Saturday, May 23, 2009

Angels and Demons

I really could have gone to see Star Trek again but Tamar would have none of that. She hadn't seen a movie with me in a few weeks and was actually jonesing to see something. I offered up Terminator: Salvation. After the mind blowing awesomeness of the second Terminator she wasn't willing to tempt fate and watch a bad Terminator. (At least this is what I think she was meaning when she said, "Not a chance in hell.") The trailers for A&D actually looked pretty good, much better than it's predecessor Da Vinci Code. But I was skeptical, even the wife didn't like the book version for A&D. She kept ranting about how she couldn't believe that Langdon, a professor at Harvard, didn't know about the Collider. And it really ticked her off that Langdon kept saying that the Catholic Church was anti-science for centuries. This was incorrect of course--it has only been in the last 500 years or so that the Catholic Church has bucked the scientific community. Even with this list of grievances with the book she was still excited to see the movie.Dr. Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) has been asked to come to the Vatican as a terror group, calling themselves the Illuminati, has taken the four Preferitti hostage and is threatening to blow an anti-matter bomb in the middle of Vatican City within a matter of hours. Langdon receives help from the aide to the Pope, the Camerlengo, Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor) and a scientist Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer). Because of his last adventure he has garnered some enemies from within Vatican city. Namely the head of the Swiss Guard Commander Richter (Stellan Skarsgard). Langdon sets off through Vatican city to track the clues of the Illuminati in order to save the Cardinals who are being bumped off one after another and to find the bomb before the city is destroyed.I can say right away that this was a far better film than Da Vinci Code. The pacing was better, the cinematography was fast and exciting. The only problem is this story was not nearly as interesting as the Da Vinci Code. Again Robert Langdon has the character development of a piece of wood. I'm sorry, I love Tom Hanks but Langdon has to be one of the most boring characters in all of fiction. He has no real personality he is just this really smart Professor who looks like Tom Hanks, and that's it. Ewan McGregor's character was interesting and he really tries to do something with this role but it all just feels hollow and very manufactured. They also under utilized the very talented Ayelet Zurer, all she was capable of mostly was to follow Langdon around on his wild goose chase. The same can be said of Stellan Skarsgard's Commander Richter character who just grumbles about Langdon and his wild hunches and skulks off to be seen again later. I really did enjoy all of the tidbits about the Papacy and the inside workings of the Vatican. I thought that stuff was fascinating, but it just wasn't enough. They certainly ramped up the action sequences in this film compared to the last one but it's hard to get excited when your leader character can't even throw a punch much less fire a weapon. Indiana Jones, he is not.

If you are looking for something with a little intrigue, great production value and Tom Hanks then you might find something of interest here. But if you want a good action movie or suspense film then Star Trek and Terminator may be more up your alley.

Grade: 2 1/2 Buckets

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