sakurafromjapan (sakurafromjapan) wrote,

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Review: Angels & Demons

My Ramblings About Angels and Demons
Reviewer: Sakura From Japan
Rating: PG-13
A/N: Finally, I read the E-N-T-I-R-E story of Angels and Demons ! *channels little Anakin* Yippee ~ !! Oh, yes. I had been away from the reading for almost several weeks, SO busy job-hunting and studying and all, but . . . finally, I managed to pick it up from where I left off weeks ago and read it all the way to the end !!  :D
Warnings: Contains some gore, a little slash and tons of spoilers in this.

A/N 2: Um . . . *sighs* my LJ’s “livejournal-cut” button didn’t work no matter how hard I tried so . . . here is the whole text simply pasted on here.  T_T


* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Wow. Just . . . WOW.  o_O


Angels and Demons.


THE kind of story I had NEVER thought I would read, is now the very thing that has got my mind FULLY-occupied ! ( Oh, I’ve even got myself SO into reading this slash fic that’s been posted up on Ewan/Hayden Community site that centres around the Camerlengo played by Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen.  ^_^; )


So . . . okay. First, I’ll try to be honest here. *clears throat* Well . . . if it weren’t for THAT hot, handsome, cute Ewan McGregor, I NEVER would have seen the film and would NOT even have a chance to read this wonderful book written by Dan Brown ! ( There, I’ve said it. *blushes* ) Yes, I went to see the film solely for the purpose of admiring the beauty of our gorgeous Ewan in a cassock on a big screen. And . . . moreover, it didn’t even matter to me whether the story was good or bad at first. I did NOT even think this sort of story filled to the brim with keys, symbols, codes and mysteries, etc., would interest me !


But I was wrong.


It was MORE than just “good” ! I mean . . . it was so superb that I had to get myself a novel of A&D the VERY NEXT DAY !  X}



First, I had a REALLY good laugh, reading the part where Robert Langdon and Maximilian Kohler, the director of CERN, have a long, long conversation inside this scientific research facility on their way to/at the site where Leonardo Vetra has been murdered. BECAUSE, Langdon and Kohler are SO different from each other they don’t even seem to “connect” even though they are speaking the same language, talking about the same thing ! *laughs*


I mean . . . Langdon does express his feelings more openly than the others ( like a good, friendly American ) while Kohler is SO German and hardly shows emotions in front of others. Well, I guess they’re just “opposites”. *smirks*



By the way, there are SOME parts in this long, long story that almost made me cry and choke on my own tears. And if I’m remembering correctly, the first one was where Vittoria Vetra has some kind of vivid, bitter-sweet memories of her childhood – when her beloved, adoptive father, Leonard Vetra, was still alive. Oh . . . whenever there was this sort of flashback to her childhood mentioned in there, it almost brought a tear to my eye because I could easily tell that Vittoria always did treasure their relationship, and think on him with fond memories, warm feelings, and a special place in her heart . . . *sniffles*



Oh, before I forget. About these two guys called Rocher ( Richter in the film ? ) and Olivetti. While I was reading, I had a really hard time getting used to the idea that it’s Rocher who’s more high-ranking than Olivetti in the book, and not the other way round. ^_^;  It even hurt my pretty little head, too, while I was still trying to tell myself that the book and the film are entirely(?) different things ( well, sort of *shrugs* ).



And those who were completely absent in the film ? Well . . . to be frank, I was so glad that people like Maximilian Kohler, Gunther Glick, the BBC journalist, and Chinita Macri, the BBC camerawoman, were completely cut out ! Because they could be however I pictured them, and I could even let my favourite actors and actresses play the roles in my head, too ! *winks*



And . . . oh, Ah-lah-lah(OMG) ! THAT Hassassin is so, so, so, so, SO VERY sick in the head, isn’t he ? Oh, I know what has happened to this guy in order for him to kidnap, torture, abuse, stab, murder all these four innocent Cardinals and that he has always wanted to have his revenge on these kinds of Catholic people for science and killing his people. ( Okay, that mysterious Janus was the one who planned all this and ordered him to do those terrible things. It’s true. *nods* ) But . . . having read the book, I still think he is a bit too pervy for me. *blushes* I mean . . . the guy just keeps showing his sadistic lust for women throughout the novel right until the end where he dies ! ^_^; I don’t even know how he could be so horny all the time that way.  -_-;


