Movie News

Massawyrm shrugs at BATMAN & R...I mean ANGELS & DEMONS!!

Published at: May 14, 2009, 11:35 a.m. CST


Hola all. Massawyrm here. ANGELS & DEMONS is the perfect example of what we’ve come to call a dumb, fun, “summer action film.” Unfortunately, since Siskel & Ebert began to give such movies a pass back in the day, we’ve come to kind of write this movie off, slap it on the ass and send it into the game with a shrug. We’re not supposed to expect much, right? From the summer? I really hate that concept. Ron Howard and Tom Hanks are much better than pedestrian potboiler pap like this. But here comes the shrug: it’s not bad. But it’s not really good, either. It’s just tepid, pretty eye candy with a few memorable moments and a mostly forgettable story. Almost all of the problems here come directly from the story. There’s only one badly directed scene that gives away FAR too much about a coming plot twist, and Hanks delivers with everything he’s given to work with. Everything wrong is the source material. It’s a Batman/Riddler story…without Batman. Or the Riddler. And that undercuts every last bit of tension the movie tries to build. After a daring robbery at an experimental research facility, Batman is summoned to police headquarters by Commissioner Gordon and told that someone has placed an anti-matter bomb in the middle of the city and it will explode at Midnight. Only instead of Batman it is Robert Langdon, instead of police headquarters it is the Vatican, instead of Commissioner Gordon it is the Pope’s right hand man and instead of an anti-matter bomb it is a…wait…no. It’s an anti-matter bomb. Four Cardinals have been kidnapped (Cardinals! Cardinals are birds! Penguins are birds! It’s the Penguin…no wait…) and a video tape left by a secret organization calling itself the Illuminati has left a complicated riddle explaining that they will kill all four Cardinals once an hour, every hour, before blowing up Vatican City and most of Rome. Only Batman, I mean Langdon, can follow an insidiously complicated trail of clues left by scholars over 400 years ago to track down the killers and ultimately find where they’ve hidden the bomb…which is at the end of the promised trail of carnage. You beginning to see the problem here? You see, in a Batman story this is acceptable. It’s the Riddler. And the Riddler is INSANE. Diabolically insane. He feels absolutely compelled to tell Batman what he’s going to do before he does it. It’s his thing. In what is probably the best “Riddler” story ever told, SE7EN, the “Riddler” is also insane. But even he understands the limitations of his opponent (who is definitely not Batman) and turns himself in to police when his opponent fails to catch him. It’s all part of his plan. He has a failsafe. But he is definitely bugfuck nuts. So we accept that he’d devise something so incredibly elaborate, so unbelievably obscure, that it requires library research, a brilliant mind and tricking other people into doing your bidding to accomplish. Robert Langdon is not Batman. And his opponents are absolutely not insane. Fanatical? Sure. Irrational? No. But the only way to make any of this action make any sense at all, they have to be. And once they learn that Langdon is on their trail and might muck up the whole plot, they keep going as planned, right on schedule, with Langdon being afforded an hour to solve each clue to get across town and possibly blow the whole thing. It is a concept that becomes so innately ridiculous that it becomes hard to swallow. Mostly because it wants to root itself firmly in the real world. It is a comic book story told with real history, mixed with a little bullshit and a lot of attempts to ground itself in a non-fictional universe. Then there’s the problem of Langdon himself. Hanks does a fine job selling him, but Langdon has very little to offer Hanks. He has almost zero motivation as a character. The only personal information we know about him is that he really wants to get into the Vatican vault to read something that will let him finish his book. Aside from that he’s just along for the ride because he’s asked to. Meanwhile, we’re supposed to care for a number of Cardinals who we’ve only seen as hostages and only really serve the purpose of being McGuffins to keep the clock ticking as Langdon gives us a guided tour of closed down churches in Rome. We don’t care about the Cardinals. We care about the bomb. And we really want Batman to diffuse it before midnight. So without the wild absurdity of a comic book universe, without incredibly implausible action sequences and without a hero that can so much as throw a punch, we are treated to a breathlessly paced run through a story we already know the end of. It’s a diner steak plate without any of the trimmings. It’s mashed potatoes without gravy. Sure it’ll do the job, but you’re not going to be thinking about it later. The history they’re playing around with is nice and the setting is rich, but you can set your watch to the plot twists and once the film gets to its only AWFUL moment, every bit of tension evaporates and you just wait for Scooby and the Gang to pull the mask off of the villains and hear them monologue about why they did it. Sadly the movie tips its hand with one bungled scene and then it’s all over. There are a few neat moments and a lot of the imagery is cool, but the film just fails to ever get really exciting or offer any plausible explanation for why any of this is happening the way it is. You guys know me – I’m not one to ordinarily fail to suspend disbelief. But in a movie that wants to try for some semblance of realism, they ask a bit too much. You certainly won’t hate this. But you won’t be recommending it to anyone either. It’s just something to do between STAR TREK and TERMINATOR. Nothing else. Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
Wait a tick...Akiva Goldsman wrote Angels & Demons! Angels have wings! Bats also have wings! As do Robins! Akiva Goldsman also wrote Batman & Robin!!!

Or follow my further zany adventures on Twitter.

Readers Talkback

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  • May 14, 2009, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Faaaaantastic...

    by gavdiggity

    another movie I'll have to skip. Da Vinici Code was pretty unremarkable.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:37 a.m. CST

    NOT FIRST!!

    by BYOBkenobi

  • May 14, 2009, 11:41 a.m. CST

    That's DA VINCI Code

    by gavdiggity

    Also, how does Hanks' hair look in this one? That was kinda the most compelling thing about the first movie.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Sounds about right...

    by TheMarineBiologist

    Thanks for saving me a Hamilton, Wyrm.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:43 a.m. CST

    left by scholars over 400 years ago

    by knowthyself

    Wow. Who can think that far enough ahead? lol.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:47 a.m. CST

    Soooo....see Star Trek again is what you're saying?

    by knowthyself

  • May 14, 2009, 11:47 a.m. CST

    stop

    by 1Iwilly

    perpetuating the use of "McGuffin" already

  • May 14, 2009, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Robert Downey Jr became Tom Hanks, and...

