Monday 18 May 2009

Review: Angels and Demons

Year: 2009
Director: Ron Howard
Screenplay: David Koepp, Akiva Goldsman
Starring: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Stellan SkarsgÄrd, Ayelet Zurer

I read The Da Vinci Code and thought it was ok in a trashy sort of way. It read like a goosebumps book and I got though it quickly. The film on the other hand was long hard slog. Much like really bad drunken sex where both parties aren't really into it, but plough though both their clothes are off. I didn't read Angels and Demons because life's too short and why read airport thrillers when I could read material that's far more testing and creative.

Why did I sit through Angels and Demons may you ask? Because an arsehole film blogger I have to. It's one of the bigger films and to have it omitted just wouldn't be right. Plus I have nothing else to do with myself at the moment except play Xbox or drink paint thinner (that's Wycombe for you).

So I enter the cinema, told the loudmouth kids to shut the fuck up (seriously they were like on a first date or something...talking about the kaiser chiefs, I didn't pay money to hear them talk shit), and sat in the dark waiting to see what Ron Howard was going to bring with this film sequel (book prequel).


Angels and Demons is an overlong, dull thriller that thinks it's more intelligent than it actually is. The films main plot is a very typical, bog standard thriller. If your a fan of something like Poirot you've already seen something far sharper (and shorter) than what you see here. This film is thriller by numbers. But what Dan Brown has done is wrap the film in a large catalogue of facts (read: dubious bullshit that sounds important) to hide the fact that what he's got is a naff direct to video movie. It's like taking the dumbass school jock, letting him hold A brief history of time and giving him a pair of glasses. The new boy may be fooled but the teachers ain't buying it.

I went into this film with no knowledge of the book, but guessed what would happen very quickly. I'm no (enter clever person name here) but I could see the protracted movements of the character coming a mile off. Unless of course when they do stupid things. Case in point Our "hero" Robert Langdon (amusingly played by Tom Hanks) is stuck in a glass archive room with a guard (with a full loaded gun). They are running out of oxygen and are looking frantically for something to smash the glass. With the information I've given you, what do you do? Yeah. They don't do it. In fact they wait until their lungs are almost completely filled with Carbon Dioxide until they do. They escape, they're both relieved and I die a little inside because i made a pact with myself never to walk out of a movie ever.

When characters aren't being idiots, they're explain huge sections of plot ad nausea for us. Fair enough it's probably loyal to the book but these people have got time to do this. Why? Because they are on a time limit. The amount of historical "facts" that these guys go through while some poor priest is dying just doesn't ring true. The vast amount of exposition took me out of the story and took away the tension, as a friend noted to me "there's a bomb LET'S GET TO THE LIBRARY!". Remember Hitchcock's theory on suspense? Well it appears that Howard forgot to look it up, which is frustrating due the fact that earlier in the year he was director of the tense and thrilling Frost/Nixon. But how can i blame him, he's got to work with sub par material.

I've gone on too long now as I will be quick with the acting which is bland to say the least. While Hanks is lucky enough to get the few humorous lines, he spends most of the time grimacing like a constipated pitbull. Everyone else is either as plain as Vanilla (Ayelet Zurer has NOTHING TO DO) or completely transparent. There's two other more recognisable names (in western world) I will not mention but they do nothing to make the viewer second guess their actions. In fact thanks to the script as well as their piss poor might not even be sure what their actions are.

It's decided to cut the review short as anyone reading this will be as sick of this review as much as I was sick of the film (especially if you actually enjoyed A&D). I didn't even get on to the preposterous third act which wants the viewer to make a leap of faith so great it would make the grand canyon look like a small fruit bowl.

The Da Vinci Code had quite a poor reception when it opened 3 years ago at Cannes. As snooty as those french bastards are, sometimes they get it spot on. To me it's no surprise that this didn't show this time around.