Angels & Demons & Ted & Alice

Angels & Demons is the sequel to The Da Vinci Code and another film adaptation of a Dan Brown novel. However, the book Angels & Demons was published first and takes place before the events in The Da Vinci Code. It’s Hollywood, so what are you doing to do?

First, it’s safe to see a Tom Hanks movie again. The hideous hair he had in The Da Vinci Code is gone.

Tom Hanks (right) and Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer (left) star in Angels and Demons, one of the summer's better movies.

Tom Hanks (right) and Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer (left) star in Angels and Demons, one of the summer's better movies.

Secondly, the Catholic bashing has been tone down. Land of Punt found it harmless, but we’re not practicing Catholics. We thought the movie raised some interesting questions about science and faith.

The movie makers were obviously irate that Catholics did nothing more than roll their eyes at this flick. Director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer were certainly hoping for some religious outrage to help promote the film. Glad to see Catholics didn’t take the bait.

As for the film itself, it straddles the line of ridiculousness. On one hand, Hanks’ Robert Langdon is a refreshing break from your usual phaser-toting or claw-brandishing action heroes you see nowadays. Langdon uses his brain and he researches.

Yet, because of Langdon’s intellect instead of punches and light gun play, you get a lot of staring at statues and Eureka! moments. Instead of corny one-liners delivered after slicing off some bad guy’s head, you get pithy exclamations like, “I need to get to the Papal Archives” and “Do you have a map?” and “I need to go back to the Papal Archives.”

Basically you’ll have to ratchet up your suspension of disbelief a level or six. After all, who else do authorities call when four Cardinals are kidnapped and the Vatican city is on the brink of destruction but a symboligist.

The ambigram that started it all.

The ambigram that started it all.

Angels & Demons is nice little thriller. It moves fast and despite what we said about Langdon, it does have some action. It was nice to watch a movie with a real plot from a real writer and not from the coked-up mind of some Hollywood screen hack. Downside, since the movie unfolds at such break-neck speeds there is little character development. The movie relies on Hanks’ reputation of likability.

The real star of the show is the city of Rome; after the movie, you’ll want to call your travel agent and book a flight. Even though the church wouldn’t allow Howard to film inside their buildings, the exteriors, which were filmed in Rome, are beautiful. The history the movie alludes too is simply staggering.

If you enjoy a history lesson with your movie, you’ll enjoy Angels & Demons. If you want to avoid feeling like you’re in a comparative religion class, you may want to skip this one.

Still, Angels & Demons is a lot of fun and it delivers. If the mutant or the spacemen movies are sold out, this is a great alternative. Land of Punt likes the movie so much, we won’t give away the ending or the twist concerning the Camerlengo. That’s glaring praise.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSyWqCdqCZ0]

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