“Angels & Demons”
“Angels & Demons” is based on Dan
Brown’s prequel to “The DaVinci Code.”
Tom Hanks reprises his role as Harvard
Professor Robert Langdon, who can read Latin faster
than speeding bullet, interpret obscure ancient
symbolism more powerfully than a locomotive, and guess
what the bad guy is going to do next, like leaping
over tall buildings in a single bound.
Of course, part of Langdon’s genius is
playing detective better than the police, and figuring
out not only who the bad guy is, but why he’s gone
over to the Dark Side in the first place.
can only wish that some brilliant symbologist would
fly over there and instantly solve all their
alas, instead, they apparently attempted to obstruct
Director Ron Howard’s production by blocking access
to certain historical sites crucial to the making of
the film. Well,
if you were in charge of The Sistine Chapel, would you
clear out all the tourists in order to give exclusive
access to an American film crew whose intent is
probably to make you look like buffoons?
The Catholic Church comes across here as the
keeper of dark secrets, the maintainers of priceless
artistic treasures which they refuse to share with the
rest of the world, and the enemies of a secret cult
called “The Illuminati” which wants to kill them
all in the name of science?
Well, supposedly, the Catholic Church is at
odds with modern science, but somehow this
centuries-old debate hasn’t moved much past Galileo
in this film. This
is going to seem a little silly to those who are
familiar with more modern (or even post-modern)
science, and with more enlightened Church views (we
don’t still insist that everyone believe that the
sun revolves around the earth).
But that gaping hole in logic aside, “Angels
and Demons” is a pretty good yarn.
It’s basically a “whodunit” in an
So we get to enjoy lots of old cathedrals, art
work, cardinals in conclave, and even the occasional
Yes, as Professor Langdon admits, faith is a
gift, not necessarily given to all.
And yes, as Cardinal Strauss (Armin
Mueller-Stahl) proclaims, God may well be utilizing
people who are unaware that they are serving as
And yes, as Cardinal Strauss confesses to
Professor Langdon, the Church does not necessarily
speak for God, or always give glory to the God it
seeks to serve, because the Church is made up of
imperfect humans, like himself.
At least the Professor, though admittedly not a
believer himself, possesses a wealth of knowledge
about the history and content of the faith, as does
his investigative partner, Dr. Vetra (Ayelet Zurer,
who, ironically, is an Israeli actress, but is
portrayed here as a scientist enormously knowledgeable
about Roman Catholic Church history).
Well, any movie that features Ewan McGregor (of
Obi Wan Kenobi fame) as the Pope’s “Camerlengo,”
is asking the viewer for a huge suspension of
May as well just go along for the ride and
enjoy the suspense inherent in killing off one hostage
Cardinal every hour, until our Superman Symbologist
saves the day.
The real-life Vatican, allegedly desiring not
to add to the film’s publicity by criticizing it (as
it did for “The Da Vinci Code”) chooses to be more
silent on this one, though Director Howard insists
that they were still active obstructionists both
before and during the filming.
What more intrigue would you need?
Are creationism and
evolution mutually exclusive?
What professor has been
Dr. Ronald P.
Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church,