Saturday, May 16, 2009

Angels & Demons

The best line in the movie is when Stellan Skarsgård's character Commander Richter states to
Tom Hanks's character Robert Langdon that his church feeds the hungry and the poor, what does your church do? And Langdon is just silent and speechless since his character is so smart he can not make a decision on what religion to choose. A man that is so smart, he can not conjure up any type of convictions. Any religion is fine, choose one. Catholicism would be a wise choice.

The movie begins in European Organization for Nuclear Research which is know as CERN. It is on the Franco-Swiss border and is a particle accelerator. This is a particle physics labratory that are working on finding out more information on the beginning of genesis, when the universe and matter was created. In this experiment, they created anti-matter. This anti-matter is harmless as long as it is in a sealed container and does not come into contact with matter. If this small particle does, it could create a 5 kiloton explosion.

Ewan McGregor plays Camerlengo Patrick McKenna who is the priest of the Vatican. At first, he seems benign and holy but even if he was innocent, I knew he was twisted after giving a misguided speech to the Cardinals. He claims the church has tried to hold back science which is not entirely true and a sweeping generalization. The church made some mistakes with Galileo and this is widely known. But the church did not try to impede Bill Gates when he was writing Windows software in the late 1970's in a garage. The church has not never villified NASA. The church has never ordered Lamborgini to make a slower car and to use less technology in their car frames. The church never ordered baseball bat makes to not invent the graphite bat. I can go on and on.

Ayelet Zurer played Vittoria Vetra who was much prettier than Audrey Tautou who played Agent Sophie Neveu in the da Vinci Code. Both were directed by Ron Howard. Vittorie is a physicist at CERN and she is the one who discovers that one of the anti matter particles they captures and created was stolen. And one of her colleagues was killed to enable this clean theft.

Richter seems like a plausible villian when he unethically confiscates Vittoria's paper work and journals when she is not looking. He uses his Vatican power to do this and informs her that nothing belongs to her person or anyone's for that matter when they stop on Vatican power. He has that authority.

The movie occurs when the Catholic church does not have a leader since the Pope was murdered. Ofcourse no one knows this. The villians are supposedly a secret society called the Illuminati. Langdon is summoned or politely asked by the Vatican to facilite this investigation. The investigation begins when the four prominent Cardinals are kidnapped by the Illuminati and a message is revealed. They will be executed around Rome beginning at 8 pm that night. Langdon agrees to take part in this search and this one of a kind situation.

Langdon is a Harvard Professor whose expertise is history, signs, and symbols.

Three Cardinals are killed in this movie in disgusting and symbolic fashion. The fourth is saved by Langdon and Richter and the Vatican police.

The Vatican was infiltrated by this evil and they almost successfully suffocate Langdon down in the sealed off archives room along with the archives supervisor.

The movie has many of Rome's famous sights and mentions many historic figures. The movie is entertaining and Dan Brown does not slap or fallaciously insult the Catholic Church like he did in the Harry Potter like da Vinci Code. That movie was as much fiction as Star Trek. Ofcourse the new Star Trek was riveting, funny, pulsating, and did not run on forever.

The demon in this movie turns out to be McKenna and his henchmen. He has a nasty and impure view on things. Like science is not ready to discover or know such things. Like he is? What does that mean anyhow? The angels are Langdon, Richter, Vittoria, and many others.

He wants to destroy the church to unite the church and its international citizens on the fact that evil exists. Real nutty. All he has to do is higher a marketing firm to run world wide ads on an actual threat that radical Islam presents. I am not sure why McKenna does not have his trained assassin kill Langdon and Vittoria at the end when they are in the secret Vatican excape passage. I am not sure why Langdon does not try to grab a gun from a dead Vatican police officer and shoot the assassin killing everyone in the church that represents fire. This movie discuss earth, air, fire and water-the four classical elements. At midnight, the 5th ingredient or factor was supposed to be revealed, which is anti-matter.

McKenna was going to blow up St. Peter's square and the Vatican city with anti-matter. He did not want to kill thousands of people that is why he was pleading with the highest ranking non kidnapped Cardinal to evacuate the square due to this threat. The Cardinal did not agree with McKenna so potentially, this anti-matter explosion would not just destroy Vatican structures and itself, but thousands of lives. McKenna created this threat and also hired this highly skilled killer. Something out the Bourne books with his chameleon like predilection. This would make sense from the Illuminati's corner since religion would be destroyed by science. McKenna was truly out there, killing the pope. The Vatican failed to do a proper background check on this guy. The movie did paint a small picture that he was on a small power trip. He revealed his background a little with a short conversation with Vittoria that after endless searching I could not find back in the movie.

The Illuminati are a fictional group resurrected by the imagination of Dan Brown. Good for him, his ideas have afforded him more material items. In this pursuit of attention and slander, he has slaughtered history and given the invalid Bill Maher a reason to smile. The fictional story is, that the Illuminati were attacked by the church in the late 16th century. The ruse continues, with the church actually killing four Illuminati members with their bodies tossed out in the street for public view. The church saw scientific acheivers as a threat to their control. What control though? Members choose to believe because the holiness of Jesus Christ and his teachings. Among countless other reasons. This is only Dan Brown's fascination and for his profit seeking nature. He can tell a story though.

The movie was interesting. It had some serious music and the excitement was predominate. It did not carry incessantly on like the da Vinci Code. That story was based on Leonardo da Vinci, whereas this story centered around the Galileo discovery that the earth revolves around the sun. Some humor was mixed in and the mystique and allure of the Vatican was featured throughout.

The anti-matter explosion at the end was formidable and lived up to the hype. McKenna tried to prop himself up as the sacrificial hero towards the finally but the key given held by Richter opened up the truth. He tried to suck Richter in on his dirty plan but Richter was not going for it. McKenna was afraid that CERN's discovery would make the church obsolete but Richter, me, and anyone with a clue, realize and know that science and religion and exist together. I do not see the difficulty in seeing mutual and shared grounds regarding science and religion. The compliment each other. Either side trying to destroy the other is counter productive to say the least and beastly and outrageous to say the worst. This tell tale conversation between Richter and McKenna was caught on tape. Technology was used by this recording to relay the truth to the religious leaders. This alone is a sign that both can be used to help each other and to make for a better future. I wonder if Dan Brown realizes this?

Langdon finally obtained his year long wish. He could not complete his book without gaining access to the Vatican archives. After numerous petitions, everyone of them was rejected. After helping saving Vatican and many lives, the fresh new pope granted the book that Langdon long sought to help his own academic research. He can now complete his book.

This movie was not as good as The International or Duplicity. But was good. It did not undermine itself like the da Vinci Code since it did not erroneously attack the church. This movie should not eclipse Wolverine or Star Trek in popularity or something to talk about. The zeal and stunning cinematography was in the latter two movies mentioned. Make way for the two T's though, Transformers II and Terminator III.

I allocate this movie three stars.***

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