No rants this time (Angels and Demons movie)


I enjoy reading Dan Brown, especially the Robert Langdon novels, because while you need to suspend your disbelief while reading the books, Brown knows how to build up a good chase.I’m also a sucker for art thrillers, and I love the interesting artsy details that are incorporated into the novels, traversing artistic hotspots such as the Louvre and Vatican City, and dissecting the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo, and Bernini. 

Other than that I love scholarly protagonists (e.g. Paul in The Historian, Sherlock Holmes) and Robert Langdon hits the mark on that aspect.

I distinctly remember the first time I read Angels and Demons: in ebook format beamed to my phone from my computer, because I was in my last semester in college and I couldn’t afford to buy brand-new books then. Angels and Demons is one of the scariest books I’ve ever read, and I remember getting even more scared a couple of months later, when Pope John Paul II died and I was imagining an Angels and Demons scenario playing out. Of course, that was just in my head, and the conclave proceeded without any events that resembled the Dan Brown plot.

By the end of the year I bought a hardbound Robert Langdon omnibus at Fully Booked at 40% off, so it was less than P400. I also have fond memories of this book, as it was one of my cat Tomas’ (he died of kidney failure and cardiac arrest in November 2008) favorite perches when he was still a kitten.

Now I really didn’t like the Da Vinci Code movie, because it was so boring and I felt it copped out at the end so I didn’t have high expectations for Angels and Demons. I was out of town covering a race on opening week, so I decided to watch it as soon as I returned, never mind that everyone else I knew already saw it and I had to watch alone.

I normally have a problem with film adaptations, but I actually liked the Angels and Demons movie, which is surprising because the book is my favorite Dan Brown novel.Not that they didn’t deviate from the novel — they eliminated Maximilian Kohler, Father Silvano became Vittoria’s research partner, Camerlengo Carlo Ventresca turned into the Irish Patrick McKenna (hotness aside, I really had a hard time picturing Ewan McGregor in the role), Cardinal Baggia survived among the preferiti and became Pope (as opposed to Cardinal Strauss), and Langdon’s famous parachute escape was glaringly missing, among other things — but the pace was good and I didn’t nod off at any point in the movie like I did at Da Vinci Code. 

It’s not a movie for critical acclaim, but at least, unlike its predecessor, it stands up well enough alone that even those who haven’t read the book are able to follow the action.

I read at Dan Brown’s site that the third Langdon novel, The Lost Symbol, is coming out this September. I’ll definitely be reading that one.

My copy: Robert Langdon Omnibus, hardcover

My rating: Angels and Demons book 4/5 stars, Angels and Demons movie 3.5/5 stars