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Vol. LXIII, No. 20
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

AN UNEXPECTED DEVELOPMENT OCCURRED ON OUR WAY TO CHOOSING A NEW POPE: Members of the College of Cardinals areon their way to sequestering themselves in order to select a new pope, however, before they can reach a decision, the four top candidates for the position are abducted by members of a secret society that is later identified by Dr. Langdon (Tom Hanks, not shown) as the Illuminati.

Angels & Demons: Sequel to “The Da Vinci Code” Is as Disappointing as the Original

Kam Williams

With its preposterous storyline and its blasphemous revisionist history, the screen adaptation of the best selling book The Da Vinci Code was the most over-hyped disappointment of 2006. Nonetheless, although there’s been a lot less excitement surrounding the release of its sequel, Angels & Demons offers a cinematic experience which is also underwhelming.

Based on the Dan Brown bestseller of the same name, the film is directed by Ron Howard and stars Tom Hanks who reprises his role as Harvard symbologist Dr. Robert Langdon. Howard has assembled an international cast which includes Ewan McGregor, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Ayelet Zurer, Nikolaj lie Kaas, Pierfrancesco Favino, and Stellan Skarsgard.

At the point of departure, we learn that the pope has just passed away and that the College of Cardinals is convening in Vatican City to elect a successor. However, before the conclave can agree on their choice, the four candidates who are considered most likely to be chosen as the next pope are abducted by a madman who announces plans to execute them one at a time beginning at 8 p.m.

With time being of the essence, Dr. Langdon is summoned from Cambridge to Rome by the Vatican because of a cryptic note left by the cardinals’ kidnappers. Interpreting the hieroglyphics, he identifies the crime to be the work of the Illuminati, a secret society of heretics who have been at odds with the Church for hundreds of years.

Meanwhile, scientists at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), who are working with the latest, most powerful atomic collider that is located in Switzerland, successfully develop three separate anti-matter containers that, when combined, are capable of unlocking the secret of the moment of creation. However, an intruder breaches security at the collider site, kills a member of the research team, and escapes with one of the containers that is programmed to explode at midnight.

Professor Langdon teams up with veteran Inspector Olivetti (Favino) and Vittoria Vetra (Zurer), a colleague of the scientist who was murdered at CERN. The trio proceeds to unravel the multi-layered mystery which, of course, leads them to discover that the two incidents they’re investigating conveniently dovetail together.

Again and again, Langdon displays an uncanny knack for deciphering what every inscrutable mark and message means, and each discovery confirms his conspiracy theories. However, his constant claptrap never annoys Vittoria (only the audience), even though he is unable to save the abducted cardinals. The burning question is whether they’ll be able to recover the canister of anti-matter before it detonates and destroys the Vatican. Unfortunately, this dud is unintentionally funny, and there’s absolutely no tension in the theater when the moment of truth arrives.

A farcical, farfetched, patience-testing, 2 hour insult to ones intelligence.

Poor (0 stars). Rated PG-13 for violence, mature themes, and disturbing images. In English, Italian, and Latin with subtitles. Running time: 138 minutes. Studio: Columbia Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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