Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday At the Movies: Angels and Demons & Those Darn Tear Jerkers

Monday's Movie is hosted by Sheri at A Novel Menagerie.

Movie: Angels and Demons (2009)
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Directed By: Ron Howard
Writers: David Koepp & Akiva Goldsman; Dan Brown (novel)

Synopsis from Fandango:
When Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) discovers evidence of the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the illuminati—the most powerful underground organization in history—he also faces a deadly threat to the existence of the secret organization’s most despised enemy: the Catholic Church. When Langdon learns that the clock is ticking on an unstoppable illuminati time bomb, he jets to Rome, where he joins forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and enigmatic Italian scientist. Embarking on a nonstop, action-packed hunt through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even to the heart of the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra will follow a 400-year-old train of ancient symbols that mark the Vatican’s only hope for survival.
Angels and Demons wastes no time catching viewers up to speed. The pope is dead and a new one must be appointed in his place. The four top candidates for the pope's position are missing, their lives in grave danger as are the lives of everyone in Vatican City. What was a simple experiment in alternative energy resources has resulted in the creation of what can be used as a bomb in the wrong hands, which is exactly where it has ended up. Scientist Vittoria Vetra and symbologist Robert Langdon must unravel the clues and uncover the location of the anti-matter device before it destroys the Vatican.

When I read the novel five years ago, I told my husband that it was a book worth making into a movie. It all had the elements of a great thriller: a race against the clock, a mystery to solve, controversy and intrigue, not to mention great characters. Ron Howard managed to fit all of that into this exciting fast-paced film. It stretched the boundaries of believability, certainly. I couldn't help but wonder how the characters managed to get around so quickly and take care of business in such a short amount of time. Still, the film is pure fun, simple as that.

Changes were made and scenes were left out; the story and characters tweaked for the big screen. Even early synopses of the film carry incorrect information, taken directly from the book, but changed come the time of the movie's release. Even so, the writers and director did a good job in bringing Dan Brown's novel to the screen. Is it as good as the book? When is a movie ever?

The movie is plot-driven, sacrificing character development, and yet several of the actors in more prominent roles manage to assert their personalities enough to make themselves known. Tom Hanks is one of my favorite celebrities both on screen and behind the scenes. He along with Ayelet Zurer who plays the scientist, Vittoria Vetra, make a good team, matching brain power and agility as they try and solve the puzzle before them. The best performance of all was by Ewan McGregor as Camerlengo Patrick McKenna. And I would have loved to have explored Nikolaj Lie Kaas' role as the assassin more. What little I got to see and know of him, just did not seem like enough.

The movie has already garnered its share of controversy, whether from the fact that the author, Dan Brown is the one who also penned The Da Vinci Code or on its own merits, I haven't quite been able to make out. It makes no difference to me either way. As far as I am concerned, Angels and Demons is a entertaining thriller that has earned a place in my DVD collection upon its release. I left the movie feeling entertained and satisfied, which is all I asked.

The Monday Movie Meme is brought to you by The Bumbles.

This week's movie topic is all about Tear Jerkers . . .
The Bumbles aren't big criers. In fact we find "a good cry" to be quite the oxymoron. So therefore we don't go looking for sad movies - but every now and then a movie tricks us into thinking it is going to be perfectly fun and some damn sad scene gets snuck in there. We put on the brave face, but that stupid tear starts trickling out the corner of an eye and next thing you know, our sleeve is all wet because, being tricked into the sad scene, we didn't have any kleenex handy. Here are the few that really did a number on us. Why don't you share some others with us so that we aren't caught off guard without our tissues?
Unlike Molly and Andy, I am a big crier. Whether it be a book, a movie, a television show, a song and, yes, even a commercial, I can get teary-eyed. It does not matter if it is sad or an especially happy moment. I do not discriminate. My husband thinks it's adorable. I think it's annoying. And yet, I cannot help myself. It's especially funny considering how little emotion I show when other people are around, but that's an entirely different topic altogether.

Let's get back to the topic at hand: movies that make me cry. It might be more interesting to ask me what movies don't make me cry. That might be a bit more challenging. As it is, it will be a challenge to limit my list to five.

ET (How could anyone not cry watching this movie?)
Schindler's List (think of all the World War II movies I could list here!)
Sleepless in Seattle (and countless other romantic comedies.)
Independence Day (I even cried at the beginning of the new Star Trek movie.)
Empire of the Sun (another World War II movie, I know, but I can't help but list it too.)


  1. We had the invitation to see Angels & Demons this weekend with friends, but passed. I've read the books some time ago, but I really was disgusted with the movie DaVinci Code. Apparently, the critics thinks this one is slightly better, so I'll probably see it. I mean, its Tom Hanks, you know?

    I like your tear-jerker list! Independence Day is one I would not have guessed! I can't even remember anything in it that was emotional...was it when they blew up the White House? haha You know what, that sentimentality is what makes you special. I think it is sweet!

  2. I'm glad to see Angels & Demons is good. I go to the movies with a friend every few weeks and we seems to cry in every one of them.

  3. Sheri - I beat you to it this time. LOL

    Sandy - Angels and Demons has gotten mixed reviews from what I've seen so far. It is definitely better than The Da Vinci Code (which I actually liked). AD definitely has its weak points, but I enjoyed it just the same.

    Independence Day is full of teary moments! I don't think I cried when the White House blew up, but I did cry when the First Lady died. And definitely when the President was giving his big patriotic speech. Then near the end when everything was all over. I'm sure there were other moments in there too--the praying scene, is another one. It was a high emotion film for me not to mention one of my favorite movies.

    Kathy - I liked Angels and Demons at least. :-) It's almost inevitable that I will have to wipe my eyes at the end of a movie. LOL

  4. I just listened to a hilarious ranting negative review of this! I always take that particular critic's reviews with a grain of salt though because we have such different taste. He is very fun to listen to though. We rarely go to the cinema but I'm sure we'll get around to watching this at some point. And we actually liked The Da Vinci Code movie too.

  5. ET is a wonderful addition; I actually watched this at my grandparent's house a little over a week ago, and the ending scene always gets me to bawl like a baby ;)

  6. I cried while watching Independence Day, too! The president's speech, and the first lady's death, definitely - also the scene where the alcoholic crop duster pilot sacrifices himself to blow up the alien mother ship, with his kids listening on audio. That gets me every time!

  7. ET made me sniffle too, but it was nothing like the waterworks I produced at the end of Marley & Me. I'm such a sap for dogs :-).

    I didn't cry about anything in Star Trek, though - we saw it yesterday, and LOVED it! I may actually see it in the theater again when my husband takes my stepson next weekend (we had to screen it first and make sure it was OK for him, you know, so we went on a weekend when the kids were at their mom's house :-)).

    Chances are good we'll see Angels and Demons in a couple of weeks - thanks for the review!

  8. Angels was entertaining and I really enjoyed it up until the last 15 min or so. I think if they spent a little more time on the script they could have made the storyline a bit more plausible.

  9. I just had to comment to Florinda...I have purposefully NOT seen Marley for that reason! We had to put our lab to sleep about five or six years ago, and to this day I still lose it anytime I even talk about her. Marley would absolutely devestate me!

  10. I can't decide if I want to see Angels & Demons. I might wait for DVD.

    I am not a big crier for movies, either...

  11. I'm a crier at movies for sure! The last movie that I watched and cried at was Marley and Me. I still haven't had the chance to read the book but plan on picking it up at some point.

  12. I'm looking forward to seeing Angels & Demons. I always enjoy a fast-paced race against time.

    And I hear you on crying during ET. The opening scene with the spaceship is what gets me the most.

  13. I cried while watching Independence Day too but then I tend to sob at movies. It's really annoying.

    Angels & Demons sounds okay but I think I'll wait until it hits TV.

  14. I actually enjoyed A&D better than the DaVinci Code (talking books). I haven't seen either movie but your fantastic review of A&D makes me want to watch this one!! I'm a big cry baby at movies!! Can't help it, I get emotional easy!!

