‘Angels and Demons’ flies despite horrible reviews
Critics have no power when it comes to terrible trio of Dan Brown, Ron Howard and Tom Hanks
Is Dan Brown, author of Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code, review-proof? Is Tom Hanks still one of the few actors who can 'open' a movie just by being in it? Or is God on the side of the director Ron Howard? One way or the other, it doesn't matter what the critics say, the awful films based on Brown's equally awful novels are box office winners.
Just as The Da Vinci Code went soaring to the top of the box office chart in 2006 despite the most appalling reviews, so Angels and Demons, in which Hanks reprises his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, has just done the same on both sides of the Atlantic.
The new film took £6.1m at the UK box office over its opening weekend - almost twice as much as its nearest rival, the latest incarnation of Star Trek, which took £3.5m in its second week of release. In the US, it went straight to the top of the charts, taking $48m in its first weekend - also well ahead of Star Trek.
Yet the reviews for Angels and Demons were almost universally bad, while Star Trek got some of the kindest reviews a "franchise movie" has received for ages.
This is what the Times critic Wendy Ide said of Angels and Demons: "The main problem is the screenplay. Despite the presence of A-list Hollywood scribes, this is a brutally ugly piece of writing. There's no thrill of discovery here for the audience following the same paper trail of clues as Langdon."
Or try Xan Brooks in the Guardian: "I hesitate to call this a thriller. It's big, bombastic and glossy - but it is also stiff and sometimes ludicrous."
The only consolation is that, in the US, the success of Angels and Demons was dwarfed by that of the Da Vinci Code three years ago, when it made $77m on its first weekend. "If the graph keeps going down," said one cynical Hollywood numbers-watcher, "there's hope that the Dan Brown films will stop one day." ·
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