Wow, A.O. Scott made me laugh out loud this morning. In his review of Angels & Demons, he takes aim at the author from which the project springs.
I have not read the novel by Dan Brown on which [Angels & Demons] is based. I have come to believe that to do so would be a sin against my faith, not in the Church of Rome but in the English language, a noble and beleaguered institution against which Mr. Brown practices vile and unspeakable blasphemy.
Dan Brown is a terrible writer. His redemption: a story line so "high concept," bad writing didn't matter.
I was sorry to see Ron Howard and Tom Hanks participate with Mr. Brown. It would take an alchemist, I thought, to turn this project into something good. And The Da Vinci project just isn't any good. It isn't as bad a film as Brown's novel is a novel, but then Howard and Hanks have talent.
That Howard and Hanks took on the Brown project wasn't a surprise. They are populist in the best sense of term, uncompromising in their commitment to accessible film making. I am sure they were thrilled the project came to them.
And I understand that, badly written or no, a novel as popular as The Da Vinci Code would have to become a film. And I understand that after the success of The Da Vinci Code (with a gate over $700 million), a sequel was unavoidable.
But I can't help feeling that Hanks and Howard have paid dearly for their Dan Brown complicity. They have sinned against Hollywood. And that's not easy.
Scott, A.O. 2009. Holy Mystery! Mayhem at the Vatican. The New York Times. May 15, 2009. here.
I enjoyed the books as dime store novels; I think the problem most folks have with them is that the second they hear it deals with religious figures it somehow gets moved into a different rank of literature. These movies are basically playing the same notes as The National Treasure series, but for some reason if you get goofy and stupid with American/Freemason history it’s deemed more forgivable than getting goofy and stupid with Catholic history.
This movie shouldn’t be compared with stuff like Taxi Driver and The Godfather. It should be compared with stuff like Snakes on a Plane.
I mean, how can you call it poor writing when the Substitute Pope drives a helicopter? That’s *awesome*.
The film was silly in so many ways. I went to a screening – did not pay. Most hilariously for anyone who’s been to Rome, they were desperate to get places at certain times, and took big black cars around to do it instead of motorinos. If this were real life, they’d still be stuck in traffic waiting to get to the first location. On the bright side, they didn’t have a love scene between the Israeli hottie and Stiffy Hanks.