Angels & Demons

 Rating – *


A film which manages to be pointless, ridiculous, uninspired, derivative, yet also deeply boring all at the same time. I’ve not seen anything quite like it since…………, The Da Vinci Code. The fact that these films are helmed by the usually very talented Mr Ron Howard makes it even more puzzling. It’s like the source material has clouded everyone’s better judgment and brought out the worst in them.

Tom Hanks is arguably one of the finest actors in film history. But as Robert Langdon, Hanks has crafted a character who is bland and annoying where he should be brave and witty. None of his lines are memorable. Most of the time Hanks just delivers endless exposition about symbols in order to advance the “urgent chase” to yet another statue or church………… before it’s too late! The way he spouted this dense jargon with a chipper yet know-it-all disposition started to feel familiar. And then it hit me, Hanks has clearly based his character on Kryten from Red Dwarf! Once I made this connection I actually found the film more entertaining, purely because I started to imagine the square headed mechanoid in his place. Ewan McGregor delivers the films only decent performance. Although even he can’t manages to transcend the utter shite he’s forced to act out.

The reason I hate these films is down to the tone. They try to come across as profound, dealing with “important” issues, yet all they’re really interested in is childish cheap shocks and fake controversy. The elaborate deaths resemble those in the Saw franchise but they lack the sadistic innovation. The ludicrous finale stretches things too far because the film refuses to fully embrace or even acknowledge it’s own silliness. How can you ask the audience to keep a straight face when a priest parachutes from a hijacked helicopter as a canister of anti-matter explodes above St Peters Square?!

I’m on record as one of the few people to happily embrace an equally far fetched scene (involving a flying saucer) in Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of The Crystal Skull. In fact, both these films share the same screenwriter, David Koepp. I can accept this kind of goofy premise in a film which innocently celebrates nostalgic escapism (think 1950s, giant insects, and “saucer men from mars”) Most importantly, I was entertained. But Angels & Demons has more in common with recent  abominations like Eagle Eye and Knowing. It will still make a ton of money at the box office, people see it out of curiosity. That’s understandable, but I find it hard to imagine anyone intelligent ever wanting to re watch it.


~ by thewholebuffalo on July 20, 2009.

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