Monday, May 18, 2009
Angels and demons
This is a film about a man tasked by the Vatican to investigate the kidnapper of 4 cardinals and who stole the anti-matter that is about to explode at 12 midnight.
The whole production is amazingly life-like, for example, the multitude of people in St. Peter's Square and in other churches. It is very difficult and would need a big amount of money to replicate such sets. So, kudos to the computer animators! I would also say that the whole script is very engaging, arising from Dan Brown's expertise to write and deliver his message in a compelling way.
In as much as production of this film is undeniably remarkable, the audience should be wary about its content. For this film becomes a model for the blurring of fact and fiction. Dan Brown, noted for being a novelist now enters the real world by injecting some of his beliefs and giving it a visual tone, giving another alternative of the world as we see. The classic example is how he bastardized the reality of the Opus Dei in the Da Vince Code, a revered personal prelature founded by St. Escriva. He converted it into a clandestine organization. Morseso, a character as factual and adored by the faithful as Jesus Christ becomes a caricatured version of any human being brought to life from the figment of the imagination of Brown, wrapped in the interpretation of his extension in the film, symbolist Robert Langdon.
In Angels and Demons, Brown through Langdon places himself as "a champion in the interpretation of sacred symbols", which connotes a world of meaning, but unfortunately, is capable of bastardizing the same symbols to favor his own. Now he projects himself as a researcher of facts, not a fiction writer. And much worse, there is no resolution to the movie except, "Believe what you want to believe", and the "rock" of an institution as old as the centuries would be dismantled by a fiction writer of the 21st century who is clearly convinced that he neither believes in God nor the Catholic Church as the instrument of salvation. He simply uses factual accounts and places his own agenda in them.
This brings out a very important issue in the world of film - which one is "reel" and which one is "real". Once it enters into the camera or through the pen of an author, it ceases to be factual, for the facts are always tailored according to the mind of the author. In this arena that the visual medium is used, the viewers are adviced to keep the eyes of their faith open. For while thius fiasco is going on, Reality would still out there waiting to reveal itself to us and embrace us and invite us to enter its world of salvation; and we would know, not just through logical reasoning, but through gift of faith.