The popular saying “practice makes perfect” is — besides being indisputably true — what describes Dan Brown’s case perfectly. No need for introductions here, Dan Brown is a well-known author and one of the masters of his genre. Even though his books now become best-sellers worldwide, he didn’t hit the charts right from the start. The first book, in which readers were first introduced to the notorious professor Robert Langdon, was Angels and Demons, and it didn’t have the success that someone might expect at first. In fact, it was all down The Da Vinci Code, a book which made readers go back to the beginning of the story.
Angels and Demons is where we read about Robert Langdon for the first time, a professor at Harvard who specialises in symbols. The story kicks off in CERN, the famous laboratory in Switzerland, where they perform an experiment regarding antimatter and what they call “God’s particle”. In the meantime, in the Vatican, there is a conclave for the election of the new Pope. The problem being that the four candidates have been abducted by someone threatening to kill them – and the details regarding where and how have been concealed in riddles. In order to stop him, the Vatican calls Langdon and the hunting begins. How does this work exactly? Let’s just say that the church and science have a little past.
As a book, Angels and Demons is full of intense action. The pages run fast, while there is a lot of excitement, a lot of information and a lot of mystery; actually there is too much of all of this at times, causing the reader to grow tired. The characters are not described in any real depth, and it seems like they are there to simply support the plot and not to drive the reader’s attention. There is no doubt that many clichés were used along with some of the most commonly seen writing techniques — some of the things that Dan Brown minimised in his second book in the series of Robert Langdon’s adventures. Apparently, practise did help him to perfect his skills, giving The Da Vinci Code a better rhythm, a more intriguing story and a deeper insight in the main characters.
And that is what exactly happened with the adaptations. The first one failed to fulfil readers’ expectations, while the second managed to be more interesting. It might be the same protagonist Tom Hanks, same director Ron Howard, same screenwriter Akiva Goldsman along with David Koepp, only this time they paid some extra attention and they improved on a few of the things that they had missed first time around. In Angels and Demons, the cast was way more suitable, fitting in well with the book’s descriptions. Ewan McGregor was an excellent choice, just like actress Ayelet Zurer who plays Vittoria Vetra perfectly. This time, the scenery, Rome, not only played its role but dominates the screen. Rome at its best creates an ideal background that combines history with modernism and mystery with beauty.
Angels and Demons (film) at IMDb
Angels and Demons (film) at Wikipedia
Angels and Demons (book) at Wikipedia
Angels and Demons (film) at Rotten Tomatoes
Angels and Demons (awards won and nominated for) at IMDb