|[||Tags|||||503, angels & demons, bourne ultimatum, chevaliers de sangreal, ewan mcgregor, film review, hannibal, hans zimmer, science and religion, tom hanks, writing sample: film review||]|
|||||Hans Zimmer - Angels & Demons||]|
While Ron Howard's latest excursion into the religious surreal is, without question, a high-tension, fast-paced thriller, Angels & Demons is, nevertheless, created with human hands--and the flaws show. Though Dan Brown attempted to pass himself off as an intellectual atheist on a mission with The DaVinci Code, receiving praise and accolades from today's so-called progressives, Angels & Demons reveals Mr. Brown as a lowly writer because Angels & Demons fits together too conveniently, ultimately leaving the audience saying, "Of course that couldn't have happened! It's just a movie."
THe main contrast between Angels & Demons and DaVinci Code is that Angels & Demons is very respectful to religion in general and Catholics specifically whereas DaVinci Code is purely atheistic volley designed to destroy Christendom.
Ewan McGregor was perfectly cast as Camerlengo. Everything about McGregor's performance, yes, even his accent is perfectly executed. You feel the little boy trying to come out of the thirty-something year old man--the taught humility fighting the powerlust while the whole time being in awe of the very power being veraciously juggled. Ayelet Zurer does a wonderful job playing second fiddle to Tom Hanks' leading Professor Robert Langdon. Pierfrancesco Favino and Stellan Skarsgård hold their weight as supporting actors supplying exposition. Armin Mueller-Stahl adds a human element, reminiscent of a wise grandfather that knows when and how to say "no."
Tom Hanks was paid "the highest salary ever paid to an actor" to reprise his role as professor Langdon just days before the announcement came that Johnny Depp was being signed to Pirates of the Caribbean 4 for the even higher salary of $56 million. Is Hanks worth the dough? His name might be, but it takes at least two viewings to appreciate his performance. On the initial viewing, there are too many times when you felt you were looking at an actor who was doing the best he could with the material he was handed.
For example, in order to execute a plot twist, Hanks had to pull the rabbit out of the hat with an "oh, I wonder if..." Granted, this may not all be Akiva Goldsmith's fault. I wouldn't be the first to call Goldsmith a hack, but having not read the book and being told the twist in the book was executed similarly, I'm not sure who's at fault. Perhaps this is the lowest common denominator floating to the top and the blame ultimately belongs to Dan Brown.
Regardless, director Ron Howard puts together a piece of entertainment that does indeed distract the audience from "the man behind the curtain." Howard's biggest disservice to the story is making the guilty too innocent thus raising suspicions almost immediately when the film begins. Howard also needs to reign in his DP Salvatore Totino. There are enough spinning shots of the Large Hadron Collider in the beginning of the film to give one motion sickness watching the film on the big screen. For those self-proclaimed film buffs out there, at least one shot of the LHC is reminiscent of the shot in Apollo 13
of the spark of electricity that ultimately causes the oxygen tanks to blow up.
Speaking of reminiscent, Hans Zimmer's Angels & Demons score
pays much tribute to the DaVinci Code
's track Chevaliers De Sangreal
. Indeed, the last track of the album 503
heard in the film over the credit roll is a fuller but shorter orchestral rendition of Chevaliers De Sangreal
. Joshua Bell's absolutely sublime violin work is featured prominently on several tracks and serves the score much like a favorite easy chair at the end of a long day. The score starts energetic, then proceeds to become the aural battle of Heaven vs. Hell as fought on earth. Indeed, the track Science and Religion
is selfless, altruistic sacrifice as personified with sound waves. The keen listener will note a breath of a phrase from Hannibal
and the percussion through the album is a tribute to John Powell's Bourne Ultimatum
Whether Dan Brown got his facts straight or not, one thing is for sure: Angels & Demons
will do for Art History--particularly Rome's--what Watchmen
did for turning the younger generation on to 60's & 70's music. The sudden interest in art, architecture and Catholic procedure and history should not come as a surprise. After all, the film's message is "Faith is a gift we [intellectuals] have not yet received"...but we keep searching for the Truth.