Monday, June 1, 2009

Movie Review: Angels & Demons

Originally released: 2009
Starring: Ewen MacGregor. Also other people.
Directed by: Ron Howard
Based on: The novel of the same name by Dan Brown.

Do you start geeking out when you think of doing things like:
  • Gaining unrestricted access to the Vatican's secret archives and finding a lost book by Galileo?
  • Exploring the necropolis beneath St. Peter's and entering the tomb of St. Peter himself?
  • Traveling from the Castel Sant'Angelo to the Pope's quarters in the Vatican via a secret passageway?
  • Going on an art historical treasure hunt through Rome?
  • Seeing a bomb made of anti-matter that involves an extended metaphor of the power of creation and ends in the sky looking something like this?
If your answer is yes, then you will love Angels & Demons!  I went to see this movie with my mom last night and it was pretty good--a big improvement on The Da Vinci Code and a fairly faithful adaptation of the book.  In A&D, Robert Langdon, our crime-solving professor of imaginary academic disciplines, is following the Path of Illumination, created by a secret society called the Illuminati, through Rome in an effort to find four cardinals slated to become the next pope before they are murdered in gruesome fashions.

But who really cares about that.  It's all just an excuse for Langdon (and thus the audience) to go on a high-speed, adventure-infused tour of Rome and the Vatican.  We get to see the Pantheon, some church whose name I forgot (bad art historian -_-), Bernini's Ecstacy of St. Theresa, the Fountain of the Four Rivers, the Castel Sant'Angelo, the Sistine Chapel, and so on.  The action is pretty much non-stop and the cinematography is gorgeous.  I thought the filmmakers really captured the absolute vastness of the Vatican. 

Ewan McGregor as the most bad-ass priest evarrrr. :P

The movie is not as good as the book.  I felt like there was a lot more tension and story-telling in the book, and one really gets a sense of how shut-off from the outside world the Vatican is--almost like a secret society, itself.  But realistically, the movie would have been bogged down by such details.  I did love that the Vatican archives and Captain Olivetti were exactly how I imagined them, as was the Chigi Chapel in Santa Maria del Popolo (that's what the first church was!  Thank you, Wikipedia).  And Ewan McGregor was an excellent choice to play the Camerlengo, although he's actually less charismatic than the book's version (believe it or not).  The book's version I wanted to send little "You are awesome," notecards to.  Haha.

But enough about the Camerlengo.  Enough!  This was a good movie, and I would definitely recommend it, especially if you have a hankering to travel to Rome but are without the funds or time to do so.  And, if you saw the movie and liked it, get the book!  Seriously, it is a great work of fiction--I can practically guarantee you will enjoy it.

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