Sony Pictures
In cinemas on Friday 15 May

138 minutes later, I have survived the yuck-fest that is “Angels & Demons.” I was really looking forward to this one based on the trailer which gave me the heeby-geebies. Sadly, the movie itself…not so much. While Tom Hanks finally has normal-looking hair and another cute sidekick (“Munich”‘s Ayelet Zurer), this follow-up to “The Da Vinci Code” manages to be more academic, cheesy, implausible and awkward than its predecessor.

There is no question that all the folks who made this movie are great guys: Director, Ron Howard…producer, Brian Grazer, terrific. And if there was any question, the press notes at a screening earlier this week in L.A. have plenty to say about their cumulative box office receipts over the years.

So in this Dan Brown movie #2, Hanks is back as the Harvard symbologist, while Zurer plays a scientist (or something) in Geneva who is trying to get back her stolen vial of antimatter before it goes kaboom. You see, the pope has kicked it, and elections are underway to find a new man who can fill the pointy hat. It’s at this critical juncture that the Illuminati (old school Catholic mercenary types) have kidnapped the top four contenders for the papal throne and have promised they will die every hour in totally gross ways until midnight when they let that antimatter loose in the middle of Vatican city.

Rome looks gorgeous and the CGI-ness to compliment the real Rome looks nearly believable. The script has enough exposition about the history of the church to make PBS viewers bored, but then it jumps into all the DANGER! Every hour, a new murder and they’re all in different places. No pressure though, once they recover a body, there’s plenty of time to change your clothes, make small talk, get a few quips and gags in there… we got 48 minutes, people!. Really, the best thing about the movie is Hanz Zimmer (for those of you playing the home game, he’s the composer) who can even make a car’s headlights get you excited. The murders are pretty nasty but inventive so that keeps your attention as well. It feels like this could have been a great film and not just an okay movie if it had only learned how to breathe in all the right places.

Oh well.