Saturday, 23 May 2009

Angels & Demons

Okay, I was obviously too hard on Star Trek. After watching Angels & Demons and another summer blockbuster I am not yet allowed to name, and hearing about Terminator Salvation, it could very well be that Star Trek is by far the best action film this season will offer, in which case I should have spent a little more time singing its praises instead of primarily expressing my disappointments. Sorry, J.J.

It won’t take long to sing the praises of Angels & Demons (sorry, Ron). The score was better than the one in Da Vinci Code (though Hans Zimmer used the same basic themes), the setting and cinematography as strong as in Da Vinci Code and the acting as mediocre as in Da Vinci Code (though Armin Mueller-Stahl was as great as ever in a supporting role). But the story, the all-important story, was a snooze-fest (I’m so glad I didn’t waste my time reading the book, which I’m sure must have been even worse than Dan Brown’s poorly written though at least occasionally fascinating Da Vinci Code). I found the Illuminati church-chase an interminable bore. And the surprise ending was one of the most predictable (and telegraphed) in the history of film. Unlike the critics, I actually rather liked The Da Vinci Code, but Angels & Demons ranks among the worst films I’ve seen in the past year.

What about its “message”, namely that science and religion (or faith) can coexist? Yeah, okay, but a nice obvious message conveyed in a very simplistic way doesn’t do much for me either. I prefer the crazy religious ideas of The Da Vinci Code, which are at least a little thought-provoking.

NEVERTHELESS, Angels & Demons did have one redeeming factor: it had a few marvellous quotes (I’m not sure whether or not this is a sarcastic statement). To begin with, in the “truer words were never spoken” category, we have the killer telling our hero: “Be careful – these are men of God”. If only he had been listening to himself talk! Then, in the “if only it were true” category, we have Ewan McGregor (who should try another musical) saying the Catholic Church is “a simple brotherhood who want nothing more than to be a voice of compassion in a world spinning out of control.” And finally we have the best line in the film, which is also in the first category above, with the added “if only people believed it”. The line goes something like: “Religion is flawed. Because men are flawed – all of them!” Amen!

Angels & Demons proves that this is also true of filmmakers, actors and writers. This film is, unfortunately, one of many this season which will prove my point below about mindless action. I’m not planning to waste my time on most of them, so I should be careful not to call Angels & Demons one of the worst. But I really can’t give this film more than **+. My mug is down.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. with a review like that, it's a good thing I wasn't planning to see it anyway! I didn't like the Da Vinci Code (book or movie) and since I'm judgmental (and Angels and Demons doesn't look any more promising) I figured I'd go to Star Trek instead (which was very entertaining). Thanks for the reassurance that I made the right choice!