Author Dan Brown is no stranger to controversy. The Author of "The DaVinci Code", "The Digital Fortress", the upcoming " The Solomon Key" and " Angels and Demons" has been shown his fair share of disdain by not only the devout, but by his fellow authors, for taking his books too seriously.
Director Ron Howard seemingly dived head first into that same pool of controversy while tackling the movie version of " The Da Vinci Code" in 2006, and upon it's release, was greeted with the same amount of contempt from not only the novels devout fans, but by critics ( such as myself) who found it to be a good movie, but not a great movie.
Now comes the second movie in the continuing adventures of symbologist Robert Langdon, "Angels & Demons". The original novel was actually written several years before " The Da Vinci Code" and did a very good job in setting up the characters and who Robert Langdon really is. Director Howard manages to tweak the script slightly to make it fit as a sequel, although somewhat haphazardly.
Robert Langdon is one of my favorite literary characters at the moment, mainly because he reminds me of some of my former teachers. Walking encyclopedia's of knowledge about religious history as well as ancient symbols, codes and hidden meanings. Tom Hanks does a better job in this movie, then in "The Da Vinci Code" of playing Langdon, and therefore makes him a more likeable character all around, but the movie does not, as it didnt do the first time, explain many of the symbols, codes and clues to this reviewer's liking. Had I not read the book I might have been scratching my head upon it's conclusion.
The main bulk of the film is set in Vatican City, during conclave. A meeting of the College of Cardinals convened to elect a Bishop of Rome, who becomes the pope, when there is a vacancy in the office. At the same time, a bomb comprised of Antimatter, has been stolen from The European Organization for Nuclear Research (or CERN) by a group called The Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society, and is placed in Vatican City, threatening to destroy it, and most of Rome, if not found.
The Church knows that it does not like Langdon, because of the events in the previous movie, but knows it needs him, and so Langdon, and a scientist from CERN, Vittoria Vetra ( played by Ayelet Zurer) search for the bomb, following the Illuminati's path of Illumination, a an ancient process once used by the Illuminati as a means of induction of new members.
The movie changes several main plot points from the book, deletes several characters, trims down the role of others, and ignores some of the more controversial topics brought forth in the book, no doubt to limit the amount of backlash and controversy that " The Da Vinci Code" brought to the first film. My advice to those who have read the book is to go into the movie expecting to be disappointed. For those uninitiated to the novel, go see the movie, but then head to your local bookstore, pick up a copy of " Angels & Demons" and enjoy the story unfettered.