    by ricarleite2

    ... Tom Hanks became Robert Downey Jr. When did this happen?! And why?! As I said before, I miss the skinny young Bachelor Party/Big Tom Hanks.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:49 a.m. CST

    DVC was a bit meh.

    by Judge_Dredd

    Won't be bothering with this one.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:56 a.m. CST

    No surprise here

    by Magnum Opus

    Dan Brown's books are basically Twilight for adults. Mindless and utterly pedantic with forced meaning and heavy-handed plotting. Angels and Demons is one of the worst books I've ever read.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:58 a.m. CST

    "the film just fails to ever get really exciting"

    by jim

    Same problem I had with The Da Vinci Code. It struggled to maintain what little momentum it was able to build up. The exposition scenes were more exciting than any of the so-called action scenes which fell flat. <p>These kinds of movies should be like riding a roller coaster - moving along at a consistent pace to the first big drop and then twists and turns and loops and drops right through to the end, all while zooming along. <p>The Da Vinci code was like a roller coaster for toddlers. It never goes any quicker than 5 mph and whatever downward slopes there are are slight and practically imperceptible.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:59 a.m. CST

    I assume the AWFUL scene involves a helicopter?

    by chimpjnr

    I quite enjoyed the book for what it was, but the scene involving the helicopter just beggered belief. I really hoped that they might have left it out of the movie, but I guess not...

  • May 14, 2009, noon CST

    The TV commercials are masters in spin

    by chimpjnr

    "Critics everywhere agree that "Angels & Demons" is even better than the Da Vinci Code". Isn't everything?

  • May 14, 2009, noon CST

    AKIVA GOLDSMAN

    by kgerm

    Also sucks the nut. Keep his ass away from Fringe before he drags it down to Oscar-winning mediocrity.

  • May 14, 2009, 12:01 p.m. CST

    My favourite Ron Howard movie is Cinderella Man.

    by Knuckleduster

    For a film that was so obviously designed to please the Academy, it actually turned out to have a lot of heart (and Russell Crowe's best performance).<p> My second favourite is Splash. Daryll Hannah... mmmmmmm....

  • May 14, 2009, 12:04 p.m. CST

    THANK YOU Masa! For exposing Dan Brown...

    by expert_40

    ... as an absolute fraud of a crap author who puts out the worst kind of populist, retardadly stupid shit and calls it literature.<br><br>You wanna talk about Uwi Boll as a hack? You wanna talk about M. Night being a one-trick pony? You need to add Dan Brown and his horrendously stupid fans to the list of all things hackish and one-trickish.<br><br>I'll give the guy credit, he knows people will accept crap if it's paced in a way where every chapter is a constant cliff hanger no matter how bad his writing is, nor how purient his story is.<br><br>This guy is total crap, and I can't think of a better hack screenwriter than hack Akiva Goldsmith (A Beautiful Mind SUCKED) to write the crap screenplays of this guy's crap books.

  • May 14, 2009, 12:05 p.m. CST

    That's more like it. Harry's review was shit.

    by FACEfaceFACEface_____FACE

  • May 14, 2009, 12:10 p.m. CST

    This review speaks to me on a personal level

    by OGoncho

    ...because it mentions Batman.<br><br>No but srsly, nice review, dude. I was almost ready to overlook how much I wanted to kill myself after sitting through the first one and give this a chance. <br>Thanks for such a clear and Bat-themed reminder.

  • May 14, 2009, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Dear SideshowCollectibles.com

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    get aids and die<p> Click the ad on the right side, it doesn't take you to what is advertised<p> It takes you to a page to bid on something completely different.<br> Try entering the addy manually, it takes you to the page to bid on something completely different.<p> To express my appreciation of this force feeding of something I'm not interested in.<br> I will never click a link to or visit your site again.<p> Nice marketing practices, warthogs

  • May 14, 2009, 12:21 p.m. CST

    melvin_pelvis

    by itrainmonkeys

    I clicked the ad on the right side and it took me to exactly what was advertised. I don't know what you're doing wrong.

  • May 14, 2009, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Batman & Robin...

    by Mr.Meanie

    you didn't just go there

  • May 14, 2009, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Magnum Opus is exactly right about Dan Brown.

    by Rev. Slappy

    These are books that allow stupid people to feel smart.

  • May 14, 2009, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Massa why do you keep encouraging kids to smoke?

    by HoboCode

    don't you fee lkind of bad promoting an addictive, harmful, and depilitating substance like nicotine. Take a good long look in the mirror and ask yourself if this is the best you can do.

  • May 14, 2009, 12:49 p.m. CST

    COOL now can someone plz

    by dioxholster

    ban that idiot who is pretending to be me, im really pissed off. i was planning on leaving this site forever but now im forced to stay to deal with this shit, i cant have someone pretending to be me like that giving me a bad rep and all.

  • May 14, 2009, 12:52 p.m. CST

    i want NASA to fix this site

    by dioxholster

    why is no one here listening to me! there is a guy lurking here with my god given name and pretending to be me!

  • May 14, 2009, 12:56 p.m. CST

    I always thought the Riddler was stupid...

    by RobotDevil007

    even in Batman comics. He's a lazy ass villain created to give the writers a break from having to come up with a good story ("let's just have a badguy who's MO is to come up obstacles for the goodguy to overcome for no reason at all... that'll fill a story and I can get home early tonight"). Never forget that the original Riddler only appeared in the comic book once --- It was the Adam West tv show that made that piece of shit villain a household name.

  • May 14, 2009, 12:59 p.m. CST

    RobotDevil007

    by dioxholster

    fuck you

  • May 14, 2009, 1:08 p.m. CST

    You mean people are actually gonna see Terminator?

    by kwisatzhaderach

    Schmucks.

  • May 14, 2009, 1:15 p.m. CST

    This is "pedestrian potboiler pap"

    by Fa_Tass_DinoMolester

    But Drek Trek is the be-all-and-and-all of modern cinema? Okay then...save us, T:S! Please?!

