Friday, May 15, 2009

Angels & Demons

I haven't seen The Da Vinci Code movie, though I did read the book. And while it's the kind of book that you absolutely can't put down until you finish it, Dan Brown is paradoxically a pretty bad writer. He's just happened to find a gimmick that makes his books addictive. So bully for him.

I haven't read Angels & Demons, but from what I understand it uses all of the same tricks he later used for Da Vinci. Ending every chapter with a cliffhanger, creating plot twists by deliberately lying to the reader (the Shyamalan method), and throwing in a dash of real history.

And while the major plot twist here isn't nearly as outrageously cheated as it was in The Da Vinci Code, we have the rest of the story to compensate. Almost everything that occurs in Angels & Demons is completely preposterous, especially the climax and conclusion. The helicopter scene completely nuked the fridge, and the bad guy's ultimate plan was so complicated and relied on so much chance that it was barely a plan at all. But that didn't stop me from enjoying the movie.

One of the nice things about it is that it clips along at a rapid pace, so that you often don't have time to stop and think about how dumb it is. The whole movie is essentially one long chase scene, interspersed with a touch of art history and puzzle solving, and the occasional gruesome murder. And I mean gruesome!

One of the major problems is that I didn't particularly care for any of the characters. I found every one of them at least a little bit annoying. Even Tom Hanks comes across as a kind of douchey know-it-all who never lets a moment pass to display his cleverness. It's no wonder the Vatican is so reluctant to work with him. And is it just me, or did you not know who the bad guy was after watching the first trailer?

I also have to take slight umbrage with the ultimate message about science and religion. Angels & Demons comes down on the side of "hey, they're both equally good! Can't have one without the other." Which seems to validate the current argument that schools should be teaching creation right alongside evolution.
I know this is a popcorn movie and Ron Howard is not trying to be controversial, but come on!

Regardless, I found myself enjoying the movie. If for nothing else than to get to see some wonderful parts of Rome, and amazing art. Particularly the work of Bernini whom I've absolutely loved since watching the incredible series, Power of Art (check it out, you'll be in love). Despite all of its glaring flaws I found myself enjoying the ride. Just like The Da Vinci Code.

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