Movie: Angels and Demons

In Rome, the Vatican prepares for the Conclave of the College of Cardinals for selection of new pope. Till the new pope is elected, Father Camerlengo(Ewan McGregor) is in charge of the Vatican affairs. Meanwhile, in CERN, a container of antimatter is stolen from the laboratory after a scientist, Silvano, is murdered.

In Massachusetts, a Vatican official interrupts Robert Langdon(Tom Hanks) to inform him of the emergence of an ancient secret society named Illuminati. Illuminati has kidnapped four Preferiti(likely candidates for pope) and left an ambigram. The kidnapper also threatened to kill these Preferiti one by one in one hour intervals starting at 8 pm.

Langdon is flown into Vatican and meets the commander of the papal Swiss Guards, Commander Ritcher(Stellan Skarsgard). At Ritcher’s office, Langdon meets Vittoria Vetra(Ayelet Zurer) from CERN. Everyone watches the videotape containing the footage of missing antimatter container and the four Perferiti. They have only 4 hours to find the antimatter before Vatican is destroyed.

In order to proceed with his investigation, Langdon needs access to Vatican archives. Ritcher denies the request while Camerlengo relents. Camerlengo warns Cardinal Strauss(Armin Mueller-Stahl), who is in charge of the papal election, about the bomb and requests to vacate the Vatican Cardinal Strauss leaves to the will of the God and proceeds with the election.

With access to Vatican archives, Langdon and Vittoria races against time to find the antimatter and save the Preferiti. In a span of 5 hours, they have to solve the secrets of Illuminati, built over centuries.

Ron Howard, the director, has once again shown the command of the medium. He uses computer graphics to enhance the storytelling so that pages are translated to a simple nonstop movement of the camera. The creation of antimatter is one such scene. He has also successfully captured the crowd, the chaos and the euphoria outside the papal church. Here again, he has brilliantly used computer graphics.

In spite of his best efforts, Ron fails to capture the essence of the movie due to the liberties taken during the adaptation of the Dan Brown novel. Fans are not going to love the movie. The predecessor, The Da Vinci Code, was a faithful adaptation with movie narrative aligning with the novel narrative.

Ewan McGregor is excellent as Camerlengo. He has played his role so perfectly that the fans of the novel will see the red herring clearly in his face. Tom Hanks is a letdown. The direction along with the background music builds up the crescendo while Tom hampers the pace with his pedestrian performance. I wish he had the Da Vinci hairdo!. For Armin Mueller-Stahl, this is a cakewalk as he has already played a similar role in The Third Miracle.

The angels are no match for the demons. Wait for the DVD to see how your favorite novel failed to translate into a good movie.

Genre: Thriller

Rating: **

Tags: Movies,Angels and Demons,Ewan McGregor,Tom Hanks,Stellan Skarsgard,Ayelet Zurer,Armin Mueller-Stahl,Ron Howard,Dan Brown