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Angels and Demons

Angels and Demons (for those who read the book)

Watching a movie based on a book is always tricky. Going in, you already seem to think that the movie will probably be not up to par with the book. A lot also depends on whether you read the book or not beforehand and try as you might, you cannot change the fact that you did read the book and know the story already.

So I will not pretend as if I did not know the story or that even though I did read the book, I can totally disregard it. I can't. So I won't.

Angels and Demons was one of the most highly anticipated movies for me this summer. Everybody thought that The DaVinci Code didn't turn out as good as they expected and thought that this one could be an improvement. Is it?

In a way, yes. Angels and Demons is the book prequel to TDVC. Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) runs around the Vatican trying to catch the elusive group Illuminati who is out to destroy the Catholic Church. It is a much more exciting story, pace-wise, than TDVC and it is a little less preachy than its predecessor, which sometimes felt like an indoctrination to a cult.

Acting remains excellent, especially by Ewan McGregor who played the Camerlengo. (By the way, Ewan McGregor and Paul Bettany could have exchanged roles in the two movies and it still would've worked). Stellan Skarsgård on the other hand acts as if he is a Tony award-winning actor stuck in a children's school play. I'm sure that's exactly how he felt.

Ayelet Zurer nails the part of a hottie smart girl which is really quite difficult if you look at all the failed examples in Hollywood (Denise Richards in that James Bond flick, Elisabeth Shue in The Saint). Hanks is always believable because he plays within range every time and never fails in a performance.

So was it good? Yes.

Did I like it? As a guy who read the book and was blown away by the key plot near the end?


Like I said, translating a book into a movie is tricky. Understandably, there will be some elements that will be lost as things just may not fit the time constraints of a movie. For example, Tom Bombadil (if I'm right) completely got written off in Lord of the Rings. Was it okay? Yes, because he did not figure in prominently in the story. Characters can be lost if they are minor ones. Plots however should not be. Especially if it's the key plot of the entire story and it is what elevates the story beyond a regular suspense thriller.

That plot left out in the movie blew me away in the book. It was great, it was painful, it was jarring. I loved it. It was the part that I loved the most in the story and since they left it out of the movie, I now hate the latter.

Is it still a good movie? Yes. Just don't read the book before. Or after.

Six out of ten stars.


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