  • May 14, 2009, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Dan Brown is simply not a very good writer.

    by Mistahtibbs

    <p>Put that in your pipe and smoke it.</p> MT

  • May 14, 2009, 1:17 p.m. CST

    HoboCode: Kids shouldn't have the cigarettes to begin with

    by chrth

    Massa is just saying that if you have them, use them. If the kids have them, that's the parents' fault, not Massa's.

  • His prose is so fluid you can be finished with the book before you realize it sucked (Grisham has this magical talent also). I can think of many, many writers who concoct beautiful, intelligent, and elaborate stories that feel like climbing up a steep mountain through brush and tangle the prose is so unwieldy.

  • May 14, 2009, 1:20 p.m. CST

    I'll see Trek again

    by Scorpio

    This time in IMAX. I wish Howard wouldn't waste his time with these 3rd rate stories.

  • May 14, 2009, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Siskel and Ebert gave them a pass?

    by Jor-El23

    Really? That's ridiculous

  • May 14, 2009, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Still making Batman & Robin jokes? Got any Battlefield Earth re

    by KinoEscalate

  • May 14, 2009, 1:28 p.m. CST

    I'm seeing Star Trek again in REAL IMAX this weekend.

    by Rindain

    No LIEMAX for me!

  • May 14, 2009, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Ron Howard

    by grendel69

    ....is overrated anyway. He made 2 good films, Cinderalla Man & Apollo13.

  • May 14, 2009, 1:35 p.m. CST

    That's ACADEMY AWARD WINNING AKIVA GOLDSMAN

    by Six Demon Bag

    sad sad sad...

  • May 14, 2009, 1:40 p.m. CST

    grendel69

    by Fa_Tass_DinoMolester

    I'd say Apollo 13 and Frost/Nixon, but yeah, basically two good movies in the guy's career.

  • May 14, 2009, 1:43 p.m. CST

    T-minus 6 days and counting until Terminator

    by BLEST

    Let's talk about that instead, since this is obviously a pile of boring crap.<p>Ron Howard has 3 good movies: Apollo 13, Cinderella Man, and Frost/Nixon.<p> So yeah, new Terminator is out next week...

  • May 14, 2009, 1:47 p.m. CST

    So, you're saying it's no "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past?"

    by Rhinosaur

    I'd love to see Hanks in something else, you know..."good" before he retires.

  • May 14, 2009, 1:48 p.m. CST

    "you can be finished with the book before you realize it sucked"

    by rev_skarekroe

    Not me. I gave up on DaVinci Code halfway through because it sucked so much.

  • May 14, 2009, 1:51 p.m. CST

    How can people be blaming Howard and Goldsman?

    by FastEddie8139

    I mean, certainly they've made some clunkers in their time. But to blame them for the failures of DaVinci and this, when most of the problems in the movies are problems that originate in their silly, badly-written source material, is crazy. Spielberg and David Mamet couldn't save these awful books from being awful movies. In fact, since everybody and their grandmother has already read the books and knows what the Dan Brown-cliched "BIG TWIST" is, making the movies entertaining becomes an even more difficult task.

  • May 14, 2009, 1:57 p.m. CST

    dioxholster

    by RobotDevil007

    Big fan of lazy, lame ass writing, are you? I totally understand that... I read your posts all the time and enjoy them quite a bit. So we have that in common.

  • May 14, 2009, 2:06 p.m. CST

    LOL. Interesting observation.

    by Mr Nicholas

  • May 14, 2009, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Grisham is a much better writer

    by drewlicious

    When he's properly motivated. I really liked "The Innocent Man" which was kind of heartbreaking from beginnnig to end. A more apt comparison would be James Patterson. Strange how I really like Alex Cross and find the plots to be somewhat interesting, at least in their premise, yet Patterson is a cartoonish and pedestrian writer. I don't know how he outsells Michael Connelly and Harlan Coben like he does.

  • May 14, 2009, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Expendables posters on Screen Rant

    by i eat fish

    screenrant.com has posted Expendables posters . Check them out. Pretty cool.

  • May 14, 2009, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Great review, Massawyrm!

    by Darkartist

    You saved me ten bucks and 90 minutes of aggravation. Cheers, mate.

  • May 14, 2009, 2:30 p.m. CST

    drewlicious: Patterson is a perfect example, thanks

    by chrth

    I didn't mean to lump Grisham in with Brown to suggest the former sucks; many of Grisham's earlier works were quite good (I haven't read his most recent ones).

  • May 14, 2009, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Dan Brown and Ron Howard

    by OptimusCrime

    are both incredibly over-rated. Brown and Patterson each fill their books with dozens/hundreds of two page chapters, each ending on a cliffhanger to be resolved in the following chapter. This causes their books to be "page-turners", but not in a good way. Howard doesn't hit it out of the park every time, but I noticed that nobody mentioned Backdraft as one of his better efforts. Great movie.

  • May 14, 2009, 3:27 p.m. CST

    "Heroes" who don't do anything

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    That's why The Da Vinci Code was such a slog...Hanks NEVER DID ANYTHING except follow a bunch of dusty old clues. Not that I'm expecting Hanks to do a Jason Bourne and kick ass all across Europe, but honestly, give us SOME action more compelling than Hanks saying the line "I need to get to a library RIGHT NOW!!!"

  • May 14, 2009, 3:28 p.m. CST

    Darkartist

    by HoboCode

    Till you go home to your girlfriend. Heyo!!! Did that make sense?

  • May 14, 2009, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Akiva Goldsman wrote Batman & Robin...

    by Zorak5

    Akiva Goldsman has an Oscar.<p>Christopher Nolan wrote The Dark Knight.<p>Christopher Nolan does not have an Oscar.<p>Yeah... that never fails to get me.

  • May 14, 2009, 3:32 p.m. CST

    I like that avatar better than the others.

    by DOGSOUP

    It reminds me of the Brute artwork on all the KMFDM albums. What? There's a Da Vinci Code sequal? People actually wanted that?

  • May 14, 2009, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Dan Brown Writes Goosebumps For Adults

    by wheresmybourbon

    That's what The Da Vinci Code felt like: two-page chapters ending in big gotcha moments like AND SUDDENLY LANGDON KNEW HE WASN'T ALONE! Next chapter: Oh, phew, it was just Sophie. I haven't read Angels and Demons, but it sounds very similar. Can I assume from this review that Hanks neither kicks ass nor takes names in Da Vinci Code II?

