23 February 2011

OMENS: Angels and Demons

Angels & Demons

Starring Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgård, Masasa Moyo, Victor Alfieri, Yan Cui, Shelby Zemanek, Jonas Fisch, Kristof Konrad, Curt Lowens.
Script by David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman.
Based on the book by Dan Brown.
Directed by Ron Howard.
Release: 15 May 2009.
Columbia Entertainment, 146 mins., Rated PG-13

Plot: Them pesky Illuminati are coming out of hiding after 400 years to screw with the Vatican, and the Vatican don't like being screwed, so they unenthusiastically enlist the aid of symbologist Robert Langdon to save their lives (but not their souls, cos that's already dealt with)!

Fact: I fell asleep for ten minutes at the theater watching THE DA VINCI CODE.

Fact: I rather enjoyed ANGELS & DEMONS, although it most definitely could be better, it is all around an improvement over the Howard/Hanks original.

The cinematic sequel to the literary prequel, ANGELS & DEMONS is a pretty interesting ride with some nifty ideas and scenes that just can’t come together to make a truly riveting thriller. Ultimately the lack of urgency on screen – despite characters and title screens telling us we’re running out of time, but it’s never truly felt (I mean, c’mon, Howard and Zuer don’t even break into a sprint often or talk fast cos each second counts; it’s like they have to walk a little tiny bit faster to get to the spa instead of saving thousands of lives at the Vatican) – is detrimental to the overall enjoyment and integrity of the film. Really, how hard would it be to watch a few episodes of 24 to get a overall vibe of how to create a sense of ‘Shit! We really gotta get moving on this thing or this antimatter stuff is going to blow this place to smithereens!’? Not too much.

And God bless Hans Zimmer, he tries valiantly to invoke urgency and epicness and running-out-of-timeyness with giant orchestral and vocal cues that neat block out the dialogue. Still, it’s a pretty cool soundtrack well worth a solitary listen.

Yes, it’s an improvement on DA VINCI CODE, and I don’t mean just Tom Hanks’ hair is normalish again. But unfortunately, all I can seem to do is concentrate on its downfalls. For example, Ayelet Zurer’s character Vittoria Vetra’s relevance to the plot is basically confined to two scenes, and both involve the bomb. Otherwise, she frankly could have been exercised from the movie entirely without missing anything crucial a quick rewrite wouldn’t fix. Secondly, the ultimate villain of the piece is a bit predictable, but thanks to a fine performance, they do succeed in possibly making one second guess themselves. Third, the movie still is plagued by pacing problems. A hour and fifteen minutes in, I felt like I had already watched the whole two hour ten minute film, and there was still tons of material to get through. Fourthly, the revelations and discovers Langdon makes isn’t nearly as interesting as DA VINCI CODE, despite the concept of the Illuminati springing up to take revenge on the Vatican sounds awesome. Fifthly, the movie rides the fine line of outright dissing the Vatican while also supporting religion. Interesting. Sixth, there’s some really bad special effects here. Like, a bit embarrassing.

But despite my complaints, I still dug the movie. Hell, I’d still be game for a movie adaptation of THE LOST SYMBOL, which last I heard the script was being written by the novelist, Dan Brown, so that just might be beneficial. And no offense to Ron Howard, but maybe it’s time to have another director step in to take the mantle, someone who understands that there’s a reason time is such a important part to Brown’s novels. Overall, glad I saw it finally.

Plus, the cronie doing the Big Bad's work is way more bad ass then DA VINCI CODE's Silas. This dude's got a Silencer, glasses, and a nice suit. And he has some pleasantries. Nice man. *cough. Moving on. Rating time? Rating time!

Netflix Rating: Liked It

No comments: