It disappointed. I was hoping it would carry the same superficially entertaining appeal as The Da Vinci Code, but it didn’t. Unlike most of the latter film’s detractors, I actually found the film of The Da Vinci Code more enjoyable than the book, largely because Dan Brown’s writing style is so damned amateurish. (He structures cleverly, but he writes like a 10-year-old.) I assume that’s why I found the film uplifting but the novel at best amusing scoff fodder. And I noticed that they used the same progressive musical motif – which is uplifting – in both films. It worked in The Da Vinci Code; it didn’t work in Angels and Demons (but credit to Hans Zimmer who really does know how to write splendid film music.)
My recommendation, therefore, would be: Don’t bother, not unless you’d be satisfied with seeing:
1. Tom Hanks doing some decent eye and voice acting. He’s a bit old for the gung-ho stuff now (he doesn’t run quite as convincingly as he used to) but his eyes and voice still carry some weight.
2. Ayelet Zurer being splendidly sexy in a sultry Italian sort of way. I admit, I couldn’t help pining for a cameo appearance from the incomparable Audrey Tautou, but you can’t have everything.
3. Stellan Skarsgård commanding every scene he’s in, as he usually does. I’m a bit of a fan of Stellan Skarsgård.
If they’re enough, OK.
But I suppose I have to make a confession here. I suppose the reason I found The Da Vinci Code uplifting was because it was about establishing a woman’s right to equal billing in the development of a spiritual tradition. That affords the message a hint of the pagan, which appeals to me. Angels and Demons, on the other hand, is all about establishing the fact that the Roman Catholic Church is really just a bunch of well-meaning nice guys after all. I’m more with Father Ted on that one. But I accept that any Catholics in the audience will probably have an opposite view to mine.
And there’s another factor which should be taken into consideration. It should be remembered that the plot of The Da Vinci Code was lifted in large part from the earlier nonfiction book Holy Blood, Holy Grail. I know that Dan Brown was victorious in the plagiarism litigation, but it doesn’t alter the fact of the matter, does it? He had (as far as I know) no such guide with Angels and Demons.
Finally, I expect everybody else in the world has already seen Angels and Demons because I have a long history of being the last person to watch anything, so I suppose none of the above was worth writing.