  • May 14, 2009, 3:43 p.m. CST

    HoboCode

    by Darkartist

    <<cue rimshot>> Ooooh! I had to go back and read the post I left before it made sense. Either you know my girlfriend personally or you're psychic.

  • May 14, 2009, 3:48 p.m. CST

    What's your point, Mass?

    by MattmanReturns

    I could do this same kinda review with Star Trek and call it "Star Wars" and compare all the characters. Doesn't mean Star Trek wasn't good.

  • May 14, 2009, 4:02 p.m. CST

    Wow that was incoherant

    by Glory_Fades_ImMaxFischer

    what the fuck was that whole review about? "Angels & Demon's isn't a batman movie..gee I love batman movies"

  • May 14, 2009, 4:08 p.m. CST

    Ron Howard gets more flack than he deserves

    by drewlicious

    Seriously, the man can make good movies. Not everyone goes for a distinctive style, some just like to let the actors and the story do the heavy lifting. I loved Apollo 13, Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind, and oddly enough EDTV (one of the few instances McConaughey was remotely tolerable). Granted he's had a few screwups (The Grinch and The Da Vinci Code come to mind) but I think he's unfairly trounced on this site.

  • May 14, 2009, 4:37 p.m. CST

    I read around

    by There_will_be_Dickblood

    100 pages of this. Complete Shite. Read Moby Dick instead.

  • May 14, 2009, 4:45 p.m. CST

    Zorak5

    by Shaner Jedi

    Those comparisons aren't genuine and you know it. Doesn't sound as good if you say what Goldsman won the Oscar for does it?

  • May 14, 2009, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Should have brought back Audrey Tautou.

    by banditmania

    And who cares about Tom Hank's hair?

  • May 14, 2009, 5:16 p.m. CST

    shit

    by GeneralZod81

    Ron Howard is just after the box office here. It would be hilarious if it bombed. Both Howard and Hanks are better than this

  • May 14, 2009, 5:16 p.m. CST

    shit

    by GeneralZod81

    Ron Howard is just after the box office here. It would be hilarious if it bombed. Both Howard and Hanks are better than this

  • May 14, 2009, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Where's Willow 2?

    by MattmanReturns

    That's what Ron Howard needs to be doing.

  • May 14, 2009, 5:54 p.m. CST

    sounds terrible

    by Kobaal

  • May 14, 2009, 6:45 p.m. CST

    Hanks, Howard, WHERE IS SPLASH 2???!!?!?!

    by Drath

    You make a sequel to that wannabe conspiracy claptrap and not the mermaid epic that REALLY started your current careers? I know Candy is dead, but shit, anything beats more of Dan Brown crap.

  • May 14, 2009, 7:06 p.m. CST

    wyrm..

    by Six Demon Bag

    how many films that recieve embargo are actually good??

  • May 14, 2009, 7:08 p.m. CST

    drath--splash 2 was on WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY

    by Six Demon Bag

    in name only..no hanks, no howard, no candy, no hannah, no levy, no plot....no good.

  • May 14, 2009, 7:10 p.m. CST

    Most people seeing it have read the book.

    by OutlawsDelejos

    So probably won't give a shit about glaring plot twists.

  • May 14, 2009, 7:11 p.m. CST

    If people want to pay 10 to see this, let them

    by Larry of Arabia

    There are worse films out there. It's going to be well made, the acting will be good. Some talented people will be able to pay for a new house. Some movie patrons will have some mindless fun. People say that this is what leads to the deterioration of film, or that we deserve better. Eh. There is nothing wrong with perfectly average and I think recent BO has shown that people do watch quality films.

  • May 14, 2009, 7:17 p.m. CST

    Ron Howard

    by Larry of Arabia

    Ron is basically what used to be called a studio director. You give him a script and he will give you a well made and well acted film across multiple genres. I consider that a complement. Every now and then he will hit one out of the park for you. Sometimes he'll bomb. Ron is one of the better of the old time studio type directors. I think the Warner Brothers would have loved him and made him churn out a film a year and you know what? He'd be up to it. They'd be award winners for them and his name would be on the marquee.

  • May 14, 2009, 7:24 p.m. CST

    Best... Review... Ever!

    by Kid Z

    Comparing Angels & Demons to a Batman/Riddler story. Aww shit man... I'm still laughing!

  • May 14, 2009, 7:29 p.m. CST

    I haven't liked Tom Hanks

    by SmokingRobot

    since he stopped wearing women's clothing. His career peaked early.

  • May 14, 2009, 7:46 p.m. CST

    AFTER THE GLOWING REVIEWS OF STAR TREK..

    by TITBAG

    ..I REFUSE TO TAKE ANYTHING YOU AICN CUNTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FUCK ALL ANYTHING TO DO WITH FILM.

  • May 14, 2009, 7:51 p.m. CST

    Can Ron Howard please just go away?

    by one_guy_from_andromeda

    The guy made one decent if bland movie with Apollo 13, but everything else... come on.<p> Nobody is interested in this middle of the road bullshit stories. I just saw Frost/Nixon and it really shows how Howard doesn't get anything - to him it's all just stories he has to sell as excitingly as possible. "This one's about that President guy, this one's about spacemen, this one's about the ILLUMINATI!!!"<p> The man has no soul!<p> How anyone can muster up any excitement at these old, 1000000000times seen before "Catholic Mysticism" stories is beyond me.

  • May 14, 2009, 8:05 p.m. CST

    Dan Brown on the screen

    by drewlicious

    When I saw the Da Vinci Code it didn't strike how stupid certai plotpoints were until I saw them in motion. In the book I noticed a few that were silly at the time but when I saw the film I never realized how idiotic some of this writing was. Case in Point: Dying of a gunshot wound and somehow mustering up the energy to take off all of your clothese and putting up a puzzle. Its amazing what you can rationalize in print.

  • May 14, 2009, 8:27 p.m. CST

    Ron Howard is ginger...

    by Doc_Hudson

    Yeah,...I went there.

