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There are over 30 million Americans who live on the streets of our nation. Can you consider giving something to a shelter near you? Your fellow human beings need socks because they walk everywhere. Food and shelter are great too, if they will take them. So please give.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reviews by Hubie Goode: Angels & Demons

Tom Hanks • Ewan McGregor • Ayelet Zurer • Stellan Skarsgard • Pierfrancesco Favino • Nikolaj Lie Kaas • Armin Mueller-Stahl

Columbia Pictures presents a film directed by Ron Howard. Written by David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman, based on the novel by Dan Brown. Running time: 138 minutes. Rated PG-13 (some violence).

As is the usual with these reviews, I’m going to let the reader go elsewhere for the rundown of what the movie may be about as far as the run of events that take place, and the rather outlandish, “against all odds” plot progression that happens. I think the first thing that came to mind for me was an episode of MASH where the producers placed a clock in the corner of the screen as intense happenings unfolded during that weeks show. It hooked the viewer and made one feel they were a part of the action. Angels and Demons is built the same way, but without the clock. For much of the movie there is a nice, long and intense chase across the Vatican and certain parts of Rome. Seeing Rome and the churches visited, such as the Sistine Chapel, was a nice touch, even though most of it was probably a mix of CGI and reality.

During this chase there are all sorts of things that can be of concern to the Christian perspective on Hollywood movie making. There are lots of Cardinals, for one thing, and even an actor I have not seen since the sixties in an episode of Gilligan’s Island as one of those Cardinals. The Cardinals do what you would expect the Catholic Cardinals to do, they make statements about how the Catholic Church is the vessel through which the Holy Spirit speaks to the world. They make excuses for religion not being perfect because man is not perfect. They maintain a dogged persistence to continue their assignment of re-electing a new Pope despite that fact that their lives are very much in danger. And yet we see them pray and seek God in these decisions not at all. Now, that’s not their fault, it’s just typical Hollywood movie making.

Naturally, of course, Tom Hanks character is a kind of superman, who’s brains and reason are never shown to be irrationally committed. He makes mistakes, of course, but he is totally forgivable in a way that the Cardinals and Priests in this movie are not. He operates on his own strength and of course wins out in the end, but the so called “Holy” persons here are shown to be either in severe doubt as to even the existence of God or else they only see themselves as the focus of Holiness... oh, and each other of course. In one scene a priest must open the Popes coffin to check for evidence of poisoning and he actually kneels down and prays for forgiveness to the DECEASED POPE before he continues. I don’t want to reveal the twist that comes toward the end of the story, but the only reason it happens at all is because the “Holy” person who has secretly been the catalyst for the whole story has a dangerous undercurrent of atheism he is totally unaware of. If your kids see this movie, please make sure they understand how wrong headed and misunderstood Hollywood is about all this, despite the fact that a lot of Catholics will see not that much incorrect here. Oh, and there is a reference to “St. Teresa on Fire” which made me squirm in my seat at how outrageous and flawed the interpretation of this particular monument to adoration is.

There are some grisly death scenes, two burnings, several dead bodies with decay and even vermin. There is also a near drowning, the movie keeps a certain pace with this sort of thing. There is almost a fascination that makes all the Roman Gothic and historic reference move toward a semblance with the kind of thing seen in vampire movies, but thankfully those scenes were kept to a minimum. Producer/Director Ron Howard wisely kept any flesh peddling out of this one, as there simply is no time for anything remotely like that. We’re on the clock here people. But to close, if I were a member of the Illuminati viewing this movie, I would want equal time.

3/5 Stars

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