Angels and Demons

May 16, 2009


I went to see this latest adaptation of a Dan Brown novel expecting it to be rubbish. And yet I still went. I went knowing that it was 2 hours and 18 minutes long. And yet I still went. My cinematic choices in the last week (save going to see the brilliant In The Loop one more time) probably reflects poorly on me, but The Uninvited and now Angels and Demons have not created lasting impressions. In fact, Ron Howard’s film probably holds the high honour of being marginally better than The Uninvited, which might seem surprising, but shouldn’t be seen as a compliment.

The first problems with Angels and Demons crops up when it attempts to do a little bit of populist scaremongering by making the scientists at the Cern research facility look like an amateurish and disjointed bunch dabbling in things they don’t understand. In the opening minutes of the film set within the large hadron collider scientists intersperse their technobabble with lines like ‘I hope the boys at *insert made up scientific job here* haven’t screwed up’. This view is proliferated further when later in the film, after the ‘antimatter’ which is stolen from Cern and planted as a bomb to destroy Vatican City, one Cern researcher who happens also to be Tom Hanks’ romantic interest talks about the naivety of her and her colleagues. Tom Hanks’ Professor Langdon agrees that they were behaving ‘innocently’ when they created antimatter, as if they could have in some way foreseen its eventual use in the completely ridiculous plot.

At the centre of the plot is one of the most ridiculous evil schemes ever committed to the silver screen, and whilst I won’t go into the details so as not to spoil it for those who will inevitably go and see Angels and Demons, the amount of precise factors which must align in order for the scheme to work defies belief.

In other areas the film is equally weak. The script will leave you constantly sighing with disappointment as it patronises the viewer again and again and results in characters who are supposed to be renowned academics going through the motions of idiotic exposition. The main plot sees Tom Hanks running around various stunning areas of Rome, always arriving too late to save the day, and in the end his presence is almost completely pointless as many of the twists occur despite him. You might think that at least the thing will have some pace, but despite regular shifts of venue and lots of running there’s little to get excited about, probably because you never really care about any of the characters. Stellan Skarsgard is probably the strongest member of the cast, though he has said in interviews in his home country of Sweden that he thinks Dan Brown is a terrible writer.

So, Angels and Demons is not a good movie, and is arguably worse than The Da Vinci Code though not by much. It’s too long, the script is terrible, most of the actors phone in their performances and I also felt it was quite violent for a 12A with loads of dead cops and head shots littering sections of the film. If anything a bit more violence would at least have given it shock value. The one redeeming feature is that for the most part it acts as a great advertisement for the city of Rome as the ancient architecture fills every frame and adds weight to a flimsy slip of a film.

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4 Responses to “Angels and Demons”


  1. […] I guess) is hard to place amongst the summer blockbusters that have already been released. Unlike Angels and Demons it is not offensively bad, but it’s nothing like as triumphant as Star Trek. I won’t go […]


  2. […] not particularly crude or offensive and the premise is basically sound but executed blandly. Like Angels and Demons it ends up being more of an advert for the city it’s set in (Las Vegas) than a coherent film. […]


  3. […] considering we’ve already had such classic dunces as Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Angels and Demons drooling violently into their own laps that’s quite an impressive achievement. It goes about […]


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