  • May 14, 2009, 8:40 p.m. CST

    Willow was better than Apollo 13

    by jonsnow

    Willow is the best Ron Howard film ever. Why he hasn't gotten back to doing fantasy films written by Lucas is beyond me.

  • May 14, 2009, 8:54 p.m. CST

    Metropolis directed by Ron Howard would work

    by jonsnow

    If Metropolis was remade today and written by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard you would have a blockbuster. Strangly this director has ignored his strength which is the sci-fi or fantasy genre. It would be like George Lucas deciding to direct a Howard the Duck trilogy instead of the Star Wars Trilogy.

  • May 14, 2009, 9:24 p.m. CST

    Six Demon Bag

    by Massawyrm 1

    For example I am embargoed on UP. And that's one of the best movies of the...oh. Shit. Almost blew it.

  • May 14, 2009, 9:24 p.m. CST

    Sideshow Collectibles sucks balls

    by batzilla

    Order a statue from them and I can almost guarantee it will show up broken. Or, screwed up with some poor craftsmanship problem. They are nothing but greedy fucks. Pumping out crap statue after crap statue. Sure, they have some really awesome stuff but their quality control is a complete joke.<p>And forget getting reimbursed from USPS or UPS from the "insurance" when Sideshow claims it was the carriers fault. I gave up on them.

  • May 14, 2009, 9:28 p.m. CST

    one_guy_from_andromeda

    by batzilla

    I agree with you. Ron Howard is extremely overrated. Apollo 13 was an average, and like you said, bland flick as is most of his movies. He's a very lucky ginger if you ask me.<p>Sideshow needs to do a statue of him.

  • May 14, 2009, 9:34 p.m. CST

    1Iwilly, "stop perpetuating the use of McGuffin"

    by Immortal_Fish

    I'm sure most of us would stop providing Hollowood also stops the use of McGuffin in their movies.

  • May 14, 2009, 9:36 p.m. CST

    Tom Hanks is such a dweeb

    by batzilla

    yeah I said it! DWEEB! What happened to the "SUPER ACTOR!" ?? His career seems to have taken a nose dive as of late.

  • May 14, 2009, 9:41 p.m. CST

    So does Hanks go all Rocky the Flying Squirrel at the end?

    by Immortal_Fish

    Oh. Sorry. ::SPOILER::

  • May 14, 2009, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Why is Hanks so fat?

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    All that extra flab he's been carying around since -- what, The Green Mile? -- only makes him look about ten years older than he actually is. Even into the mid-90's, he was still relatively trim, but he's let himself pork out like crazy for the last decade. I too miss the "skinny, funny" 80's Hanks.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:12 p.m. CST

    Ron Howard is overrated?

    by tech_noir

  • May 14, 2009, 11:17 p.m. CST

    Really?

    by tech_noir

    Cause, he's made some pretty sick movies. Willow, Ransom, Splash, Apollo 13, Cocoon, Backdraft, Parenthood, Night Shift. I mean, the guy is insanely talented. And Hanks is a freakin' God, granted he hasn't disappeared into a role since Cast Away. The problem is, this movie only appeals to the people who've read the book. We all know that no one under 20 cares about this film. They're all gonna go see Star Trek again. I stand by this, Star Trek will easily outgross Angels & Demons. This just isn't a movie that everyone in the world wants to see. They all want to see Star Trek.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:18 p.m. CST

    Dan Brown sucks BUT...

    by Continentalop

    ...if they ever do another Batman movie were he fights the Riddler, I would hire him as a script consultant to help come with the puzzles and clues.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:20 p.m. CST

    Fareal

    by Continentalop

    Can you give me another excerpt from "Demons?" <p> And God damn it, I wrote "were" instead of "where" in my last post. I f'ing hate when I do that.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:21 p.m. CST

    Fuck it,

    by Almega

    I'll stick to books. Angels & Demons was much better than Davinci code. Had DC figured out half-way through. A&D was actually entertaining. Hate that this movie might suck. Still gonna wait to see it later. Fuck the theater nowadays.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:25 p.m. CST

    Oops

    by Almega

    Except Star Trek. Haven't heard a bad thing about it. Will open the wallet to see it.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:54 p.m. CST

    this was a GREAT review!!

    by BadMrWonka

    honestly, we've all seen these types of movies before. they're not horrible, they're not great, ut they have fucking TOM HANKS and RON HOWARD, and you just don't know what to do. <p>it's not that bad, but should we accept it?<p>it's a tough sell sometimes, and this review (even though Massa and I disagree a lot about a LOT of films) is SO RIGHT ON.

  • May 14, 2009, 11:56 p.m. CST

    "Batman and The Riddler. Without Batman. Or The Riddler."

    by BiggusDickus

    Massa, I love you for that one!<p>Hope they make it the tagline on the Blu-Ray box...

  • May 14, 2009, 11:57 p.m. CST

    tech i assume you were joking

    by BMacSmith

    of those movies, Apollo 13 is the only one that stands out as any good. the rest is middle of the road, forgettable blandness, just like Opie himself.

  • May 15, 2009, 12:21 a.m. CST

    BMacSmith

    by Almega

    Wow. Was just having this discussion with my dad. The only memorable Ron movies I can recall are Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind. The rest? Meh. I know that there were some ok ones now that I have looked up his director credits.. but again... meh.

  • May 15, 2009, 1:17 a.m. CST

    If Dan Brown wanted to be edgy he should write about Islam

    by MANNZILLA

    too many of these shithead "artists" think they are cutting edge and daring because they portray Christianity in a risque fashion. They are nothing but pussies. If they were really brave they would do the same thing to Islam. That I would respect. Im an agnostic so nothing offends me religiously anyway.

  • May 15, 2009, 1:27 a.m. CST

    MANZILLA

    by Massawyrm 1

    To counter that point I've got to ask: since when is it BRAVE to make an Islamic extremist the villain in a film? Hollywood has kind of been doing that since the fall of the USSR...

  • May 15, 2009, 1:31 a.m. CST

    Massa

    by BadMrWonka

    True Lies...it was brave then!<p>of course...it was retarded and the resultant movie was horrible...<p>OK, I see your point...

