Angels & Demons is the film sequel to 2006’s The Da Vinci Code, both written by Dan Brown. The book for The Da Vinci Code is pretty good, and the film is pretty good too. Sure, there’s better out there, but you’d be hard pressed to find a film that couldn’t be bested by something. So, with that in mind, is Angels & Demons a better film?
Well, the short answer, is no, but you don’t come here for the short answer. You come here for the long answer, filled with humour and vitriol, sarcasm and wit, pictures and pernickety writing.
So let’s start!
The basic plot for Angels & Demons is not that bad, to be honest. I mean, sure, it’s sorta predictable in places, such as the last, oooh, 15 minutes, where, from being shown who the actual bad guy is, the three of us who were watching the film together worked out in surprisingly accurate detail, the explosion, the ejection and the survival. We even knew who was going to become the new Pope. I mean, I hadn’t read the book, I hadn’t seen the film, and as far as I know, none of us had done either, but we still knew what would happen. It’s practically cliché, at this point, and to be honest, I’m disappointed.
I was, however, pleased with having puzzles to solve and, even though I didn’t really solve any of them, I enjoyed the challenges they presented. I also enjoyed getting pissy with them for taking so long to solve the puzzles. In fact, that’s a major gripe I have with the film. They were told to, in essence, “follow the angels”, and so, they don’t think that Castel Sant’Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel) is one of the places until they see that the locations form a cross on a map of Rome. Now, don’t get me wrong – they had to solve all the puzzles, in the right order, in order to save any of the cardinals who were being held hostage. I get that. BUT, when told that the angels point the way, you might think that, quite possibly, someone ought to check out the one place, right next to the fucking Vatican. I’ve checked on Google Maps – it’s 1.5 km to Vatican City… and that’s going AROUND St Peter’s Square. If you cut through, you’ve got, what, maybe a third off of that!
Now, the acting, in my opinion, was a bit… disjointed. I can’t fault Tom Hanks. In fact, I’ve made a point to various people that I don’t think I’ve seen a bad film with him in. I mean, literally every film I’ve seen him in has been at least good. All of them. I don’t know if he saves the film or if he just doesn’t do the shit ones, or what it is, but there’s something which just, at least from the films I’ve seen, seems to make it impossible to be disappointed by anything he’s in. There’ll be one – there always is – and it is my quest to find it!
With that in mind, please prepare for my new film, starring Tom Hanks, as the gay, paraplegic, neo-Nazi, bio-terrorist, Hermit Schmitt, on his quest to become the leader of Germany, by turning everyone in bisexual zombies, driven by the pure desire to fuck. I call it, Von Necromaniac zu Reichstag.
That, of course, was a joke.
I spent 10 minutes on that, by the way…
Ewan McGregor did a decent job of the role – we joked about his purpose in the film about half-way through, but his acting sort of threw us off a bit, so that’s something. He can act, much like the the majority of the people in the film, it just didn’t seem sufficient to me to make this a great film.
In terms of visual and sound effects, I’m willing to believe that they made a fire in a church set, and used visual trickery to make us think there was someone hanging above it. I’m even willing to believe the brand marks on the bodies of the various people who received brands. I mean, I know they’re fake, but to me, they look real enough. Kudos there. Not a lot, mind, but kudos nonetheless.
The fact of the matter is this – Ron Howard and Tom Hanks don’t typically make bad films, either together or apart. They aspire to make fantastic films, and sometimes they hit the mark, like with Apollo 13, and sometimes, they fall just a little bit short, and sadly, that’s what happened here.