Watched the latest Tom Hanks starrer Angels and Demons today. For the uninitiated, this is a film based on a novel by Dan Brown, whose most famous book is The Da Vinci Code, which was also made into a film starring Tom Hanks. Both movies feature the same principal character, symbologist Robert Langdon.
The books are in fact in the reverse order, where Dr Langdon is introduced in Angels and Demons and then goes on to the mysteries of The Da Vinci Code, but the film makes several allusions to the fact that Dr Langdon has already had brushes with the Church, which is possible only if he has already messed with The Da Vinci Code. This is interesting, because I remember the trailers specifically mentioning, “Before the Da Vinci Code, were Angels and Demons”. Hmm.
It’s actually a pretty good film. At least, I thought it was better than The Da Vinci Code (DVC). Of course, DVC had the disadvantage of being a very complicated novel, with many subplots featuring bits and scraps of history, tradition and rituals, and it was much more difficult to cram all that information in a movie. Angels and Demons does not suffer that condition, as the essential plot is simple and hence easier to port to the big screen.
The plot, of course, features an ancient group of scientists and intellectuals, called the Illuminati, that the Church apparently tried to suppress, and how the 400 year-old organization has reared its head in retribution in the present day and age. It makes for an interesting film (and indeed an even more interesting read), and the bits of history that are true are really intriguing. And of course, the story telling is good too.
What I did not like was the large deviation from the plot in the book. More so, the deviations are such that they don’t seriously affect the plot if you look at the overall storyline, which begs you to ask why those deviations were necessary.
Anyway, a good film nonetheless, and yes, do go ahead and watch. In addition to a taut thriller, there is interesting history being told as well as the film progresses.
But, as with The Da Vinci Code, do read the book as well, preferably before you watch the film. As you can imagine, the history being told and the relationship of the Church to the Illuminati are much more detailed in the book, and it will make it that much more interesting to watch the movie.