  • May 15, 2009, 1:39 a.m. CST

    Im not talking about making Muslim villians

    by MANNZILLA

    Im talking about blending Factual Islamic tales with fiction as Dan Brown did with Da Vinci's code. Could you imagine the uproar if he did something like that. I dont have a bone to pick with Islam, it's just that people are afraid to even approach the subject.

  • May 15, 2009, 1:47 a.m. CST

    Massawyrm

    by MANNZILLA

    What Im also saying is their should be some balance to it. Everyone's fine with the torrent of stories that twist the Christan mythology and have no respect for it in the process. But if someone did the same thing with Islam their would be an absolute uproar. Hell you remember when that cartoonist overseas made fun of mohammed? His life was soon in danger after that. All im saying is that it is hypocritical to dance all over christianity while doing the same to islam is considered taboo. I think if one religion is fair game to twist and dissect in fiction then every religion should be as well.

  • May 15, 2009, 1:51 a.m. CST

    I'm not a Christian, but that makes sound sense...

    by TheMarineBiologist

    Way to go, Manzilla.

  • May 15, 2009, 1:55 a.m. CST

    Manzilla - you are in a way correct

    by Massawyrm 1

    But someone kind of did do it. Remember when insane clerics put a price on the head of Salmon Rushdie for his book The Satanic Verses? Even Cat Stevens protested the guy. I personally think it speaks volumes about how far Catholicism has come that someone can right books like this and the worst that happens is that the guy gets a verbal scolding.

  • May 15, 2009, 2:03 a.m. CST

    BMacSmith

    by caruso_stalker217

    RANSOM and BACKDRAFT are solid.

  • May 15, 2009, 2:09 a.m. CST

    If you want to see a dumb, fun "summer action film"

    by Movie_Grinder

    Go see Wolverine instead. Loads better. I don't understand why AICN is bent on giving that movie hell and this a thumbs-up... OH WAIT - yes I do! It's because they wern't invited to the press-screening of Wolverine! Guess they were invited to this one though.

  • May 15, 2009, 2:41 a.m. CST

    I hear ya Massawyrm

    by MANNZILLA

    And it's cool that we all can discuss it.

  • May 15, 2009, 2:47 a.m. CST

    Hell, I couldn't make through the first one.

    by ganymede3010

    Every time I tried to watch this on DVD I was out cold within 20 minutes.

  • May 15, 2009, 2:48 a.m. CST

    Hell, I couldn't make it through the first one.

    by ganymede3010

    Every time I tried to watch this on DVD I was out cold within 20 minutes.

  • May 15, 2009, 3:04 a.m. CST

    bah - Write, not Right

    by Massawyrm 1

    I is real good riter, promis!

  • May 15, 2009, 3:22 a.m. CST

    Hollywood is afraid to upset Muslims..

    by SunTzu77

    http://www.slate.com/id/2066272/ -- For example, Sum of all Fears...Spielberg deleting "terrorist" from E.T... yada yada.

  • May 15, 2009, 4:21 a.m. CST

    Pity....

    by ghostwriter56

    Stellar review.....great tie in to the Batman franchise and a tip to good ol' Scooby Doo. Please, don't let this be the number one movie next week....I'm gonna go see Star Trek again.

  • May 15, 2009, 5:11 a.m. CST

    SunTzu77

    by Continentalop

    I am not going to say that Hollywood isn't politically correct, but I sometimes think it is a good thing it is politically correct and overly sensitive to minorities. If Sum of All Fears had kept the Islamic Fundamentalist as the terrorist, it might have demonized them even further after 9-11 and unintentionally led to greater persecution of Muslim and Arabic citizens. Muslims might be a major religion in the world, but in America it is still just a small minority. <p> The way I see it the problem is that most movies are shot only for entertainment value and to make a buck, so you don’t have anyone trying to present people as multi-dimensional or with any sort of depth. So when we finally do see Muslim characters on screen, it is usually only in a negative connotation. I mean, when is the last time you’ve seen a Muslim character in a movie or TV show who is not a terrorist, insurgent or religious nut? The last Muslim character I remember seeing is from Taken, an Arab prince who wants to r<p> Personally, I am against censorship, even that which is created by politically correctness, but I also believe in being fair and balanced, and do think if we are going to yell at Hollywood for not showing Arabs, Persians and Muslims in a negative light we should also yell at them for only showing them in a positive light. And yes, I do realize that being Arab or Persian doesn’t necessarily mean you are Muslim or vise versa, but unfortunately that is the general perception of the people in America (and probably most of the world). It is the same with being someone who is latino, they are always perceived as being Mexicans.<p> Plus, I think Spielberg wimped out and deleted the "terrorist" line from E.T. not because he was afraid of offending Muslims or Arabs but because he thought it would be upsetting to Americans after 9-11.

  • May 15, 2009, 5:14 a.m. CST

    Fuck it is late - two errors.

    by Continentalop

    Cut off my sentence "an Arab prince who want rape the heroes daughter." <p> Plus I mean to say "we should also yell at them for NOT showing them in a positive light either."

  • May 15, 2009, 5:28 a.m. CST

    Demonic

    by moneymouth77

    <a href="http://movies.sky.com/review/angels-demons">Angels and Demons</a> was so rubbish. Just some guys running around, with bits of anti-matter! I mean, COME ON!

  • May 15, 2009, 7:11 a.m. CST

    Sorry....

    by SunTzu77

    I don't buy into the PC bullsh*t. There are positive images... people just see what they want to see. Three Kings (Character: Amir Abdulah)... The Kingdom (Character: Colonel Faris Al Ghazi)... The Mummy films (Character: Ardeth Bay)... Body of Lies (Character: Hani Salaam)... what else? The Kite Runner?

