Dan Brown books, Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code, I liked Angels & Demons better. It had a better storyline, more intensity and great characters. So I had been eagerly anticipating the recent release of the movie, directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks.
I have to admit, I always approach a movie based on a book with some trepidation. The movie is never as good as the book, but I always have hope that the screenwriter and director can pull out the essential elements and plot from the book to make a decent movie.
Considering who was in this movie and directing it, I had higher hopes than usual. But those hopes were soon crushed in the opening scene that poorly patched together plot points from the first half of the book in order to get us right into the action. I am all for starting in media res, but it did not work here.
I gave the screenwriter the benefit of the doubt at the beginning because I knew there was a lot that needed to be included in order for the story to make sense. I sat with a darkened room of strangers waiting for the plot of the movie to move into high gear, but it never did and I was extremely disappointed. Without the incredible music by Hans Zimmer, we wouldn't have known when the movie was supposed be exciting or scary.
Plus, a key element in the climax of the movie was changed, which in turn altered the ending. It drives me crazy when this happens. I empathize with the plight of screenwriters and I know they work hard, but if you can't fit the main points of the book into the movie, then leave it as a book and find another project to work on.
I think they were also banking on the fact that the audience would automatically relate to the protagonist Robert Langdon, because he was played by Tom Hanks. Because of this, they didn't bother with any character development. There was no connection between any of the characters, especially our two main characters Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) and Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer). So as with any book or movie, if we don't care about the main characters, then we don't really care what happens to them.
In the book, the assassin was intense and downright scary. The actor they had playing this key role was Nikolaj Lie Kaas who looked like he just walked off the cover of GQ. He was nice to look at, but scary--he was not. In the last scene with him, Langdon and Vittoria I almost screamed. Once again a key plot element was altered and it almost became laughable.
I left with a sour taste in my mouth and I know it wasn't from the popcorn and soda. I am a huge Tom Hanks and Ron Howard fan, so I am going to pretend this whole thing didn't happen.
Bottom line: Read the book---it is WAY better.