Now anybody who is anybody would have surely heard of Dan Brown and read the book “The Da Vinci Code” which catapulted him to instant fame around the world. I personally liked the book myself, and also quite enjoyed the movie also although it is true that the movie didn’t quite do enough justice to the book. In any case, this review is of “Angels & Demons” (A&D), the movie adaptation of the prequel to The Da Vinci Code. The events in A&D take place before Robert Langdon, the principal character becomes well known due to the events that occur in the second book.
The movie begins at CERN, the European Orgn for Nuclear Research where a vial of antimatter (the supposed building block of the universe as we know it now) is stolen. Simultaneously, the College of Cardinals’ papal enclave has been called following the untimely death of the Pope, to select the new Pope. The entire world and its media patiently wait at St Peters’ Square waiting for white smoke to emerge from the chimney of the room hosting the conclave, signaling the selection of the new Pope. However, the Illuminati, an underground secret society, kidnap the 4 most likely candidates for the Papacy, and this sets in motion the rest of the movie’s plot.
Langdon is summoned due to his expertise in symbology and is paired with Vittoria Vetra from CERN to save the four preferiti, recover the vial (which by the way is dying down on power due to its perishable batteries). Langdon through his expertise deduces that the four cardinals will be killed at the four altars of the “Path of Illumination”. The only issue being that nobody actually knows the location of these altars other than the Illuminati themselves.
Thus begins the cat and mouse game between Langdon and the Illuminati where Langdon is racing against time to figure out the locations, and save the cardinals, while the Illuminati unbeknownst of his involvement carry on with their plans, threatening to decimate the entire world using the antimatter vial.
Although the screenplay doesn’t do complete justice to the book (just as The Da Vinci Code movie didn’t either), the fact that this movie remains a fast-paced thriller on the lines of say a Indiana Jones movie, is testimony to the fact that the director, Ron Howard (who directed the other movie as well) is a master craftsman in converting a book into a movie. If you are someone who has not actually read the book, then you will absolutely enjoy the movie to the hilt, and even if you have read the book, you will still enjoy its retelling on the silver screen with the beautiful historic locations where it is filmed.
As is the norm with Dan Brown and these two books of his, this movie also ran into its own fair share of controversies with some die-hard Roman Catholic organizations asking for its banning and the like, but the movie remains one of the better ones of 2009 till date. Yet another feather in Dan Brown’s and Tom Hanks’ cap for sure. All in all, a must-watch movie as far as I am concerned.