I’m not a fan of Tom Hanks or Ron Howard and I also hated The Da Vinci Code so to say I wasn’t enthused to see the sequel, Angels and Demons would be an understatement. It starts off a little slow but somehow I found myself getting sucked into the mystery surrounding the disappearance of 4 Cardinals on the night of electing a new Pope. This is where I put in the disclaimer that I’m not a religious person so most of this stuff went completely over my head. But I found it sort of intriguing. The problem with a movie like this is that in the past writers like David Koepp (screenplay) and Akiva Goldsman (screenplay) would do a thriller where the bad guys would have very simple manageable plots that as an audience you can just go with. It’s going to be hard to do this review without spoiling the film.
These days the bad guy has to be a freaking genius to be able to explain all the various plan details. Look at everything that Tony Alameda on 24 would have to know way in advance in order for his Bad “Guyness” and master plot to make any semblance of sense? The same thing occurs here where the bad guy would have to know well in advance that Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) the man the church hates would be called in and if not him, someone else – maybe one of the scientist who helped create it, Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) would be able to put all the pieces together in time to stop an Antimatter bomb from destroying Vatican City. Yes, I said an Antimatter bomb.
Angels and Demons, set some time after Ron Howard’s previous adaptation The Da Vinci Code, finds Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon being summoned to The Vatican in order to help them with an impending crisis. As a new pope is set to be elected, a mysterious organization known as the Illuminati, an old villain to the Catholic Church, threatens to eradicate the holy city and everyone in it by using an unstable substance with bomb-like properties.
When speaking about this movie, I seem to always get the same basic opening question- is it better than The Da Vinci Code? The short answer is yes. Ron Howard has done a much better job on this venture of trimming the fat from the novel and leaving the audience with a far more engaging movie than the first film. Fans of the book should be rest assured that some of the more preposterous events have been wisely omitted. Hanks also fares better by showing much more confidence and comfort in his role as Langdon, which I’m sure is aided partly by a much deserved upgrade in his hairstyle. Continue reading MOVIE REVIEW: Angels and Demons Holds Some Improvements and Thrills, But Only Some→
Last year, Hollywood proved once and for all that we can have big Tentpole films that are both Big, Intelligent, Original and Fun. This year it looks like they reverted back to form and are going for whatever is “safe.” The only movie I think I’m really actively looking forward to seeing is GI Joe and the Bonnie and Clyde Movie (forget the name). Everything else is just, eh. Here’s a list of summer films that I’m not looking forward to seeing – I think they’ll probably be entertaining and will get huge box office numbers, but will they actually be good or great – no.
I’ve never been a fan of the prequel or the “reimagining,” and I not sure how far the new Star Trek film is on the “reimagining” piece of the puzzle but I’m just not feeling this cast. All of the footage looks pretty amazing, lots of good space battles, the ships look huge and beautiful. This is another one of these films that’s been mishandled by the studio, I was interested in seeing this movie last year, after it got pushed back I lost interest and no matter how many times I see the trailers for this, I can’t seem to get excited.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
I loved the first Harry Potter film so much that I ran out and read the first two books and got hooked on the series. I became an obsessive Pothead, devouring 100,000 word fanfiction, trolling the Potter forums for any information on the upcoming books and movies. Book 3 came out and was great, but book 4 floored me. The last hundred pages of Goblet of Fire was filled with inventive action, mystery and drama. It perfectly set up the rest of the series to become this bad ass, over the top action piece. Then came Order of the Phoenix and everything completely fell apart. Nothing really happens in Order after all the talk about how evil and bad the Death Eaters and Voldemort we don’t get to see any of it until the end of Phoenix. The book felt like it was there to simply be filler. An 800 page book that’s nothing but filler. While the books became progressively worse, so have the movies. I blame Alfonso Cuarón who completely changed the look and tone of the film. He got rid of the bright colors and beautiful cinematography from the first to films and replaced it with this “gritty,” “grimy,” “realistic” view of the world. Of course the critics went crazy for the new tone, but me, I HATED it, it made the Potter world “common.” And that’s not what I wanted.
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is an even worse book than Order of the Phoenix, the Wizarding War is completely in the background, I understand the point of the book is to show how kids and people in general live during War time – that life still goes on, but JKR spends 4 books setting everything up perfectly and never follows through. She totally destroys Ron’s character in HBP, I used to be a Ron and Hermione shipper but after HBP I’m convinced that not only shouldn’t they be together, because any relationship they have would be completely abusive, but they shouldn’t even be friends. The entire plot of HBP could have been solved in a few pages if anyone actually believed Harry about Draco. In the past 5 books everyone complained that Harry never went to any teacher with his suspicions, in HBP he tells almost everyone in the book what’s going on and no one takes him seriously. They are supposedly at war, everyone knows Harry’s at the center of it, and he’s more than earned the benefit of the doubt (yeah he screwed up at the end of Order) and their reaction is always, “oh, Voldemort would never use a teenager?” Really? The most evil Wizard in history would never use Teenagers?
Even though I loathed the book, I still forgave it, thinking ok, we still have Dealthy Hallows and that’s really going to be over the top great – boy was I wrong. JKR cared more about “Swerving” the audience then following a logical story progression in the last 3 books. She actively did the opposite of everything she sets up previously. Characters aren’t consistent, no one really dies a “heroic” death, no big battles, just terrible. I also hate MIchael Gambon as Dumbledore. I’m hoping the films take some liberties with the materials and at least show us that, yes, they are at war and not just talk about it. Then there’s the way WB has poorly handled the release of this movie. They don’t show a trailer or anything from the movie until a month before it’s November release, then at the last minute decide to push it back by 8 months. For all of these reasons and more, I’m not looking forward to seeing Half Blood Prince.