15 May 2009

Angels and Demons

Back when The Da Vinci Code came out, I decided to read the book to see what all the fuss was about. Historical lunacies aside, one thing shocked me: how badly written the book was. It was cheap and simple, and I was a little surprised (though not much) that the world could be caught up in such a mediocre piece of work. The movie wasn't much better, as most critics noted, and frankly, quite dull.

For the first hour and a half of Angels and Demons, that problem is fixed. It's not the most intelligently written plot, but it maintains a level of suspense that works. Like last time, there are still moments where Hanks's Professor Langdon rambles on about history that is interesting but inappropriately placed when the lives of popes-to-be are on the line. But despite this, I was still entertained.

Then came the last 30-45 minutes. I won't divulge any details, because it is genuinely surprising. But not in a good way. The last act presents twist after twist that would make M. Night Shyamalan proud, ranging from the improbable to the ridiculous to the unnecessary twist for the sake of being a twist.

The movie had me pondering the fate of Ewan McGregor. After Moulin Rouge came out, I was really impressed with him and wanted to see more. After the Star Wars prequels, I chalked it up to Lucas's bad writing. But Angels is just one in a long string of performances that haven't impressed me, and I'm wondering if he's just not trying or if he's just not that good. Time will tell.


Neal said...

I agree with almost everything you said. I disagree with your comment about Ewan. I think he's a very good actor, and I thought he was pretty good in this one, too. Have you seen Trainspotting?

David Coley said...

I have, but that was quite a while ago. He started out with edgier fare like that but seems to have settled into a Hollywood funk and he really hasn't done much challenging work since Moulin Rouge, with the possible exception of Cassandra's Dream but that was not one of Woody's best. I think I just miss the old, strange, exciting Ewan. In short, I too think he's great but he needs to be challenged to deliver a great performance.