Part 8- Angels & Demons: The Movie
Most know I’m a fan of Dan Brown ‘s best-selling books, which I mentioned at the beginning of my virtual Angels & Demons blog tour . Can’t wait to read his new release, The Lost Symbol, coming out September 15, 2009.
However, neither movie based on his novels, The DaVinci Code nor Angels & Demons, have captured the intrigue and suspense of the written word. Hmm, maybe that reinforces the need to read instead of being fed video?
I’m captivated with the way Brown drops in behind-the-scenes nuggets, factual details (for the most part) about artisans, art and religious history. Brown tells it like a great tour guide, providing insight with anecdotes that make a place come alive.
But, Director Ron Howard was unable to bring the profusion of historical data onto the big screen, at least not to the degree that Brown incorporates it into his storyline. And, who can blame Howard; he only has two and half hours?
Suspense seems to be the quintessential element the movies aren’t replicating. Film should have the advantage by presenting the viewer a visual illusion, the actual scene. The camera can zoom in or fade out the focus. The novel writer has to rely on the reader’s imagination to create the picture.
Sound also helps build suspense, the muffled thump of heartbeats or gradual crescendo of spine-tingling music. Howard’s film, Apollo 13, had me on edge, even though I knew of the astronauts safe return. Angels & Demons fares better than the DaVinci Code, but still fails to capture the fervor generated by the book.
I’m also a devotee of talented actor Tom Hanks ; loved him in Big and was crazy about his performance in Castaway and Terminal. But, I think moviegoers can’t quite connect with his role as Professor Langdon. Viewers don’t identify with him because they don’t feel his emotions.
Non-reader moviegoers won’t understand Langdon’s depth of knowledge or the meaning of the symbolic clues. Trying to squeeze that information into a scene doesn’t work. Langdon comes off like an uptight British gent instead of an empathetic soul, thrown into a life and death situation. There’s no time to build his character, there’s too much story to tell.
Nonetheless, I still enjoyed watching Angels & Demons. Howard blessed us with a new ending; Brown’s version was a devil, a disappointment at the end of a good book. The movie offers an alluring tour of Rome. And, I thought the creation of the Vatican scenes were superb, considering filming was not permitted inside the holy confines.
Perhaps Hollywood should move on to Steve Berry books. I, for one, would love to see The Amber Room made into a movie. On second thought, I want to visit Russia’s Amber Room in person. But right now I’m looking forward to a trip to Paris, and can’t wait to follow the DaVinci Code Rose Line .
Photos Courtery of Sony Pictures