  • May 15, 2009, 7:23 a.m. CST

    Taken...

    by SunTzu77

    Luc Besson and Robert Kamen might have used a Sheik in "Taken" because Saudi Arabia has one of the largest human trafficking problems. -- http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/06/08/13/10059808.html

  • May 15, 2009, 8:39 a.m. CST

    The issue with using Muslim 'tales' in fiction

    by chrth

    is that let's face it: how many Americans (the target market for a large majority of popular culture) would understand it? Matrix Revolutions largely failed because (for example) Americans had absolutely no idea what was happening in the train station with the sixth and seven incarnations and Sati (sacrifice) standing between them. Contrast that to the original Matrix, where the Christian symbolism was front-and-center and thus more accessible to the audience.<p> With something like the DaVinci Code, the vast majority of Americans and Europeans can immediately understand the subject matter because even if they're atheists they've likely been exposed to the story of Jesus. Familiarity breeds contentment, not contempt. So few people would get an "Al-Rashid Code" that it's not really worth attempting.

  • May 15, 2009, 8:45 a.m. CST

    And to clarify

    by chrth

    I had no idea what was happening in the train station either until I read an essay online. I didn't want it to sound like I was on top of things.

  • May 15, 2009, 9 a.m. CST

    finally u give a good review

    by BlackJackBauer

    this one was good. it was creative, gave us some insight into the movie without just giving a fuckin book report. it also was well paced and knew how to finish itself. may we have more reviews like this. good quick read. thanks.

  • May 15, 2009, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Manzilla...the American audience is stupid

    by BlackJackBauer

    Americans know Christianity and Guns. thats about it. asking us to know enough about Islam so that you can twist it around is asking too damn much. Most of us would just accept the story at face value. Besides, because we are an unauthorized Christian nation full of Jesus freaks, its fun to live in a cool world where some of that stuff might actually be REAL! islam? not so much. thats america for u.

  • May 15, 2009, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Manzilla you're an idiot.

    by ganymede3010

    Hollywood doesn't want to offend Muslim's? Are you fucking kidding me? Do you even own fucking television? I can't count how many movies, documentaries, and TV episodes that depict Muslims as crazed religious fanatics, who're hell bent on blowing something or somebody up. Have you seen the Kingdom, Body of Lies, Rendition, The Cell, 24, Flight 93,etc. Muslims are treated horribly in the news media too (some of it deservedly so).

  • May 15, 2009, 10:22 a.m. CST

    MANZILLA

    by Mickguinness

    While I agree that blending fact and fiction to make muslim characters in a film/book evil gets far more criticism than doing it with christianity or catholicism, your own comment could be seen as very offensive to many christians. I'm not religious, so it doesn't bother me, but you mention people not respecting christian "mythology." They don't consider it mythology. To call it that, for any religion, would be extremely offensive because it in essence implies that the religion was made up and has no truth to it. It is a myth. Again, I am not religious, but to someone who is, they could easily be offended by someone saying their religion/belief system is based on fairy tales.

  • May 15, 2009, 10:23 a.m. CST

    MANZILLA

    by Mickguinness

    not saying you meant it that way, but that's how it might be viewed by some.

  • May 15, 2009, 10:29 a.m. CST

    Actually, 'Mythology' is ok to use in that context

    by chrth

    There's a defintion of mythology that is: "a set of stories, traditions, or beliefs associated with a particular group or the history of an event, arising naturally or deliberately fostered". When people mention Christian Mythology, that's essentially the meaning they use (in contrast to Christian Doctrine, which is the essential core of the belief). Granted, some people derise Christian Belief as a Mythology, but you have to look at the context before condemning the use of the word.

  • May 15, 2009, 10:31 a.m. CST

    In a similar vein

    by chrth

    From the online etymology dictionary: Myths are "stories about divine beings, generally arranged in a coherent system; they are revered as true and sacred; they are endorsed by rulers and priests; and closely linked to religion. Once this link is broken, and the actors in the story are not regarded as gods but as human heroes, giants or fairies, it is no longer a myth but a folktale. Where the central actor is divine but the story is trivial ... the result is religious legend, not myth." [J. Simpson & S. Roud, "Dictionary of English Folklore," Oxford, 2000, p.254] General sense of "untrue story, rumor" is from 1840.

  • May 15, 2009, 10:33 a.m. CST

    'derise'? deride

    by chrth

  • May 15, 2009, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Who copied who?

    by Peary

    http://movies.msn.com/movies/movie-critic-reviews/angels-and-demons/ "Strip away all of the Catholic conspiracy hugger-mugger, and "Angels & Demons" plays out like a classic comic-book adventure, with Langdon as Batman, the Illuminati's sinister secret head as The Riddler and Vatican City subbing in for Gotham." Someone needs a talking to.

  • May 15, 2009, 11:02 a.m. CST

    good catch Peary - mass too goo to be true

    by BlackJackBauer

    good catch indeed. LOL here I thought Mass came up with this great idea on his own, only to find out he took it from this poor sap and fleshed it out. poor form old chap

  • May 15, 2009, 11:19 a.m. CST

    Review

    by WeLiveStill...OrNot

    Best I've read on the site in a long time. Well done. BTW....love your TABLETOP pieces. Boardgames and p&p-D&D are becoming a lost art.

  • May 15, 2009, 11:23 a.m. CST

    its the best we read cuz he stole the idea

    by BlackJackBauer

    from someone else. look at Pearys link. I too praised Mass, but at this point I dont think it was really his idea, since no one at this site is that creative. he clearly stole the idea.

  • May 15, 2009, 11:35 a.m. CST

    Looks like Mass wasnt the cheat

    by Peary

    http://rocchireport.com/ date time of plagiarization May 15th by James Rocchi GET HIS CHEATING ARSE...I was waiting for a good first post.

  • May 15, 2009, 11:38 a.m. CST

    that doesnt prove it tho

    by BlackJackBauer

    he coulda posted it to his MSN....then later on at some point posted it to his regular blog. we need a time on the MSN post

  • May 15, 2009, 11:42 a.m. CST

    that is what fails us...

    by Peary

    does anyone know someone at MSN? :)

  • May 15, 2009, 11:44 a.m. CST

    rottentomatoes has it as...

    by Peary

    May 15th at 2:15am..for Mr. James "the Plagiarizer" Rocchi

  • May 15, 2009, noon CST

    Fuck it...

    by Hasselhoffflying

    if their ain't no boobs in this film it's going to blow!!!