Tokorode(BTW) . . . is the girl ( a prostitute ? ), spread eagle on the bed and naked, arms tied to the bedposts, he sleeps with earlier in the story “a Japanese” ?? You know . . . the part where he picks her out after all the choosing and decides that the other two beautiful ladies are not for him that night after all ?? ( Oh, it’s just my idle curiosity, though . . . )  :{



Okay. About these MOST bloody, gory parts of the story. Even when I saw the brutally murdered scientist, Leonardo Vetra on the big screen, I never saw all the other murders coming at all ! They were not just “branded” but, oh . . . “so brutally executed” ! *shudders*


Actually, when I went to see the film for the first time, shortly before the scene where one of the four Cardinals was found dead, suffocated by having his mouth filled with dirt, was shown on the screen, I vaguely sensed what was coming and immediately ordered my eyes to close - or at least “watch ANYTHING but the screen” ( Oh, yes. I even heard those noises – some kind of melody in the background that could be a sound track for a scary film ! ). But just for this one time, they ignored the order that came DIRECTLY from my brain !  T_T


Oh . . . usually, they’re SO sweet and, if anything, so very obedient, always willing to do whatever they’ve been told to do. But this time, they completely ignored my order and just stayed where they were. They didn’t even budge an inch, however hard I tried to persuade them. *sighs*


So . . . at the cinema, when I saw the first cardinal or even the second one ( with his lungs punctured, stabbed(?), pierced(?) ) or even the third one ( burnt alive, hung from cables ) – all branded and murdered on the big screen, all I could do was just . . . cringe, gasp and yelp silently.


And about the fourth cardinal who has been branded with the word “water” . . . well, since he’s my MOST favourite cardinal who’s been kidnapped, and I have some mixed(?) feelings about the book and the film regarding this Italian cardinal, I’ll get to him later, Iii(Okay) ?



Now . . . AT LAST. I can finally solve this mystery ( I think ).




Do you remember the second time Langdon has visited the Secret Vatican Archives ? – in order to get some more clues to locate the remaining two(?) cardinals and capture the guy responsible for all these murders ?


Having read the already-read chapters, I knew – and even Langdon and the others like the Camerlengo, Olivetti, Rocher, Vittoria and the Swiss Guards KNEW that the power, including the lights in the Basilica, were going to be cut and out for a while. But THAT was exactly when the air supply to the Archives was also shut off !! ( - I think. )


I remember that ( as said in the book ) the police has been systematicaly cutting off power to sections of the Vatican, in the hopes of finding out where the Antimatter is hidden. But the fact that the power is cut off when Langdon is still down there just . . . just makes me wonder if someone up there actually did it on purpose just to get rid of him. *frowns*


Was it an accident ? ( Well, could it be ? )


I’ve read the book only once so . . . *sighs* there are some parts I just cannot remember correctly but . . . . . . if my poor memory serves me right, *paces back and forth, amused, like a detective* when one of the Swiss Guards asked Olivetti if he could cut off power to “more sections(?)” of the city, Olivetti DID give the guard a permission to do it, didn’t he ? At the time of this incident, I remember all those people like Olivetti, Rocher, Vittoria, the Camerlengo, and the Swiss Guards were still in the Office of the Pope, watching this enormously large TV. And while the news reporter on TV were telling the whole world about the murdered cardinals and the Antimatter, these guys in the Pope’s office were all in a state of shock, having seen/heard the secrets spread out so quickly this way, weren’t they ?


Now, if I recall, *pauses, rubbing chin, thinking* it was THAT very moment when still-glued-to-the-TV Olivetti gave the order ( the permission ) to the guard half-absent-mindedly. Maybe . . . it REALLY was an accident at the time. But, when ALL THIS happened, didn’t the Camerlengo try to say something and decide NOT to ? Instead, he just stared long and hard at Olivetti. Whether the Camerlengo just hated Olivetti for having forgotten all about poor Langdon who was still trapped down there OR if he just had an idea that it would probably be the easiest way to get rid of the American Scholar “unnoticed” is . . . still a mystery to me.



