Our Film Talk podcast review of ‘Angels and Demons’ is now on-line, with just the kind of vital theo-political comments you’d expect from myself and Jett Loe. In other words, I had a cheesy grin on my face for the first hour, because this film knows exactly what it’s doing: it’s having fun, and taking us on a rollercoaster. Then the priest-burnings began, and all of a sudden I was watching a remake of the most gruesome scenes in ‘The Name of the Rose‘ – a smart thriller based on Umberto Eco’s vast novel about symbols, language, and the meaning of religion, but with an uncomfortably literal portrayal of the way supposed heretics were executed. There’s far too much burning flesh in ‘Angels and Demons’, given its PG-13 rating. There’s far too much absurd coincidence, given its pretentions to be a story. There’s far too little humour, given how much fun its makers appeared to be having.
And at the end of it all, the questions of the interaction between faith and science that the film mentions deserve a better hearing than they’re getting either in movies like this, or in the work of Richard Dawkins. Though I suspect Ron Howard and Tom Hanks wouldn’t consider themselves, unlike Dawkins, experts in fields they haven’t studied.
P.S. [Spoiler follows]: Nice to see that the most heroic figure in the movie turns out to have been from Belfast. Just before he turns into the evil force behind it all and sets himself on fire. Ah well.