Angels & Demons (2009)

“Angels & Demons” (2009)



I don’t expect much of a Ron Howard film. His films are bloodless and unappealing to me, despite the effects that are applied. His cinematic ideas are as basic and uninteresting as those annoying camera effects we have in his Dan Brown based films – cameras that move through walls as if to show us the “hidden truth” behind what’s apparent. Dull. The biggest disaster was the “daVinci Code”, because that was made when the book was incredibly consensual throughout the world, consensual even in its supposed revolutionary revelations. The film was so poor it couldn’t even serve as a proper illustration for the book like, say, the Harry Potter films do with the books.

This one was a predictable failure. If they weren’t able to break any rules of the genre with the first one that was already loved by the public before it was even shot, this wouldn’t be where they’d make it. This had to maintain the viewers that kept following Langdon even after the cinematic code disaster. So this film uses the skeleton of the first one, and places different flesh over it. Now it’s not about the grail, or the blood of Christ, instead it’s about some political plot inside the Vatican. The Code was a far more interesting story, as far as the book goes, but both stories are uncinematic to me, because they only tease when you get into the details that Brown cleverly chooses to use to build his intended narrative. What he presents are narratives, versions, stories that might be true. This is done by the association of facts, not through images. That’s suited for a book, not so much for a film.

The only significant switch here is that, more than in the Code, Langdon is more of a detective here than a researcher. In the Code, the fun was for you to understand the narrative that was being told to you, in the historical plan, by joining the puzzle pieces that were being thrown at you. Here it was about getting the “insider”, finding who was manipulating things. Underneath the historical heavy display of facts there is a simple detective story, in the Agatha Christie tradition. And underneath that tradition is a whole heritage that American noir left us to enjoy and explore. If Ron Howard and the other people involved had got this, they might have made a decent film. This way, they didn’t.

My opinion: 1/5

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