Dan Brown: Angel or Demon?
Saw the film of Angels and Demons yesterday, in a moment of weakness. Trashy, perhaps, but well-made. The scenes inside the virtual Sistine Chapel and St Peter's were very convincing, even if there were some annoying minor mistakes relating to Catholic practices at various points (there always are in this kind of film).
Whilst in the Da Vinci Code Dan Brown rehashed some awful untruths about St Mary Magadelene (which are still confusing the young, one discovers in catechism classes ...) and had fun misrepresenting Opus Dei, Angels and Demons is really quite kind to the Church, does not misrepresent any Catholic doctrines, and very definitely suggests that God protects it from harm, in the most surprising ways. It also suggests that the Church is, in fact, in step with the modern world and has a key role to play in helping man understand how to proceed ethically in the progress of scientific research.
Tom Hanks plays a university professor: an apologetic agnostic perhaps based on the person of the author, eventually dressed in clerical dress, minus the plastic collar. He acts as God's Angel, sent to deliver the Church.
One disarming, but quite meaningful element in the film (I have not read the book, though I have a confiscated one in my office) is that all the scary traditionalists with harsh foreign accents, in clerical dress, or in the Swiss guard, are actually the good guys.
Now I've almost spoiled the story, so I'll say no more.