NOTE: Italicized text under pictures are the pictures’ captions, not me randomly spewing off sentences that have nothing to do with the post.
In the words of good friend of mine, while watching the opening credits of the movie:
“Oh, I thought it was Angels versus Demons. This is gonna suck.”
Sadly, my friend was right, though not exclusively due to a misinterpretation of the title. Still, the movie was quite a disappointment. Who am I kidding, I totally walked into that movie theatre expecting something akin to a victim of bad plastic surgery. Why, you ask? I’ll break it down for you in five digestable parts (but considering horridness of those five parts, you may suffer from indigestion). (I am so full of weird metaphors today).
1) Tom Hanks.
This man was a subject on my friend’s blog (Dongju) that I think she covered quite nicely. I’ll just throw in some opinions of my own. First, WHY Tom Hanks? Just let that question sit there for a while. Ponder it. Contemplate it. Shake your fists to the sky in despair about it. WHY TOM HANKS? I was always under the impression that Dr. Robert Langdon would be one of those nerdy-yet-irresistably-cute-and-strangely-attractive professors, like Michael Gubler on Criminal Minds as Dr. Reid. I mean thats how Dan Brown wrote him in his books. But wow, I guess the casting team of The Da Vinci Code and consequently Angels and Demons didn’t share my impression.
Here’s what I saw in the book:
“Although not overly handsome in a classical sense…Langdon had what his female colleagues referred to as an “erudite” appeal – wisps of gray in his thick brown hair, probing blue eyes, an arrestingly deep voice, and the strong, carefree smile of a collegiate athelete. A varsity diver in prep school and college, Langdon still had the body of a swimmer, a toned, six-foot physique that he viligantly maintained with fifty laps a day in the university pool.” (Brown 5)
Here’s what I saw in my head:
Here’s what I saw on screen:
Leonidas does not approve.
Not only does the passage written provide a new SAT vocabulary word to know (“erudite: having or showing great knowledge or learning”), but it provides a VERY CLEAR DESCRIPTION of what dear old Langdon looks like.
THICK hair: This man has none.
DEEP voice: Again, this man has none. But he does have the nasal voice of a middle-aged man trying too hard to be sarcastic and witty.
CAREFREE smile: Well, it depends on how one defines “carefree”. I, however, do not define it as “Tom Hanks baring teeth”.
BODY OF A SWIMMER: Well, so Tom Hanks was swimming in the movie. That got that much right. Can’t say much for the body.
TONED, SIX FOOT physique that is VILIGANTLY MAINTAINED: Fail.
NOW, if Tom Hanks still looked like THIS:
Then why the monkey not? But oh wait, he doesn’t. FAIL.
2) Max Kohler
Or lack thereof. Ok ok, I understand that Angels and Demons was BASED off the book, not a literal page-to-screen translation of it. But it really annoyed me how little detail the movie actually had about the very things that made the book so intriguing.
For one, MAX FREAKING KOHLER was completely cut out of the script. In the book, he is one of the central characters of the story. He’s the one who calls Robert Langdon for help. He’s the one that Dan Brown makes off as the bad guy until the very end when the truth is revealed. Sadly, they deemed him unimportant and disregarded him. Not only did the scriptwriters cut out one of my favorite characters, but they all cut out a character that added significant meaning to the whole point of the book. The book was trying to reflect the struggle between SCIENCE and the Catholic Church. Now in the book, Max Kohler represents the scientist and Church represents, well, the Church (bet you didn’t see that one coming).
Max Kohler is shown as the skeptical science freak trying to bring down a thousand years of human faith. He exemplifies the theme of church vs. science. But he isn’t there in the movie, so now theme of church vs science is all muddled up because it’s the CHURCH that invites Langdon in yet it’s still science vs church but science actually plays a very small role in the movie WHICH IT’S NOT SUPPOSED TO and just…fail.
So much more important than it looks.
While the book makes the hunt for the four churches look like some sort of amazing, intellectual, artitsic treasure hunt, the movie makes it look like a deranged life-size version of Clue. With cardinals that have punctured lungs. Or something. In Angels and Demons the book, art plays a fundamental role in the plot and the message of the book. The moving force of the plot is Bernini and his sculpture, and his apparent placement of pagan symbols in Christian churches and works of the art. Whether Dan Brown’s analysis and assumptions are correct or not, it’s still extremely interesting. The book makes you realize the depth of art, the possibilities of interpretation and the double meanings artists skillfully and cleverfully place in their works. In the movie, it’s more sort of like brain vomit:
“OMG! Pyramids in a Christian temple? A star – a pentagon! It leads to…the SOUTH! Tombs worshipping the sun! AHHH! WE’RE TOO LATE! IT’S 10:00! BURNING CARDINAL! SKULLS! SKULLS!”
Sense: This picture makes none.
Which leads to my next point…
4) Incoherency and what happened to the demons?
Watching Angels and Demons is kind of like experiencing a fragmented dream…One moment you’re here, and another moment you’re there, but you’re not quite sure what happened in between. In Angels and Demons, one moment Tom Hanks is showing off his bod in a pool, the next moment he’s choking in the Vatican Library, the next moment he’s standing above a 20-foot-deep hole, next he’s in the hole and running over a huge pile of SKULLS (referring to the “SKULLS! SKULLS” remark from before), suddenly Tom Hanks gets a flash of brilliance and runs across to the other side of Rome, then he’s in the Vatican church again, then out of nowhere the antagonist of the story jumps into a car which promptly explodes with NO EXPLANATION GIVEN (was it a suicide? was it an attack? was it a fart gone wrong? WE MAY NEVER KNOW), and then KABAMASPLODE end credits. So perhaps I’m exaggerating things slightly, but it’s not far off. At least in my opinion. And hey, that’s the only thing that matters, right?
Huh? What? How did that happen? Why is he on the roof of the Church?
Not only that. but the entire theme of the book (as said before) is entirely misrepresented, if represented at all, in the movie. This book is about (surprisingly) angels and demons, good and evil, man and god, science and faith. This is not to say that science is a “demon” or anything like that, but the point of this book is to show what happens when two seemingly opposite forces collide. Heck, Dan Brown even threw in matter and antimatter bit if that doesn’t make the theme any clearer (if it doesn’t, go back to English 10. Fail.). The book centers around the reconciliation between scientific progress/natural law and the spiritual faith in man. And what does the movie center around?
This guy right here.
And finally, the last part of my justification as to why Angels and Demons was a huge insult to the work of Dan Brown…
5) Will Smith.
Because everything is cooler with Will Smith.
PS) I suck at promises. 🙂