Let’s get one thing straight, Dan Brown’s best-selling novels about the adventures of Robert Langdon are far superior to their big screen cousins. With that said, I’ve always thought his first book – Angels & Demons – was better than his more popular, but still enjoyable second take – The DaVinci Code.
The same can be said for the movie versions of each book. The DaVinci Code screen adaptation was pretty mediocre – not terrible, but not great. While it managed to portray the general story from the novel, it failed to create the same sense of intrigue and mystery.
Fortunately, despite all the negative reviews, I actually think the sequel (should have been prequel), Angels & Demons, is a much improved endeavor. With a significantly shorter time span to cover and a single main setting, Rome, it’s easier for Angels & Demons the movie to remain truer to the book, making it more enjoyable in the end.
The historical fiction surrounding the Vatican and its supposed arch-nemesis, the Illuminati, is really interesting on its own, but definitely benefits and gains more impact when you are actually able to see all of the pieces of artwork, old documents, and the logistical inner workings of the Vatican on the big screen (however accurate they really are).
Either way, I’ve never been pleased with Tom Hanks being cast as the brilliant, modern Indiana Jones, Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon. The character in the books is younger and more debonair. Given all of Hanks’ incredible work, its surprising that his acting in these movies makes it seem like just about anyone could be playing Langdon just as well.
Still, if you enjoy the books and like historical fiction, I’d recommend seeing Angels & Demons.