Imagine going to a library to research arcane religious history while listening to a medieval church choir too loudly on your iPod. That’s sort of what it’s like to sit through Angels & Demons, the laborious, ridiculous sequel to The Da Vinci Code.
Tom Hanks returns as symbologist Robert Langdon, and almost every one of his scenes begins with him yelling a date – “1668!” – followed by a bunch of quasi-historical mumbo jumbo.
In the first movie, this babbling was often tied to the mystery at hand, but here it’s simply white noise. When director Ron Howard really wants to moves things along, he zooms in on a statue pointing its finger in an obvious direction and has Langdon shout, “We go that way!” It’s an embarrassing narrative conceit in an embarrassing movie.
I understand that Hanks and Howard need this sort of sure-fire moneymaker to bankroll their riskier endeavors, but does the result have to be this lazily constructed? Hanks is a pro, as always, but his commitment to the mechanical material only makes it seem more automated. With Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard and Armin Mueller-Stahl in various dark suits, red robes and funny hats.