Sunday, 31 May 2009

Angels & Demons

We went to see Angels & Demons (2009) last night. Having read the novel by Dan Brown a few years ago, and enjoying it far more than The Da Vinci Code (2003), I nevertheless didn't hold very high expectations for the movie. The Da Vinci Code (2006) movie was predictably sensational and over-hyped, as was the novel. I'm a long-time fan of Tom Hanks and his work, but I really don't think he's the right actor to play Robert Langdon.

Perhaps a great part of Angels & Demons' appeal for me is the setting; as I read the novel, I consulted my map of Rome and was delighted to discover that I'd been to three out of four of the murder sites, as well as many parts of the Vatican City, including St Peter's Basilica, St Peter's Square, and the phenomenal Sistine Chapel. It was great to see scenery shot in and around Rome (even though some of the sets were replicas). I'd love to go back there some day.

As for the movie itself, it was better than I expected. I was annoyed to hear a radio commentary saying that "Angels & Demons picks up right where The Da Vinci Code left off". Actually, it's a prequel with a completed unrelated plot but Hollywood has magically morphed it into a sequel. Talks of producing a third movie to "complete the trilogy" also have me shaking my head in disbelief. Besides, a third novel hasn't even been written yet.

In all, Angels & Demons has come in for a lot of criticism, much of it deserved. However, it's really just entertainment, never proclaiming to be the truth or even half as controversial as the Vatican (and media) have hyped it up to be. If you just watch the movie and don't think about things too much, it's an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday night.

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