Once I read a book , I rarely attend the movie or rent the DVD. Too many times I end up disappointed at the film’s inability to translate the richly layered subplots of a good novel into a successful film. That’s not to say that good cinema can’t be created from important literature, but merely refers to the fact that seeing a film after having read the tale, usually turns out to be a disappointment. For me, I need a blank slate between my ears when I look at a movie.
This situation was certainly true for Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, but his (movie) sequel, Angels and Demons provided a fast-paced and engaging entertainment experience that in my opinion outshone the book. Much of the credit has to go to the screenwriter, Akiva Goldsman, who turned a pretty good story with a shaky ending into a pretty good story with a much better ending.
Although a good read, the one drawback of the novel was the ridiculously unbelievable climax, when the helicopter took off from Vatican City with the core sample of anti-matter. The movie handled this well by making the helicopter scene more believable and also by adding more plot to the story, some of which was not revealed until the last minutes of the film. Furthermore, several events in the opening of the book were either changed or condensed in the film to help get the story moving, though the pacing of both the book and the novel was quite fast.
So is the recent enjoyment of Angels and Demons going to change my movie viewing habits. Not likely – for I chose to watch Angels and Demons for two reasons. First, I enjoyed the setting of the story and I wanted to see how the filmmakers handled the visuals (I thought they did very well). And then of course, I couldn’t believe they would use the same grand finale that Dan Brown did. (they didn’t)
As as far as my thoughts on Mr. Brown and his two books – turned to movies- are concerned. They are an unique concept that has rightly captured the minds of many readers and created a large following at the cinema, but when all is said and done – I guess perhaps Mr. Brown should have gotten a little more from the rich source of material that he so successfully tapped into.