Friday, August 14, 2009

Book to Movie Review: Angels & Demons


People tend to misunderstand Dan Brown a lot. First, there are people who read Brown's books as if they are history books. They most definitely are not. Secondly, there are people who do not realize what they are reading - fictional thrillers with elements of sci-fi and/or history. These people groan through the books, thinking they are ridiculous and stupid. If you belong to either one of these groups, you will not like Angels & Demons.

In its book form, Angels & Demons comes before The Da Vinci Code, which was adapted for the silver screen back in 2006. In its movie form, however, it plays as the sequel. After being involved in a big religious scandal that is at the core of Da Vinci, symbologist Robert Langdon is surprised when he is invited to Vatican to help them solve a mystery. It seems like a container of antimatter, a cluster of highly explosive particles has been stolen from a research laboratory in Switzerland and is now planted somewhere in the Vatican. This is thought to be a work of a long-forgotten secret society, the Illuminati. Also, the pope has recently died, and the four strongest candidates have been kidnapped.

The Da Vinci Code was a big commercial success, but it was butchered by the critics. This movie has been graded only slightly higher. In truth, it's much less faithful to the book than Da Vinci was. I was annoyed to see very much of the book's fascinating information about history, science and the city of Rome cut from the movie. On the other hand, there are also some moments from  the book I was glad didn't make it into the movie - namely, Langdon's gravity-defying stunt. All in all, this movie is more focused on being accessible, fast and suspenseful. For the most part, it is. The special effects are impressive, the cast list is almost as good as last time, especially due to Ewan McGregor's enthused take on the role of the late pope's student, and it's just violent enough. However, I would have liked to see more flesh-and-blood characters (sadly, no Audrey Tautou, Alfred Molina, Paul Bettany and Ian McKellen this time around), as well as more history, cryptography and secrets.

GRADE: 4/5

10 comments:

Cynthia said...

I adored Ewan McGregor in this movie and I tend to think that everything Tom Hanks does is always brilliant.

I was surprised by some of the changes and I fully second your comment about not enough history, cryptography and secrets!

Overall though I think it was a really enjoyable movie as well :)

Nikola said...

I completely agree with your comment!

Plus, what is UP with Tom Hanks TALKING most of the movie? In Da Vinci, there were lush historical scenes togo with explanations!

Jenny said...

I didn't realize they made it the sequel in the movie instead of the way it was in the books. Interesting.

I just posted a book to movie review and I didn't want you to think I was copying!! I asked my hubby to make me an icon earlier this week and I'm going to try to review and book and it's movie counterpart every week.

Jenners said...

I read the book but skipped both the movies ... not sure I'm all that interested in them! But I know what you mean about people taking his books as "the gospel truth." My grandmother got all in a tither about The Da Vinci Code and I had to keep reminding her it was a fiction book!!!

stacybuckeye said...

They changed so much in this movie, for no reason. Although it was less faithful to the book than DaVinci I did think it was a better movie. Good thoughts!

Al said...

Hi Nikola thanks for visiting my blog.
Maybe I'm not brave, just stupid :)

Melissa said...

Hi Nikola.

I have only seen the movie for Da Vinci Code. I really enjoyed it, the mystery and suspence was wonderful. I have been wanting to see this one now. I am waiting for a night I can sit down by my self and watch it, no kid around to ask questions while I am trying to get all the details (& I dont think it is a movie he should be watching yet - at least not till after I watch it and decide).

Thanks for the review! This is another series I would like to read the books for. I think they would keep you on the edge of your seat just wondering what is going to happen next.

Nikola said...

Hey Melissa,
Yes, it's true that these books are page-turners - probably the most exciting I've ever read!
And the movie is only mildly gory at times, so I hope that helps when deciding whether you should watch it with your children :)

AlpHa Buttonpusher said...

My grade would be barely 2/5 but hey that's just me.

Melissa said...

Nikola,
Thanks for the tip on the movie. I appreciate the help!