Angels and Demons provided, well, “angel” and “demon” moments. Overall, while the movie’s “angel” moments were worth the price of admission, it lacked a consistent flow as this Ron Howard directed film unevenly spewed the story of Robert Langdon and his defense against the secret brotherhood: The Illuminati.
The movie, like most Hollywood blockbusters, was heavy on plot, temperature-raising moments, and intricate details within the setting. I found these aspects of the film to be exceptional. The cat and mouse chase of Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), the unfolding conspiracy theories, the twists and turns of the Papal conclave along with the Swiss Guard provided an engaging and visceral experience. However, the attempts at developing the character of Langdon were vomit producing, at best. His horrid array of boring facts about every stationary historical item and attempts on comedic one-liners were unbelieving and silly. Furthermore, he was inconsistent in the level of angst he displayed over his situation. In one moment, we see Langdon calmly dealing with the incredible news of the Illuminati’s involvement and the next, anxiously running to attempt to reach the Path of Illumination before the killer.
Based on the hard-to-believe plot, the attempt at creating dialogue about faith between Cardinal Strauss, the Camerlengo and Robert Langdon were unnecessary. Although director Howard is attempting to deepen this action-laced movie, it was a feeble attempt and one that was not appreciated. Furthermore, if anyone still believes every fact behind the conspiracy theories of the Catholic Church and the Vatican, let’s get real! Dan Brown, the author of both “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons,” developed history-laden conspiracy theories that have little to no factual backing. He “lacks a principled approach to history, science and religion, and therefore spreads lies and half-truths that have been circulating in the occult world for the last hundred years,” writes Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of The Christian Film and Television Commission and publisher of online website MOVIEGUIDE.
Ron Howard has directed several blockbusters including Dan Brown’s first novel-turned-movie The Da Vinci Code, Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind and Apollo 13. Howard’s movies typically display a rich and vibrant setting and context upon which to tell a story. He accomplishes this in Angels and Demons. However, unlike some of his previous movies, I find the characters of Langdon, Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), and Commander Richter (Stellan Skarsgard) to be shallow and one-dimensional. Ewan McGregor, playing the Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, however, pulls an exceptional and deep portrayal of a complex character.
Because Angels and Demons provides more “angel” moments than “demon” ones, this movie is worth seeing despite the inefficiencies. Just don’t expect anything more than an action-packed, complex thriller.