use of historical references or artifacts can sometimes be difficult to pull off with all the heavy dialogue...especially from the history expert Dr. Langdon. Howard uses his great camera skills to vividly show viewers important pieces to the story, and show the beauty of Vatican City. His direction was the best thing about this film.
The acting was on par as you would guess with the likes of Hanks and McGregor. However, neither of these Hollywood regulars contribute anything wonderful such as their roles in Castaway or Big Fish. Supporting cast is decent minus a strong role by Nikolaj Lie Kaas playing a bad ass Ilumanati assassin.
Angels & Demons also could have benefited from being a little shorter. In the end, 2 hours and 20 minutes was too much for me. The story could have been condensed to make it flow better. Scenes here and there felt unnecessary to the story as a whole, which again brings me back to the boredom issue.
Overall, this film was worth a view once to let the world know what Angels & Demons was all about. Viewers who enjoy mysteries, plots to overthrown the Catholics, Dan Brown, or the first film will enjoy A&D. My intrigue was sparked during many parts of this film, but nothing delivered like I'd hoped it would or stood out to me. I almost felt like there was no passion in this project, minus the work of Ron Howard.
I liked twists and turns in the plot, but that was just not enough to save it. Despite my marginal praise for this film, I do not feel like I need to see it ever again. Replay value is something I hold high as a movie watcher, and that is why this film receives such average marks. Movie goers looking for satisfaction at the theater should see Star Trek instead. If you have seen that already...see it again. If you have seen it twice, then go see Angels & Demons.
But who really cares about Angels & Demons when Terminator: Salvation comes out it two days!
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