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Angels & Demons & Other Stuff Kids Like:

Ron Howard’s Angels & Demons isn’t a film for adults. No thinking adult could ever take it seriously enough to be entertained on any more than a superficial level. Anyway, adults are kind of overrated, aren’t we? Our tastes are so discerning, so dull in the final analysis. We’re always hoping for more, seeking more, diving for deeper meaning. Tweens, though? They don’t really have those burning questions eating at the edges of their psyches. Everything is about a quarter inch thick to them and a fast-paced treasure hunt/mystery is a perfect fit.Angels & Demons is also a good story for people who don’t understand religion, not that there is anything to understand particularly, but to know the history is, perhaps, to have a greater appreciation for Catholic hierarchy. To top it off, Angels & Demons doesn’t really shut out religious people nor does it shun atheists. Amazingly, there is something for every belief system out there.Angels & Demons, Dan Brown’s cash cow, er, follow-up to the Da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks returns as Robert Langdon on the hunt for a fanatic who is planning to do some major damage to Rome and the Vatican. In his quest to save lives, Langdon pursues members of the Illuminati and all of their underground secret passages. There is something involving the choosing of a new Pope, a bomb, branding on chests — it’s hard to imagine any of this was thought through. One of the biggest problems with the movie is that we know going in that there is no way Langdon is going to let that happen. But let’s shove that aside for the moment. This isn’t a movie for adults; it’s a movie for kids and, trust me, when a kid leans over and whispers what’s going to happen next the whole movie thing seems to make sense. They’re actually excited by the film’s predictability.Okay, full disclosure: it actually isn’t a movie for kids. It’s supposed to be for all of us. On that level, the film fails utterly. There isn’t a single memorable thing about it. There is no “there” there. It’s just a lot of pretty scenery and a couple of pretty actors, Ewan McGregor and newcomer Vittoria Vetra. It is not nearly as unpleasant as the first film, which had a lot of over-explaining. At least this one hums along at a brisk pace. Howard is growing as a director, though, even if his choice in scripts isn’t always so astute. With Frost/Nixon behind him and now this solid, albeit empty, thriller, he’s proving he can move in and out of genres with apparent ease. He just needs to start taking greater risks and at this stage in his career, he can certainly afford to.The best way to see this film is through someone else’s eyes, preferably someone between the ages of 10 and 13. They will be amazed at everything they see on screen and will mostly remain far, far away from cynicism and doubt.

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