And . . . probably the MOST scary part of the story that got me so scared and chilled to the bone is . . . *shudders* where Janus ( = the Camerlengo ) speaks to the Hassassin on the phone for the last time.


“You speak of an American scholar, Janus ?”

“You are aware of him ?”

“Cool-tempered but naiive. He is with a female who seems quite the opposite.”

“Eliminate them if need be.”


Gyah(Holy ****) !! *faints!* “Eliminate” them !?!? Did he really say that !? Did . . . did he really use the word “eliminate” !? Well, the execution scenes WERE the most scary parts of the film when I saw it at the cinema, but this brief conversation made on the phone between them IS actually what brought the hair up on my neck and sent chills right down my spine when I read the book ! *shivers*



Now, the second time I had tears in my eyes and almost cried out loud while reading was . . . where Cardinal Baggia from Italy, the fourth cardinal with the word WATER branded on his chest, gets dumped into a fountain, bound to a cart of some sort, and eventually dies – but . . . “with dignity”.  T_T


In the book, Langdon tries SO HARD to help Cardinal Baggia but when he finally pulls him out of the water after fighting the Hassasin, it’s just . . . just too late, and then the very sad but awfully exhausted Langdon, when he closes the cardinal’s upturned eyes, notices that even in death, Cardinal Baggia still keeps an air of quiet dignity.


So, this is exactly where I cried silently and just let the tears roll down my cheeks while Langdon ( also ) cried for the first time in years, staring down at the body of the cardinal cradled in his arms, ( probably ) crying for the souls of the ones he tried to save but couldn’t.


The book also shows a bit of Cardinal Baggia’s POV story that tells how bravely but quietly he has gone to his end. *sobs!!*


Anyways, I really LIKED this warm-hearted-looking, always calm/polite Cardinal Baggia both in the film and the book . . . so I’m so glad that the film version isn’t at all like the book that – in the film, he gets saved by Langdon shortly before he drowns, and then becomes the new pope ! *smiles broadly!*


At least . . . he still “lives” there.  :)



The Antimatter is to be exploded within . . . what, “24 hours” ?


Okay. Even before I read the book, I had already learnt on the internet and heard from my  friends that in the book, both Langdon and the Camerlengo would get in a helicopter ( with the Antimatter in it ) and fly as far away from the ground as they could ( with only 5 minutes to spare ).


Now, I found it kind of funny, almost hilarious when I read where Langdon had a wrong ( maybe “the correct” ? ) idea while flying that it was a one-way trip that the Camerlengo had no intention of dropping the Antimatter on to the deserted area of land as Langdon had thought he would. *tries not to laugh*


Oh, I also think it’s funny, comical even that the Camerlengo who has just been stripped to the waist, branded and apparently goes into a trance, dashes back into the main aisle of St Peter’s Basilia, trying to find a missing canister of Antimatter, and . . . Langdon and all the others have to do some kind of wild-goose chase not knowing where the Camerlengo has gone ! *giggles!* I even painted a picture in my head of Langdon, Chartrand and Vittoria chasing after the half-naked Camerlengo throughout the church – with Macri, the BBC camerawoman and her partner Guther Glick, bringing up the rear, lighting everyone’s way. *giggles more!*



Well, many people, including my friends here in Japan, who had seen the film, seemed to have thought or assumed that the Camerlengo was actually a good guy and would probably be the new pope the moment he jumped out of the chopper, wearing a parachute, and survived the incident.


But I did not think of it that way.


I mean . . . I didn’t even know if Ewan was playing a goody or a baddy when I first went to see the film but . . . the moment I saw him jump out of the chopper and come back to the earth alive, somehow I knew he was a bad guy that he probably had something ( or “a lot” ) to do with all this kidnapping, murdering or even stealing the Antimatter. So, after he survived the explosion and all, I just braced myself for whatever was coming, waiting for him to suffer the consequences – of what he had done.  T_T



Having read the novel, the Camerlengo’s long speech given to the whole wide world in the middle part of the story where he spoke directly to the camera with tears in his eyes DID move me. It’s true.


