Once again Tom Hanks does an outstanding job of playing a character that I do not enjoy watching. I don’t know why but I simply do not like Dr. Langdon. Tom Hanks is a wonderful actor, and he plays the role exactly as I imagined the character. It is no easy task to play a self effacing history geek while somehow maintaining a pompous and condensing demander. I didn’t like him in the book eitehr. What made the book interesting for me were the other characters.
The saving grace of his previous adventure was the endearing Sophie played by Audrey Tautou and the always enjoyable Ian McKellen who once again does wonderful job of playing a likable villain. While watching Angels and Demons I constantly had this feeling that important people were missing. They were available in the book, but they somehow missed the screen. I was really looking forward to the CERN facility director and the Illuminati killer, but one was physically missing and the other just a shadow with no form or substance. I was also looking forward to seeing Vittoria; no not the one played by Ayelet Zurer, but the one I imagined while reading the book. The movie Vittoria just pissed me off. I wanted Langdon to slap her, but he never did. The Vittoria I imagined was multidimensional, interesting and compelling; the one on the screen was dull, flat, and forgettable. I also had a problem with Ewan McGregor. He basically played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Vatican. I kept expecting him to say “younglings” at one point or another.
I have to give credit the movie for outstanding special effects. Due to the subject matter the special effects were subtle, but still I was impressed. The movie made me think of another movie about a scholarly professor type that gets whisked away to foreign lands to save the day from the evil intentions of godless bad guys. I am talking about Raiders of the Lost Ark. Why is it that I enjoyed the Indiana Jones so much more that Dr Langdon? Sorry it’s a rhetorical question, Indiana Jones was cool and Dr Langdon was a bore, but what about the story? Raiders of the Lost Ark was much less plausible than Angel and Demons, but one is a classic and the other will be forgotten in a few months. It must be Nazis’, if Angel and Demons had Nazis it would have been much better. Illuminati just don’t do it for me as villains. Even fake Illuminati leave me wanting something more. Laura Croft went down this road before, its getting old.
Every adaptation of a novel brought to screen leaves me disappointed, but this has to be the first time where I looked back at the book and questioned why I enjoyed it in the first place. Maybe in a few years I will re-read the book. If you haven’t seen Angels and Demons, that is my recommendation; skip the movie, read the book.