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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Angels and Demons

Starring: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor
Directed by: Ron Howard
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Rating: 5/10

Whether or not you enjoy 'Angels and Demons', I feel, lies in how you perceive it.
Some people went into the cinema having read the book, expecting a slick visual representation of Dan Brown's novel; on the whole, they were disappointed. The film does deviate from the book; without giving too much away, the identity of the Pope has changed, and the crucial scene in the Pope's office was not up to par. Tampering with Brown's universally-loved format is inevitable when you have to transfer it from one medium to another- however, such obvious and pivotal alterations have caused disappointment amongst fans of the book.
Some people went into the cinema expecting to be challenged- they wanted a puzzle, a quest, a trail- they wanted an intelligent journey, seamlessly weaving together Catholic history and philosophical food for thought. They too were disappointed- whereas The Da Vinci Code dotted from to place, between fact and fiction, leaving you pondering, I found the conundrum at the centre of Angels and Demons very linear. There was a clear, pre-ordained course that was clearly paved from the very start. It wasn't so much that the film was easy to follow; it was more that you were five steps ahead of what was happening on screen.
Those who weren't disappointed were those who took a less obvious slant. If you view Angels and Demons as a mad-cap adventure ride, you'll be on the money. It may seem a little strange, but think about it- well-renowned leading man? Check. Beautiful (yet sort-of unnecessary) female assisstant? Check. A series of clues to follow, clear enough that anyone could follow it? Check. Nice cinematography and cliche dialogue? Check.
What ... has succeeded in creating here is not the philospichal thirller many had anticipated, but a mainstream version of a highly acclaimed novel. They've beautifully packaged an everyday 'adventure' film, which even adheres (as commercialised films often do) to the Golden Rules of cinema (such as 'The "Bad Guy" is never the bad guy', and 'The guy who shouts 'He did it!' is always guilty). It's not half as good as what we anticipated, but still watchable nonetheless.

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