We fought watching this one for a long time. Da Vinci Code was an outright terrible film (who thought Tom Hanks could play Robert Langdon anyway?), so we had very low expectations. Last night, I was in a desperate mood for a movie, and this one just happened to be at Red Box…. I’m willing to throw a buck to the wind every now and then.
Surprisingly, Tom Hanks actually fit this role much better than he did in Da Vinci Code. Much better. I think much of it has to do with the fact that he had a believable hair style. 🙂
I’ve never been a big Tom Hanks fan, and even less of one since last year, but he worked for me. Maybe it was the lower expectations, but he actually seemed real this time as opposed to the hyper-inflated nonsense of the previous film. The first film was ah-ha moments after ah-ha moment, and I eventually got bored with it. This one presented more as a credible mystery with genuinely believable conclusions and discoveries.
The storyline was also dramatically changed to fit the constraints of the film, and that worked too. I was a little disappointed in some of the cuts, in particular the omission of the CERN Director. On the other hand, some of the cuts dramatically improved both the flow and the overall acceptability of the book. Remember that silly fall from the helicopter to the river? Gone, and thank heavens!
Finally, the casting in general was solid. Ewan McGregor as the Carmelengo was excellent. First time viewers who haven’t read the book will be surprised, I think, by the plot twists associated with him. I also greatly enjoyed the role played by the lead Cardinal (I can’t remember his name).
I have to add the omissions here as well. Some of them were just done to be different than the book, or so it felt. In the book, all four kidnapped cardinals are killed. In the movie, the last one is rescued. It creates a good happy moment, but it was also an unnecessary change and, in large measure, shifted the final scenes of the movie. Not a real complaint, I guess, but I just wonder why.
Some of the deaths were fairly gruesome. The first (earth) and third (fire) deaths in particular are, well… Why the rats? That’s all I’ll say. Why the rats?
My last big complaint is that I think I would have been somewhat confused had I never read the book. There was enough subplot that, without that fore knowledge, I think I would have stumbled a bit in understanding what was going on.
Hmm… I think my favorite part of the film was actually seeing the architecture and art work described in the books. Rome is filled with incredible works, and the movie does a very good job of bringing those masterpieces to life.
Beyond that, I was pleased to see no sexual content and, as far as I can remember, very little swearing. It’s still not a film for the kids, though, because of the violence and intensity.
For something I expected to come in at a low one star at best, I am pleasantly surprised to award it 2.5 out of 4 stars.
Worth a buck at Red Box, don’t buy it, I still dislike Tom Hanks. There.