An-gals & De-mans

Saw Angels & Demons. Good.

Haven’t read the book and I’m not particularly compelled to do so after seeing the film. But it is an ok film.

Imagery is very powerful at every level. The Vatican, the anti-matter bomb, the branded keys. Every shot is a painting, every scene setting elements of plot & theme alight. Viewing a character referring to the Church as a Bank through the circle of MB hood ornament. Viewing a saviour character descending from the sky in a parachute under an exploding sun. Etc.

So its worth watching it for that.

The themes are handled cleverly. They ultimately present a character who sees faith as ‘a gift he has not yet been granted’, and acting on the part of innocent people intelligently. He doesn’t really run around with a gun too much and though the explanation for his non-execution is tenuous, Hanks plays a steady character.

The villain was … complete. The reasons the pseudo-villains gave was understandable for not exposing him right away. I found it wearing at times – where did the Camerlengo get the time to rig a car? Why didn’t he take the journals? As obvious a villain from the start he was, the confirmation of the not-Illuminati angle was a relief; I am sceptical, at best, of super-secret societies running the world. Overall, I find that point of view overly optimistic, and share Alan Moore’s that:

  • Yes, there is a conspiracy, in fact there are a great number of conspiracies that are all tripping each other up. And all of those conspiracies are run by paranoid fantasists and ham-fisted clowns. If you are on a list targeted by the CIA, you really have nothing to worry about. If however, you have a name similar to somebody on a list targeted by the CIA, then you are dead.
  • The main thing that I learned about conspiracy theory is that conspiracy theorists actually believe in a conspiracy because that is more comforting. The truth of the world is that it is chaotic. The truth is, that it is not the Jewish banking conspiracy or the grey aliens or the 12 foot reptiloids from another dimension that are in control. The truth is more frightening, nobody is in control. The world is rudderless.
    • “The Mindscape of Alan Moore” (2003)

The hidden path across Rome angle therefore is weighty premise. Yes, it says, we hide within plain sight – and you need an extremely complex network to work that out. So, wait, couldn’t we not articulate out entire system of communication through the public statues in the churchiest city on earth?

In essence, I often feel such scenarios are the equivalent to building a simple device, then building a wall around it, a moat of piranhas below and autonomous spinning discs of death above. And then the whole enterprise eventually becomes weighted towards the further building of the wall, the feeding of the piranha, the maintenance of the discs and nothing about the original device.

Anyway – cool historical factoids – spawns interest – probably Dan Brown tours around Rome – lots of nice Vatican screenshots. Good for Tom Hanks, good for Ewan McGregor. Interesting, but still fictional.

Prefer to read the Illuminatus Trilogy – it would cover the details of Da Vinci Code & Angels + Demons in ten pages. Then contradict it ten pages later.


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