Angels and Demons (12A)

PUBLISHED: 07:46 19 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:34 24 August 2010

by Alex Wellman Controversy follows Dan Brown s stories as if they were an ageing popstar attempting to adopt a series of African children. For those unfa

by Alex Wellman

Controversy follows Dan Brown's stories as if they were an ageing popstar attempting to adopt a series of African children.

For those unfamiliar with his work then to simply say 'The Da Vinci Code' should pull you up to speed on the American author.

What you may not be aware of is that the afore mentioned book was not even his first and a few years before his hero, Professor Robert Langdon, tackled Christianity in France and the UK, he did it in Rome.

The Vatican to be specific.

However back to the controversy.

While the original books have courted controversy with their apparent attacks on the Roman Catholic Church, the films have had controversy of a different kind.

Tom Hanks' hair.

In 'The Da Vinci Code' he had a mullet style haircut but with 'Angels and Demons', the latest page to screen adaptation by Ron 'Happy Days' Howard, controversy surrounds a pair of Speedos. Very tight Speedos.

The story begins deep in the science labs of CERN, the Swiss-based super intellectual research facility where boffins have created anti-matter.

A priest cum scientist in charge of the project is then murdered and the volatile material stolen only to appear on a TV screen amid claims of being hidden somewhere in the Vatican with only 12 hours until it explodes.

With a Pope having just passed away, the city is currently locked in talks over the next Pontiff, only for these plans to be thrown into disarray when the favourites are kidnapped and threatened with execution every hour.

It soon transpires that an ancient, secret society called The Illuminati are responsible and exacting revenge for a hundreds of years old grudge.

Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is called in by the Vatican police to help decode the messages and lead the church to the answer before everything is blown sky-high.

While Hanks' swimmers are indeed on the tight side, they are not quite as tight as the frenetic pace the film is shot at.

Langdon, beautiful CERN scientist Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) and Inspector Ernesto Olivetti (Pierfranco Favino) zip through numerous Rome tourist spots.

Director Howard again brings his pedestrian eye to the story with more style than substance, marvelling over many of the beautiful buildings and artworks but not really working on the nitty-gritty of making a tight film.

Acting is solid enough with Ewan McGregor neatly bringing a touch of innocence to his role of the Camerlengo and Hanks good but annoying as a know-it-all professor.

What brings the film down ultimately is deciding what bracket to put it in.

There are not enough thrills for a thriller, not enough dramas for a drama and not enough explosions and punch-ups for an action film.

It is better than The Da Vinci Code and will please fans of the book but for the uninitiated wait for the video.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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