Insight into South Asia

Angels & Demons – Bond with brains!

After the great success of ‘Da Vinci Code’, Robert Langdon has become a household name among world movie fans, and among high expectations, ‘Angels & Demons’ released last week in India. It features Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, Ewan Mcgregor and Ayelet Zurer among the leading roles. The screenplay is by David Koepp & Akiva Goldsman. Now, Koepp is a fantastic writer who can influence the audience with his writing style. Examples: Mission Impossible, Jurassic Park, Spiderman, Snake Eyes, Panic room, Indiana Jones and the kingdom of crystal skulls and many more. One of the most talented writers of Hollywood. Ron Howard has directed this one too, as like Da Vinci Code.

The novel Angels & Demons is a prequel to Da Vinci Code. This is the first ever Novel to feature Robert Langdon, the symbologist from the Harward University. Went to see this movie keeping in mind all these details. I have not read the novel, and hence was totally unaware about the story or the plot.

The movie begins in a laboratory (CERN – Geneva). Something called antimatter – with a powerful magnetic field, which, when the batteries run out, can destroy the surroundings like a nuclear bomb. Three vials of this antimatter are stored in the laboratory and one vial is stolen suddenly, when the chief scientist Vittoria Vetra ( Ayelet Zurer) finds her father dead and his eye pulled out to break in to the storage area.

We then cut to the Vatican where the Pope’s funeral is taking place. All the cardinals arrive to elect the next Pope and the everyday activities are taken care by Patrick Mckenna (Ewan Mcgregor), who holds the designation of a camerlengo – a cardinal under the Pope’s office to carry out the various religious customs until the next pope gets elected.

We see Robert Langdon approached by a representative of the Vatican. He tells Langdon that four cardinals have been kidnapped along with the vial of antimatter, and they have received a threat that one cardinal will be killed an hour, starting at 8 PM. Also, they have a video which shows the antimatter placed in a secret location, with the battery power slowly running out. When the entire power runs out, Vatican will be destroyed completely.

Robert Langdon arrives at Vatican. After hearing the recorded telephone threat, he finds out that a secret organization called ‘the Illuminati’ – which is about 400 years old – is responsible for the threat and he also discovers that each cardinal will be executed at one altar in the Vatican – the locations unknown. With such a clue in his hand, he begins his journey of moving around Vatican to find out the four altars and to stop the killing and to find out the antimatter, with very less time. This is the synopsis of the movie.

Unlike Da Vinci Code, this movie is a bit lesser in pace and suspense, as it doesn’t have any startling revelations or any mysterious secrets. Having said that, the movie has its own touch of intricacies about Vatican and about the various churches and altars and about – yes – Galileo Galili’s book which contains the information about all the altars in his period.

Tom Hanks has done justice to the role of Robert Langdon, as we hold his image in mind when we read or talk about the symbologist, just like we think about Brosnan or Connery when we refer Bond. Also, somehow he fits in to the role with ease and they both have many similarities – just think about having Will Smith or Stallone as Langdon – and you will know what I am talking about. Tom Hanks and Langdon, both are like refined gentlemen who believe in brain rather than in the gun. They both appear like they will solve any mystery which relates to working out with the mind and the brain.

The new leading lady is Ayelet Zurer. She too has acted well, the type of female leads we see in action oriented movies – as a side kick to the protagonist who occasionally surprises him with her swift reactions and sudden deductions.

Ewan Mcgregor – well, I was unable to recognize him in the movie at first look. He absolutely looked like a cardinal of Vatican with a tight face which reflects the responsibility he has been awarded with – the power to run the Pope’s office. Nice piece of acting. But, half way through, his character becomes very predictable.

Near the end of the movie, we know what’s going to happen finally. This reduces the pace to a certain extent. But, even then, this movie can be watched as a sheer entertainer we get to see usually in the summer.

Overall, my rating will be 6.5 out of ten. See Robert Langdon work like a highly educated, decent Bond, and enjoy the show, folks!

PS1:- I was fascinated to read that Clint Eastwood expressed interest in directing this film! But eventually it had to be Ron Howard, as he did Da Vinci Code.

PS2:- Don’t have Da Vinci Code in mind while seeing this movie, as this is a bit slow and slightly dragging towards half way.  Just see this film as an entertainer, without comparing it to the previous one.

Written by Scorp.

Scorp alias Rajesh Giriraajan is a blogger with a flair for movies, music and comics from different parts of the world. He has reviewed several movies in his world movie series. You can read more of Scorp’s writing in his blog.

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