A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Angels & Demons
Following the lukewarm response to The Da Vinci Code, Ron Howard and Tom Hanks are back with Angels & Demons, a prequel that likewise dwells in mediocrity. This time Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned to the Vatican as the Cardinals are in conclave following the death of the Pope. He learns that four of the Cardinals who are most likely to be elected Pope have been kidnapped and they will be executed one by one every hour beginning at 8:00 pm that night and culminating in an explosion that will wipe out the entire Vatican. Due to a cryptic symbol left at the scene, Langdon believes that this is the work of the Illuminati, a long thought dormant group of intellectual science minded individuals who rivaled the Church. Joining him in this ludicrousness is an Italian physicist (Ayelet Zurer) who helped design the explosive device which was stolen, a priest (Ewan McGregor) and confidant of the deceased Pope, and the reluctant head of the Swiss Guard (Stellan Skarsgaard). Angels & Demons got the same mixed reviews that The Da Vinci Code got, and I do agree that they are not great films, but on their basic level I think they are fun as treasure hunt movies. This film offers some nice although staged location shots of Vatican City as well. Still I don't know why Howard and Hanks are involved with these projects. Both are capable of much better work, and the Langdon character is just downright bland. He even looks bored himself when he's on the screen. Ewan McGregor contributes his usual solid performance here, and the movie flows for awhile until it begins to drag out and in the end the uninspired directing and Hanks performance as well as the ridiculous plot overtake what should have been a fun movie.