Angels & Demons
2009
**
Director: Ron Howard
Cast: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgård, Pierfrancesco Favino, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Armin Mueller-Stahl

Although Dan Brown’s novel was published three years earlier, this adaptation plays out as a sequel to The Da Vinci Code. Which explains why the Vatican reluctantly turns to symbologist Robert Langdon when it appears that the Illuminati, a real-life secret society, have kidnapped the four cardinals most likely to follow the recently deceased Pope. They have also stolen a vial of antimatter from Cern and threaten to blow up the Vatican City. This gives our hero another chance to crack riddles and offer condescending lectures on ancient symbols and artefacts. The screenplay by David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman takes out the silliest bits in the book and puts new ones in their place. Ron Howard stages a great looking, fast-paced and incredibly stupid mystery which doesn’t make any sense (what do the kidnappers want?). Hollywood doesn’t want to alienate a massive, potential audience, so the sequel (like the first film) sits on the fence in the science vs. religion debate; it goes as far as to put a Roman Catholic Priest in charge of the antimatter experiment in the opening scene.