I have not read the novel by Dan Brown on which this film (directed, like its predecessor, “The Da Vinci Code,” by Ron Howard) is based. I have come to believe that to do so would be a sin against my faith, not in the Church of Rome but in the English language, a noble and beleaguered institution against which Mr. Brown practices vile and unspeakable blasphemy.
Why, I can't help wondering, aren't more poetry reviews this much fun?Its preposterous narrative, efficiently rendered by the blue-chip screenwriting team of Akiva Goldsman and David Koepp, unfolds with the locomotive elegance of a Tintin comic or an episode of “Murder, She Wrote.” Mr. Howard’s direction combines the visual charm of mass-produced postcards with the mental stimulation of an easy Monday crossword puzzle. It could be worse.[T]he Harvard symbologist [sic]* Robert Langdon..., no favorite of the Holy See and long denied access to the Vatican archives, is summoned to Rome to assess, and then defuse, a deadly threat involving antimatter, papal succession and the ancient pro-science terrorist underground known as the Illuminati. You didn’t suspect the Illuminati? Nobody suspects the Illuminati. Except Robert Langdon of course.The high-minded shop talk, half buttressed by real historical information, half floating in the ether of cocktail party nonsense, seems to be a crucial feature of a Robert Langdon adventure, and you can only be charmed when the symbologist says things like: “An obelisk! A kind of pyramid adopted by the Illuminati! If he’s going to kill, he’ll do it here.”
*Like, where does Brown get the idea that there's an academic discipline of "symbology"? And where do I sign up?