  15. Nice review of Angels and Demons--I can't wait to see it. I'm a crier too. my movie meme

  16. Nat - My husband said he heard a great rant about the movie too on the radio that he thought was funny too. It sounds like the opinions on this one are all over the place.

    Lindsey - Me too! I caught the tale end of ET the other night and was crying. My husband thought it was funny that just watching a little bit of the movie could do that to me. LOL

    Carrie K.(Books&Movies - Oh, yes! I cried when the alcoholic crop duster sacrificed himself too. That was such a heart wrenching scene. How could I forget that one?

    Florinda - First let me say how glad I am you enjoyed Star Trek. I hope hubby and I will be able to catch it again in the theater.

    I'm with Sandy in regards to Marley and Me. I haven't been able to bring myself to see that one, much less read the book. I'd be such a wreck at the end. You should have seen me the Sunday before last when Riley was really at his worst. I was such a mess.

    Ti - You're probably right. The script could have used some tightening up. Still, I had a blast watching it. :-)

    Sandy - It took me a very long to get over the death of my family dog. She'd been with my family for 14 years and I adored her. I couldn't look at a photograph of her for two years after she was put down. And talking about it, still can bring tears to my eyes.

  17. Kelly - DVD will do. I don't think it's one of those that absolutely must be seen on the big screen.

    Samantha - I'm sure the book will have you in tears too. That's what I've heard anyway. :-) I haven't been able to bring myself to read that one or watch the movie.

    Charley - I love those race against time movies too.

    ET is an all around tear fest. Such a good movie.

    Carrie K - You too, huh? We criers need to stick together! It really can be annoying--especially if we're in the movie theater. At least it's dark and we can wipe our eyes before anyone notices.

    Staci - I did too. I liked the book, Angels and Demons, better than The Da Vinci Code. Even with that though, I think Angels and Demons was the better film. It still had its problems, but I was able to overlook them for the enjoyment of the film.

    Kaye - Thank you! I hope you enjoy it when you see it. You listed some great cry-worthy movies in your response.

  18. Hi Wendy, I really must watch A&D soon. The trailer many months ago got me interested in the book. Now that I've read the book in Feb, I really should watch the movie, hopefully by this weekend. :)

  19. I cried and get teary-eyed quickly no matter what it may be too :)

    All those movies you listed, I seen it all. I watched ET when I was kid. It is such a good movie and I cry everytime I re-watch it.

  20. I didn't know Ewan McGregor was in this one. Well, then that means I may just have to go see it! :)

    I have also heard that this is better than The DaVinci Code so I was kinda of interested in it. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  21. So did Angels & Demons make you cry too? ;0)

    I think Tom Hanks was mis-cast in DaVinci and thus again here. But I loved Angels & Demons when I read it - much more than DaVinci.

    E.T.'s a goodie. And I considered Sleepless in Seattle for our list as well - but in the end I couldn't remember if tears actually appeared so left it off. But it is great sentimental sapiness. Tom Hanks was cast perfectly in that one.

  22. Scott and I saw Angels and Demons last night and we were split on our feelings. He said that he figured it all out at the beginning (mentioned casting a big name actor for the villan was a giveaway), but I really enjoyed it! I read both books--in the order the movies were released and I liked the book The Da Vinci Code better but the movie fell flat. I think maybe the space between book and movie for this one really helped--I had forgotten much of the plot so I wasn't constantly comparing the movie and book like I did with the first.

    I'm really glad you enjoyed it, too!

  23. Alice - I hope you enjoy the movie when you watch it, Alice.

    Julia - Another crier! We should form some sort of a club, I think. :-)

    Iliana - It's worth seeing just for Ewan McGregor. :-)

    The Bumbles - Yes, it actually did. LOL I cry at just about every movie. I'm so bad.

    I nearly put Dirty Dozen on my list to see if anyone would get the Sleepless in Seattle reference. I did actually tear up watching Dirty Dozen--so it wouldn't be a complete joke.

    Trish - I had forgotten quite a bit of it too, Trish, and so I think I appreciated the movie more as a result. I am glad you liked it, even if Scott didn't care for it.


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