But the last speech the confronted Camerlengo gave to the miraculously survived Langdon, Vittoria, and the Cardinals in the aisle of the Sistine Chapel ( half defending himself ), trying to make them understand that he did all this for the love of God, moved me more and really broke my heart.


But then, when the Camerlengo said that the Illuminati’s involvement was a NEEDED plot to cover his own plans that he poisoned the Pope just to punish him for having fathered a child that having all the four cardinals murdered was indeed a NECESSARY sacrifice to save the Church and Christendom, I couldn’t help but get the image ( in my head ) of the half angel/half demon statue Langdon and Vittoria saw earlier in one of the churches in Rome(?). It just . . . crossed my mind. Yes. If he were turned into a solid clump of stone at the moment, it would have been this half angel/half demon statue called “the Elorahim” ( aka “Nephalem” ? ), the very creature that lives between heaven and hell, torn between his loyalty to God and Satan at the same time, still feeling remorseful for the things he has done.  T_T


But I have to admit that there was this brief moment when I thought ( or suspected ) that maybe, the Camerlengo was not even quite right in his mind at the time of this whole incident that maybe, what he really needed the MOST was a psychiatrist, not a ticking bomb. Besides, he is the most complex character in the story, anyway.  ^_^;


Anyways, whatever happens after this is sheer tragedy. I mean – even I did see in there that it was just all too late for the Camerlengo to find out in the end that he was the Pope’s artificially inseminated son that he had always been loved by both his parents. IF he had trusted the Pope more and they had talked more often, being a little more honest with each other, he wouldn’t have had to do all these horrible things in the first place. Maybe.



To be frank, I liked the book more than the film when thinking/talking about the ending to the story, because the book told me( + us) more about how overcome the Camerlengo was with grief and guilt ( especially from killing his own father ) before/while he soaked himself in oil and immolated himself right before a crowd of onlookers in St Peter’s Square. So sad . . .  T_T


Hmm, when I first got the book sent from Amazon Online Bookshop, I noticed it was SO VERY THICK and never thought I would finish it. EVER. But . . . you know, I LOVED the story so I was already halfway through the story even before I knew it !


If I should give it a score out of 10, I’d give it “9”. Well, I could have given it 10 instead of 9 but . . . I didn’t. *grins* Because it had only 496 pages after all ! I mean . . . it should have – COULD HAVE contained more pages than that even it had to have been divided into two volumes !! *laughs* Oh, this is one of the best thriller books I’ve ever read, really ! “The first” . . . and probably “the last” !!  X)



The problem IS . . . I still haven’t decided yet whether I should read Da Vinci Code . . . or not – although there are enough reasons for me to read this one at the moment.


* Having read A&D, I came to LIKE Robert Langdon very much because he’s truly intelligent and naiive but SO VERY cute and funny at times especially when he ( somehow ) gets himself into A LOT of trouble. Well, not as much as I adore the Camerlengo, though. ( Sorry, Robert. )


* Actually, I LOVE Ian McKellen, the actor, who played Sir Leigh Teabing. Well, not as much as I adore Ewan, though. ( Sorry, Ian. )


* My dad has got me a Da Vinci Code DVD a few days ago so I’m going to watch it anyway, and if I liked the film, I would probably . . . no, be 100 per cent sure that I’d get the book to read it.


But . . . how come so many people here in Japan ( even in the other parts of the world ) who have seen Angels and Demons, tell us on the online that Da Vinci Code is not as good as A&D ?? Less action-packed ? Not many interesting characters in it ??  :{


Oh, it is true that it was Ewan and this very interesting character played by him after all that got me enough strength, energy and patience to finish the whole 496 pages of Angels and Demons but . . . *sighs* agh ~ Wakattah(Okay). First, I’ll just watch the Da Vinci Code DVD and decide what to do.  ^_^;

Tags: angels and demons, review

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