Friday, May 01, 2009

Angels and Demons... of film and book

Recently I saw a trailer for a film called Angels And Demons.

It is based on a book by Dan Brown. The film's a sequel to The Da Vinci Code - but the book was actually written and set prior to the Da Vinci narrative.

On the face of it, the trailer might suggest Angels And Demons is a happening sort of action film.

But I know better.

You might have thought Da Vinci Code was a preposterous load of tosh - some did. But at least it had an engaging puzzle for a narrative thread. At least Brown had learnt something by then - by comparison, Angels And Demons gives Da Vinci Code a shakespearean wit and moral fibre.

Yes, Angels And Demons is real load of tripe. Unbelieveable, in both the plot arc and the individual scenes. It's also what got the Catholic church up in arms over Da Vinci. Angels And Demons is far more scurrilous than Da Vinvi - downright inflammatory, to go with its incredulous storyline.

But I suspect Brown's profile was substantially lower at the time Angels And Demons was published. So the Catholic hierarchy probably let it slip by. Much to their later chagrin, no doubt.

The book Angels And Demons was likely constructed with Hollywood in mind. It's effectively one long car chase through Rome, punctuated with episodes of extreme violence. Oh and there's the conspiracy behind the events - perpetrated by the pope, naturally. And for good measure, there's that absurd fall from the helicopter - undoubtedly included in the film too. And the villain, that evil pope, gets his in the end.

One wonders what Brown has against institutional catholicism. Plausibly, nothing in particular - he just happened to pick a target. Or did he want to provoke controversy, to sell? I'll never know, because it's not worth bothering to find out.

(I'd also note that in the book, Brown tries to set up a 'science vs religion' argument - but again, the execution is so clumsy that it's not worthy of debate.)

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