Okay, so, once again, I didn’t see the previous film.  Angels and Demons is a sequel to the DaVinci Code.  This time, the Illuminati are back to destroy the Catholic Church right when they are in the middle of picking a new pope.  On the surface, it sounds pretty cool.  Quite frankly, we were at the theater to see “Up”, but couldn’t get in.  That doesn’t say much for my choice, but there you have it.

It’s not nearly as bad (or stupid) as National Treasure, but for my money, it’s still not clever enough.  This is more of a rental.  Ron Howard is a pretty good director, but here he seems a little out of his depth.  The movie comes across as part action, party mystery and part thriller.  Howard should really pick just one and here’s why: (SPOILER WARNING)

The movie hinges on the Illuminati’s return and Professor Tom Hanks putting the pieces together.  Unless you’re familiar with Roman statues, Rome, the history of the Catholic Church, etc. he might as well be making the places and things up.  I liked it better when they did it in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Another problem is the time limit placed on the movie by a bomb.  This has always been a lazy plot device to me.  If you’re going to hatch and elaborate scheme to fool the Vatican and destroy it and/or seize power, you really ought to give yourself more time.  Events take place on after another and the major action all goes down in four hours all over Rome.  During that time there are four kidnappings, five brandings, three cardinal murders and about a dozen cop murders.  It’s all too much.  Plus, Ewan McGregor as super priest doesn’t help much matters.

The climax of the movie is kind of ridiculous.  The main “villain” who apparently set everything up would have to depend upon too many other characters doing what they did at precise moments.  There’s also a bit where the Vatican, to find the bomb, shuts off the lights in various places in Vatican City in an attempt to find the bomb since it’s in a room with lights.  The result?  The light conveniently goes off in at least two or three different areas.  This either means a) Vatican City is small enough that it would happen, but you’d be able to cycle through the areas faster or b) Vatican City is so huge, the odds of you being in a spot when the lights go down even once would be low when you’re running all over Rome.

As I said, I think Ron Howard is a good director, but he’s just too on the nose with his stories.   (WARNING MAJOR SPOILER)  And it’s really disappointing to find out the Illuminati has not returned.  Which is a really cool idea.  Instead, it’s all a big hoax and then you feel like, “Well, if I were going to perpatrate this huge crime and I didn’t want to get caught, why leave clues like the Riddler everywhere?”  It undermines the entire plot retroactively, making you feel like you wasted your time.

Still, I did enjoy some of the ride.  I have to give Angels and Demons 5 out of 10 keggers.  Wait for cable or DVD, I say, bros.  Way better summer fare out there.