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Angels and Demons: Vatican breaks silence to review film

Angels and Demons, the Da Vinci Code sequel starring Tom Hanks, has received a surprisingly good review from the Vatican.

 

Church officials condemned The Da Vinci Code on its release in 2006, calling it "an offence against God" because it was based on the premise that Jesus married and fathered children. They banned the film-makers from shooting the sequel inside the Vatican, forcing director Ron Howard to reconstruct the settings in Los Angeles.

However, in its first pronouncement on the film, Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano described Angels and Demons as "harmless entertainment which hardly affects the genius and mystery of Christianity".

While the "gigantic and smart commercial operation" is filled with inaccuracies and stereotyped characters, the camera work is "splendid", Howard's direction "dynamic and alluring" and the reconstruction of St Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel is "magnificent".

The film's success should prompt the Church to rethink the way it communicates its message, an editorial in the paper added, pointing out the"simplistic and partial" representation of the Church had captured the public imagination.

"It would probably be an exaggeration to consider the books of Dan Brown an alarm bell but maybe they should be a stimulus to rethink and refresh the way the Church uses the media to explain its positions on today's burning issues."

In the movie, Hanks reprises his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. When four cardinals are kidnapped and a bomb threatens the Vatican, Langdon is called in and his investigations lead him to a centuries-old secret society called the Illuminati.

The Da Vinci Code has taken $757 million worldwide despite being derided by critics. Hanks said of the two films: "We play fast and loose with an awful lot of fact, but a trickle of authenticity makes it plausible. It's not important, but it's fun."

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