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The Agony and the Ecstasy: Angles & Demons Reviewed - Multiplayer vi [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Tomas Gallucci

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The Agony and the Ecstasy: Angles & Demons Reviewed [Jun. 5th, 2009|03:55 pm]
Tomas Gallucci
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[music |Hans Zimmer - Angels & Demons]

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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.


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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.


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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.


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linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: ehowton
2009-06-05 09:20 pm (UTC)
Your screencaps are magnificent! They really add depth to this otherwise highly flawed post. Then again, as you mentioned, it was created with human hands--and the flaws show.

...is, without question, a high-tension, fast-paced thriller,
This is only a (possibly) true statement to those who hadn't read the book. Comparatively, the movie was too quickly paced to build up any real suspense, and only fabricated a pretense of tension.

Angels & Demons reveals Mr. Brown as a lowly writer because Angels & Demons fits together too conveniently,
Since most of the book was left out of the movie, and you didn't read the book, this statement about Mr. Brown is something you've conjured completely from the film, and makes you look like a stunning ignoramus. I don't mind you reviewing the film, but you have zero point-of-reference on the novel, or its writer. Curious you would mislead your audience into thinking you knew what you were talking about.

Perhaps this is the lowest common denominator floating to the top and the blame ultimately belongs to Dan Brown.
The only hat-trick I see is your attempt to suggest that a bad movie made from a great novel might be the author of a book you've never read. Now that truly is magic! Any other books you haven't read that you'd like to critique?

Whether Dan Brown got his facts straight or not, one thing is for sure:
Since the movie you watched had very little to do with book, you might as well review Brett Leonard's Stephen King's The Lawnmower Man in which he used *only the title of the book* in his movie. According to imdb.com: "Early versions of the film claimed that they were related to a Stephen King work. King did write a short story called "The Lawnmower Man", but it was completely different to the movie. King sued the film makers, and had his name removed from the film." In the same way, you're arrogant enough to question this author, when in fact the film only used the books plot-points to further the story. God you suck.

If you'd like to read a more well-balanced comparative between the novel and the book, I've written this for you: http://ehowton.livejournal.com/269067.html

Again, your screencap choices were OVER THE TOP AWESOME DUDE!
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-06-05 09:28 pm (UTC)
I know this may shock you, but there are people who are going to see this movie who have never read the book and don't care to. It is also true that there are people who want to read a review from someone who hasn't read the book. Deal with it.
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2009-06-05 10:18 pm (UTC)
I know this may shock you, but there are people who are going to see this movie who have never read the book and don't care to.

I agree! Its amazing you featured it so prominently in your review.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-06-05 11:27 pm (UTC)
While it's more fun to beat a dead horse, this agreeing to disagree business sure saves a lot of energy.
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2009-06-05 11:56 pm (UTC)
I really don't know how to respond to that. I agree! was in reply to your comment that there are going to be people who see the movie who don't give a shit about the book. The part I found amazing, was given that view, you nonetheless chose to bring it, and the author up repeatedly. Take a little of your own advice. Why would you purposely write about stuff you think no one cares about?
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-06-06 12:01 am (UTC)
Would you purposely write about stuff you think no one cares about?
I have in the past and I will continue to. Why? Because this is my blog and here I'm allowed to write about what interests me.
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2009-06-06 02:26 am (UTC)
So...you wrote a review for yourself in such a way that those who didn't care, wouldn't read it?

Good luck with that.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-06-06 02:28 am (UTC)
So what you're really saying is that you care? That's so very sweet of you.
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2009-06-06 12:17 pm (UTC)
Typical but regrettable that your concluding comment doesn't even remotely address my accusations.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-06-06 05:37 pm (UTC)
You've yet to answer my question.

Edited at 2009-06-06 05:38 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2009-06-07 09:02 pm (UTC)
While I always enjoy a reprisal of a favored theme, 160 BPM was fresh and captivating, as was its baby brother, Fire.
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-06-07 09:06 pm (UTC)
I find the entire score makes for great driving music.
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2009-06-07 09:10 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! However, you asked me to comment on your paragraph, and that wasn't mentioned there.

Maybe that was your missing second paragraph?
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-06-05 11:40 pm (UTC)
Now that we've gotten past the bickering over my comments on Dan Brown, I would like to ask you about the two paragraphs I spent talking about the score. Do you agree? Disagree? Think I need to expound more?
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2009-06-05 11:56 pm (UTC)
I only saw the one paragraph. Unless you're including the picture of the album cover. Do you consider the album cover a "paragraph?"
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-06-05 11:57 pm (UTC)
Damnit, you're right! I remembered that being two paragraphs during compisition.

Either way. Your thoughts?
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[User Picture]From: schpydurx
2009-06-05 09:31 pm (UTC)
If you'd like to read a more well-balanced comparative between the novel and the book, I've written this for you: http://ehowton.livejournal.com/269067.html.
A one paragraph discussion does not a film review make.

Edited at 2009-06-05 09:33 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: ehowton
2009-06-05 10:20 pm (UTC)
That's not a film review, though I find it hysterical you think it is. Its a critique of film reviewers. I only mention it because I point out why the movie failed as an accurate adaptation, something you were unable to cover here.

Edited at 2009-06-05 10:24 pm (UTC)
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