Angels & Demons: from Book to Film

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Miranda Lows
Mrs. Crowell
Humanities pd. 2
4/24/11
Senior Analytical Paper
Angels & Demons

In life there are good and evil forces, sometimes they are one and the same. The novel Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown has little good forces and many evil forces bent on destruction. This novel performed well enough to merit a theatrical adaption, Angels & Demons directed by Ron Howard. While the film version includes the same basic elements as the novel such as setting and theme, key differences in the narrative’s characters, plot and conflict are evident, despite the high expectations of the film, the theatrical adaption remains infinitely inferior to the original novel. The analytical process to discover these missing key elements was uncovered by comparing and contrasting the novel and the film in great lengths. The underlying conflicts and intriguing characters lose much of their pertinence in the transition to film, leaving the novel as the superior narrative. This novel is superior for it tells a story about a man, racing against time to save a holy city. Section 1- Summary

While the novel Angels & Demons has been hailed as “A breathless, real-time adventure…” (San Francisco Chronicle), “Dan Brown… has created another frantic paced, pulse pounding thriller…” (Midwest Book Review), and “Well plotted and explosively paced.” (Publishers Weekly), the theatrical version lacks the critical praise garnered by its literary counterpart, recounting it as “Not all trash is art, but there’s an art to making trash. So, father, forgive the makers of ‘Angels & Demons’, for they know not what they do.” (The Boston Globe), and “Mr. Howard’s direction combines the visual charm of mass-produced postcards with the mental stimulation of an easy Monday crossword puzzle.” (New York Times).The summary of any story is vital to the analysis, so without further ado; Angels & Demons is a story about an intelligent and caring Harvard professor of religious symbolism and iconography, Robert Langdon, a man caught between the times, and when he is called in by Vatican City to help them fight an age old rival, the Illuminati. The Illuminati is a secret organization bent on revenge for the monstrous acts committed by the Catholic Church. Langdon obtains help from a beautiful, intelligent and mysterious scientist from a top secret organization known as CERN, Vittoria Vetra, as well as the strict and menacing Maximilian Richter, the commander of the Swiss Guard. Langdon and the others fight against time to save Rome, Vatican City, and conquer his internal struggle of science vs. religion. While the plot of the film is fundamentally the same, several of the novel’s subplots have been given to other characters, or otherwise completely eliminated. Section 3- Contrast

Although both versions of Angels & Demons appear to be remarkably similar, the resemblance is only superficial, as the film either glosses over or dramatically alters scenes and plot lines from the novel, stripping them of their importance and realism. There are several blatant differences between the novel and the film, but alas Ron Howard (director) managed to get a few elements almost accurate such as the historic settings and insightful themes. He failed however to portray an accurate account of the novels brilliant conflicts, plot lines and intellectual character developments. The discovery of the last altar of science where Robert Langdon finds the last remaining cardinal, a pivotal scene in the novel that helps dramatize the plot, is not only drastically shortened, but the scene itself is warped to accommodate the eccentric plot. Whereas in the novel, after hours of raging self doubt and discovery of dead bodies all over the city, Langdon finds himself battling with the Hassassin, striving to not only save himself, but Vittoria and Cardinal Baggia. “Depleted and alone in the fountain, Langdon half expected to collapse. But instead, he felt a new...
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