The Langdon Saga
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Far-fetched, but Compelling
Most of you are familiar with the movie based off of one of the bestselling novels of all time, The Da Vinci Code and even its sequel, Angels & Demons, but most movie buffs out there haven’t even read the source material. For many other movies, there is good reason not to read the book, in order for the film to maintain independence as a standalone project…which makes sense, most of the time. For Dan Brown’s novels, the story really isn’t anything without those amazing details laid out on each and every page (and there are a lot of pages in these books). A movie just can’t get all of the info out without making the movie extremely long, and they are already 2.5 hours long.
Today, the fourth book in the Langdon series was released, called Inferno. Tom Hanks is currently working (at least I believe) on The Lost Symbol, the third in the series. It is way too early for there to be any news about Inferno, if that will ever be made into a movie or not, but call me crazy…I love the series. Obviously, the books are better than the films, that is almost always the case, but a lot of people hate these movies, and it’s understandable. It will be so much duller in comparison, because facts, theories, and conspiracy details are what the entire thing is founded on. However, you can appreciate it for what it is, and even understand a little more about what’s going on if you already read the book.
The Great Mystery
Angels & Demons was Langdon’s first thrilling adventure in the books, but second in the movies. The reason for this is simple, they wanted to release The Da Vinci Code first, seeing the growing popularity with the book and instead of just making a prequel, they decided to go ahead and make a sequel instead. I will be reviewing this based upon the original attended sequence, so Angels & Demons is first.
This film had a lot to do with Robert Langdon hurrying around Rome trying to find clues that would help him find the location of 4 kidnapped Pope-potentials on the day of the Papal election. If he doesn’t find them on time, a canister of antimatter will blow up in a brilliant white light, disintegrating everything in a half-mile radius…that means the entire Vatican City, a location an ancient brotherhood, known as the Illuminati, swore to one day destroy.
The book had so many details on the antimatter; you would be surprised how much they skipped over. The first…200 pages of the book was all on it, and the movie takes 10 minutes to get past it to get to Robert Langdon. Plus, the first 10 or so minutes didn’t even do what they did right…mostly because they didn’t want to focus on that so much as the mystery, clues, and real locations in Rome.
From a movie-lover standpoint, this movie is a lot more enjoyable than The Da Vinci Code. Why? Because it is less far-fetched and more tangible. Anyone can go to Rome and follow the clues just like the characters did in this film. In that regards, it is quite compelling for the audience to actually believe what they are watching. That creates a connection with the audience…which is one of the most important things to do for a filmmaker.
Being a second film in the franchise, you could tell that they accepted the fact that they couldn’t include all of the factual information and detail-throw-up in the books, and instead did what they could, and they did a decent job doing what they could. However, don’t watch this right after reading the book, because it will feel so wrong for you.
In Langdon’s second adventure, he follows clues put forth by Leonardo Da Vinci to find the Holy Grail, otherwise known as Mary Magnelene. Finding her would prove that she and Jesus were married and that there was a supposed bloodline – that Jesus had children, and that his children had children, etc. All the while, the Paris police are convinced that he is responsible for the death of one of his colleagues.
Even though I mentioned that he was following clues, the clues really aren’t as obvious and well done as they are in Angels & Demons, this film had a lot more to do with exposing “The Great Secret” or the biggest cover-up ever made. This is where most people start to nod off. It’s far-fetched and seemingly only backed up by speculation…whereas Angels & Demons had concrete no-nonsense places, and history that you can look up at home. Of course, the book made this secret incredibly more convincing…which is why the book was one of the most successful books of all time…it outsold The Bible when it was released…Clearly, they did something wrong.
It’s really a shame, because…the plot is really original and fascinating to think about. If you read the book, your jaw would have a much higher chance in dropping straight to the ground.
Reading all the books up to this point, I have a hard time deciding which I like better, The Da Vinci Code or The Lost Symbol. The Lost Symbol is actually a thrilling page-turner and I cannot wait for the movie to come out. Here’s Amazon’s definition for those that haven’t read it:
“Famed Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon answers an unexpected summons to appear at the U.S. Capitol Building. His planned lecture is interrupted when a disturbing object—artfully encoded with five symbols—is discovered in the building. Langdon recognizes in the find an ancient invitation into a lost world of esoteric, potentially dangerous wisdom. When his mentor Peter Solomon—a longstanding Mason and beloved philanthropist—is kidnapped, Langdon realizes that the only way to save Solomon is to accept the mystical invitation and plunge headlong into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and one inconceivable truth . . . all under the watchful eye of Dan Brown’s most terrifying villain to date. Set within the hidden chambers, tunnels, and temples of Washington, D.C., The Lost Symbol is an intelligent, lightning-paced story with surprises at every turn–Brown’s most exciting novel yet.”
I like to call this book, the best of both worlds. It has a lot of clue searching and a dark secret. If they do it right and include both elements, this would be the best movie.
I have only just begun the novel that was released today, and all I know is that Langdon has a bit of amnesia after getting shot at and getting nicked in the head, and is in Italy for some unknown reason. I’m guessing he has to find clues to find out what happened to him, and I know the story has something to do with hidden clues within Dante’s Inferno. I’m excited…here’s what Amazon has to say:
“In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno. Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.”
Now, both Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code have their positives along with their negatives. Both actually have stunning and beautiful imagery. Part of the books was its implacable ability to explain these architectural designs and paintings and statues…things and places that exist in real life. The movies were able to take those details and present them visually, and almost perfectly…just as we imagined (even if we never saw the real thing), that’s how great Brown defined things. Next, the musical score in both films are consistent, and hold the feel of epicness. It’s a great score, honestly. It is able to convey the emotions you feel when reading the books, which helps tremendously for the audience’s reaction to the movie. However, both are extremely long (2.5 hours), but still feel rushed. This is because they can’t fit in all the details they would like to fit in…so it feels a bit…off.
I would still recommend you check the movies out, if only once. They have some really great stories that you really shouldn’t miss. I would, however, prefer that you read the books…don’t skip out on those, because if I had a choice between the two, I would want to OWN the books…all of them.