Angels & Demons
A Weak Sequel
The much-anticipated film follow up to Dan Brown’s ‘DaVinci Code’ is actually a prequel to that best selling novel, but the ‘Angels & Demons’ script is deftly tweaked to come off as cinematic sequel instead. Ron Howard (yes, our beloved ‘Opie’ for those of us old enough to remember Andy Griffith and that special place called Mayberry) again takes the reigns as director. David Koeep (‘War Of The Worlds’, ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’) and Akiva Goldsman (‘DaVinci Code’ and ‘I Am Legend’) are onboard as the writers. The only other really familiar face here is, of course, our hero, Robert Langdon (aka Tom Hanks).
I was all ready to be enthralled by this promising thrill ride, but in a very short period of time I was disappointed. Mr. Hanks is forced to run around continually spouting various trivia and facts to provide pertinent historical back-fill for all of the frenetic goings on around him. While quite necessary, it gets tedious very quickly. Also, the plot involves Hanks and the ‘good guys’ racing from location to location in and around the Vatican in a vain attempt to stop a series of executions. These scenes become predictable as the group shows up just seconds too late to avert the mounting body count each time. I also thought that, given the religious theme, the movie had a surprising amount of carnage in it.
Ewan McGregor is cast as Camerlengo, Patrick McKenna, and does a fair enough job of it early on, but again, the script takes some absurd turns and R. Howard & Co. opts for mayhem and special effects instead of something more intriguing. I realize the movie is only following the book, but I thought it came off as too over-the-top on screen. Ron Howard does do justice to the various locales with some great shots of the recognizable landmarks, but it’s not enough to offset the all-too-familiar script. – ‘DaVinci Code’ rehashed is more like it. Most of these films, like ‘National Treasure’, play out well the first time, but it takes a certain level of increased creativity to pull it off multiple times. Even the ‘Indiana Jones’ franchise is beginning to look a bit like a retread after too many trips to the well.
As I said, I had high hopes for this film, but really felt it fell far short of it’s potential. More like angles and dimness than a riveting ‘whodunit’…