|Angels & Demons
Starring Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, and Stellan Skarsgård
The only reason to think Angels & Demons might somehow be offensive to your religion is to not see the film. Though it comes from Dan Brown, the author of the controversial Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons is a mystery rooted in religion that doesn't try to re-route religion. The Catholic Church loudly objected to the first film, but this time, the official Vatican newspaper gave Angels & Demons a pass, calling it harmless. And it is. Unfortunately, that's an adjective that applies to the film across the board. It's too safe, too soft, and not dangerous on any level. It isn't so much that Angels & Demons should make anyone question the history or the methods of the Catholic Church, but you should, at some point, feel as though the resolution of the movie is in doubt. Symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) has been called in by the Vatican to help solve the mystery of who has kidnapped four cardinals before they're murdered.The question of who is behind it is answered almost immediately. Langdon tells Vatican officials the Illuminati is responsible. It's a group that may or may not exist in reality, but in the film, the secret society of scientists, alchemists, and philosophers has infiltrated the highest reaches of nearly every major group in the world, from governments to businesses, and possibly even the Catholic Church. When the Pope passes away and the cardinals meet to elect a successor, the mysterious group springs into action, seeking revenge for a centuries old abuse of power by the Church aimed at the Illuminati. The kidnappers leave coded clues, which is a silly dramatic device, because Langdon solves each one with seconds to spare, moving on to the next clue, and so on. You can't even call what's going on suspenseful, because Langdon solves the puzzles so quickly that we come to rely on his almost immediate response to whatever new challenge arises.