More Demon than Angel

Warning: highly opinionated movie review follows…!

Have you seen the new Angels & Demons movie based on the Dan Brown book, sequel to the Da Vinci Code? I was honoured to be invited to a Sony premiere at Sony Theatre (thanks to our kind hosts), but sadly the evening was far better than the film warranted – the highpoint being the trailers for all the OTHER movies Sony has licence on…

Having read the book, I knew science would be stretched beyond credibility, but in the book you can overlook that, because you get engaged with the characters, and feel the tense pace of the plot. Both of those were lacking in the movie, with the result that you feel shouted at for 2 hours, by an ignorant panicky sensationalist.

I thought that was just me (although no-one applauded, a rarity at a private viewing!), but to quote a great review in the Institute of Physics journal this month (yes, boffins watch movies too!)…

– “producing the amount of antimatter depicted would take billions of years – although at times this feels like it could be achieved before the film finishes”

– “a real tendancy to plot despite the central plot device being a race against the clock!”

-“[Vetra does little], bar talking about the Higgs boson, setting up Hanks for the trailer friendly quote ‘You’re talking about the moment of creation’ – although patently she is doing no such thing.

– “The [supposed] conflict between science and religion ends up coming to an understanding – reminscent of Albert Einstein’s claim that religion without science is lame, and science without religion is blind.”

So just to put the record straight: Antimatter does exist, and is created in particle accelerators such as CERN but so far anti-protons and anti-electrons, rarely even whole atoms, and most exists only for nanoseconds, no-one has managed to create even a gram yet. And the Higgs boson is believed to be the particle that gives things mass, and the quest to find it is one of the big races in particle physics (oooh, I hear you cry). But it has nothing to do with ‘the moment of creation’, which arguably is the big bang, when there were no particles, only energy (though no-one’s quite sure). I could go on, but I’d only get it wrong, not being a particle physicist, and I’ll leave that to the movie…

So, if you can suspend all logical thought and aren’t irritated by gross misrepresentations, then watch this film – but if you just like great action movies, then go back to Die Hard 4.0, at least it doesn’t pretend to have a message (and the car crash in the tunnel is truly awesome!)!