Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Angels & Demons is a vast improvement over the Da Vinci Code movie...

I was shocked to discover that Angels & Demons was actually a vast improvement on it's movie franchise predecessor, The Da Vinci Code.
Tom Hanks Angels and Demons billboard
I went to the cinema with very low expectations (I've read all the Dan Brown books and as somewhat of a completionist feel obliged to watch the on screen adaptations) and I'm pleased to say that the movie was a good mystery thriller and the 138 minutes didn't seem to drag once at all.
Angels and Demons film billboard
One of the biggest flaws with The Da Vinci Code movie was that the audience is never allowed to figure out anything for themselves and the film is so loaded with exposition of Tom Hanks spoon feeding everything to the viewers, that the story loses any sense of pace or excitement.
Angels and Demons movie billboard at The Grove
This time round, whether the story itself is more intriguing (I myself think that Angels & Demons is better than its more famous counterpart), Tom Hanks is less annoying (with a better haircut) or that Ron Howard has learned valuable lessons from the criticisms of The Da Vinci Code, all add up to a better cinematic outing this time around. 
Angels and Demons movie billboards
It also helps the action takes place in architecturally beautiful Italy and that Tom Hanks is this time accompanied by Ayelet Zurer (Vantage Point, Munich), as CERN scientist Vittoria Vetra, with whom he has better chemistry (although thankfully they don't try and make into a love interest) and has a much stronger presence than Audrey Tautuo ever did in the first Robert Langdon movie. 
Angels and Demons movie billboard Santa Monica Blvd
The story for those not in the know, is one of religion versus science and this time, instead of the threat of Opus Dei, we get the mythology of the secret society of the Illuminati as the film's main protagonists, plus the inner workings and politics of the Catholic church after the death of The Pope
Angels and Demons movie billboards ArcLight Hollywood
To add to the drama there's also a much bigger threat in the form of a stolen anti-matter bomb hidden in Vatican City and the movie is much faster paced, although does get slightly repetitive after the fourth clue and location in the fabled 'Path'

On the downsides, Ewan McGregor's and Stellan Skarsgard's accents at times seem all over the place (little things like that can really irk me) and I must make a mental note to myself to stop watching movies that I know the ending to as it tends to remove all the dramatic tension from a story (although I'd read the book so long ago now, that the details were sufficiently blurred, yet still not too familiar).
Angels and Demons movie teaser billboard
I give Angels & Demons a well deserved three *** stars for pleasantly surprising me and exceeding my expectations and I hope to see the wonderful Ayelet Zurer in more movies in the future.

When I got home from the cinema I had another surprise in the form of another earthquake following Sunday evenings 4.7 magnitude quake, although this time only 4.0 and a little bit of a wobble.

Rattlesnakes, earthquakes, sunshine and movies, what a great combination and life to live in L.A.

I also got to see an advance preview screening of Terminator Salvation last night, so come back soon for my thoughts on the fourth installment of that sci-fi action franchise.

I'll be back...

P.S. Olympic Gold medalist gymnast Shawn Johnson was the worthy winner of Dancing with the Stars season eight last night.


The_Brain said...

I have just started "Angels & Demons" so I'm waiting to reach the last page of the book before I see the movie, or maybe I should just watch the movie first to avoid any unfulfilled expectation...

Jason in Hollywood said...

oh tricky one. I still enjoyed after I'd read the book, so I'm sure you will too :-)