  • May 15, 2009, 12:02 p.m. CST

    I forgot ask....

    by Hasselhoffflying

    does the pope have butt sex in this one...if so I'm there!!!

  • May 15, 2009, 1:38 p.m. CST

    ganymede3010

    by MANNZILLA

    Ill take the high road here. When was the last time hollywood changed a story that contained a christian villian to something else because they were afraid of a hugh christian backlash. If anything they make christians the villian because they are an easy target and they know christians wont really put up a fuss. maybe Im not making myself clear. Hollywood has been stereotyping muslims for too long. I love true lies, but when i look at the depiction of muslims in that, it's actually quite mean and offensive. What im talking about is that when we try and correct a wrong, as hollywood may be doing now. We tend to swing to far in the opposite direction. So instead of picking on muslims, they pick on christians and make islam off limits. Religion is such a complicated subject that it's sort of stupid to make it fodder for hollywood.

  • May 15, 2009, 1:52 p.m. CST

    marine biologist and chrth

    by MANNZILLA

    Thanks much guys!

  • May 15, 2009, 2:38 p.m. CST

    @Fareal: "Nazi Pope" and similar bullshit

    by Jardinier

    The Pope was barely 18 when the Third Reich fell. Previously, he'd been in the Hitler Youth, but so had basically every boy his age, and it's documented that his faith clashed with party ideology. He was indeed in the Army for a very brief period of time, but don't forget that Hitler didn't run a volunteer military. <br> I really don't know why people insist on blaming Ratzinger/Benedict for things that were beyond his control. Blame him for his rather sudden turn towards stricter, not more flexible, doctrine in the 70ies, blame him for his arch-conservative stances on homosexuality and birth control. But don't blame him for having been born into a really shitty situation. <br><br> As for realistic, well-rounded Muslim characters that aren't just stereotypes in movies or on TV... how about Sayid from LOST? Sure, he's a killer, but he's badass and a character the audience can root for. And while not particularly devout (from what I recall), he's at least culturally Muslim.

  • May 15, 2009, 3:58 p.m. CST

    am i the ONLY person in the world...

    by MrHyde

    who thought star trek was boring? and when it wasn't boring it was downright silly? fat hands and numb tongue and a bunch of kids running the flagship of the universe's peacekeeping force? really? i think it was a well made movie. just uneven. but damn i'd rather see ANYTHING with tom hanks twice than have to ever go on another voyage with those wacky kids again.

  • May 15, 2009, 5:19 p.m. CST

    Fareal, re: "he sounds like a NAZI"

    by Immortal_Fish

    "Whenever he speaks he sounds like a NAZI."<P>That's funny!<P>You know, I have family thru marriage that are from Germany and they all speak like Nazis. It's made me wonder if everyone from Germany speaks like a Nazi.<P>::eyeroll::

  • May 15, 2009, 8:04 p.m. CST

    Read the book... saw the movie...

    by TheMarineBiologist

    I enjoyed reading the book (years ago), and figured I'd give the movie a fair shake (contradicting my above posts about not going and seeing it).<p> If you read the book, you will have HUGE problems with the movie. If you are watching the movie without reading the book, then you will have HUGE problems with the movie.<p> Shouldn't have been made this way... They took out a PRINCIPLE character... just completely took him out.

  • May 15, 2009, 8:43 p.m. CST

    What is wrong with having Muslim characters trying to blow up sh

    by OptimusCrime

    Muslims love doing that, or didn't you get the memo?

  • May 16, 2009, 1:07 a.m. CST

    dan brown books

    by redkamel

    These books always seemed to be the airport readem once and chuck em type. Then Da Vinci code was a big hit and everyone read it. I still thought it was a throwaway. Finally read it. And it was a throwaway. As is angels and demons. <p> Get a real book into movie, or at least one of the REAL airport thrillers that are entertaining, not Robert BORE-on. <p> The worst part, you could never get involved. Cause you would always have some crazy puzzle and the solution would not be based on anything you already knew or could find out. It would be something like "Of course! Jeremy the III's son drowned in the tub after the crusades! It was rumored the tub was made of silver...from Jesus Chalice!" Why should I even think along with the story when its all random ass facts? I cant even tell if half the shit is true.

  • May 16, 2009, 2:16 a.m. CST

    What happened to Hanks?

    by SunTzu77

    He's been picking some real stinkers since '02.

  • May 16, 2009, 2:34 a.m. CST

    Motivation?

    by ReportAbuse

    I'd say stopping an anti-matter bomb that will destroy the Vatican and a big chunk of Rome and kill tens of thousands of people (not to mention destroying all that great artwork and literature that Langdon is devoted to) is sufficient character motivation. Especially if he's likely the only guy who can solve the puzzle.

  • May 16, 2009, 9:48 p.m. CST

    The Pope isn't an evil mastermind

    by Jardinier

    out to give safe haven to pedophiles or holocaust deniers. He has doctrinal reasons for opposing celibacy, and he had doctrinal reasons for taking Williamson back into the fold that have nothing to do with his political views. Taking back the excommunication means that Williamson is back to being a member of the Catholic church, of which there are quite a few in the world, presumably also some explicit holocaust deniers. However, in the view of the church, he's not a bishop (that was the whole reason he was excommunicated in the first place, never his views on the Holocaust) and can never become one unless he recants his Shoah denial(s). <br><br> You may not like it that the Pope doesn't base *membership* (*not* eligibility for priesthood) on the political opinions of people, disgusting as they may be, but that's how it is. And it's a consistent stance if you take a look at just who was excommunicated by the current Pope and his predecessor; the disagreements were always about matters of faith, not matters of politics. <br><br> I'm no fan of the Pope, and if you want to call his actions (or lack of actions) stupid, fine. Most religions look stupid to the people outside. And for a former Catholic, you really don't know a lot about the Catholic church, do you?

  • May 16, 2009, 9:50 p.m. CST

    Oh, and how *does* a Nazi sound,

    by Jardinier

    as opposed to a regular non-Nazi German? Dialects are part of my studies, so colour me intrigued.

  • May 17, 2009, 3:34 a.m. CST

    Fareal...

    by SunTzu77

    ...has a socialist accent.