Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Angels & Demons make their mark on the holy mystery beat

The next potential blockbuster movie to come out of the gate is Angels & Demons,the prequel to the hugely popular Da Vinci Code. Tom Hanks is back as Robert Langdon,who is sort of a cross between Indy Jones and Sherlock Holmes as he's called in to solve yet another mystery dealing with the secrets of the Catholic church.

Ewan McGregor joins the party,sort of a Dr. Watson type while Langdon teams up with the daughter of a murdered physicist(he certainly seems to have a knack for hooking up with females related to the recently deceased there)to find the Illuminati before their intended revenge plans literally tear the world apart. Pretty exciting stuff,sounds like a great popcorn movie to me:

While Angels & Demons isn't causing as much controversy as DVC did(both book and movie),it does confirm my opinion that Dan Brown's Langdon titles are the latest entry in the holy mystery genre. Holy mysteries either have religious figures solving crimes or happen to have a mystical theme that ties into the big revelation towards the end of the story.

A prime example of this is The Name of the Rose,an Umberto Eco novel about a series of murders at a 14th century Italian abbey. A elder monk and his young apprentice are sent to investigate and uncover a bizarre yet literary motive for the deaths of the monks.

The book was adapted into a movie in 1986 with Sean Connery,Christian Slater(yeah,hard to picture him as a monk,isn't it?)and F. Murray Abraham. The film version of NOTR wasn't a big money maker at the box office,partly due to the fact that Eco's novel didn't hold the same sway over mainstream audiences that DVC has:

Holy mysteries tend to do better on the small screen than the big;one of the more popular PBS Mystery! series was the Brother Cadfael films,based on the Ellis Peters novels. Derek Jacobi starred as Cadfael,a 12th century Benedictine monk who solved local murders around his adopted home town of Shrewsbury in Shropshire,England.

Cadfael was not only a clever man,he was also very human. He became a monk late in life and one of his tools of detection was his vast life experience which could cut both ways at times:

No discussion on this topic would be complete without a tip of the hat to Father Dowling Mysteries show back in late eighties and early 1990s. The series began on NBC and then finished up on ABC,having only three seasons in total. Father Dowling Mysteries still has quite a few fans out there,but I couldn't get into it. Tom Bosley as a priest I can believe,but Tracy Nelson as a streetwise nun is a little hard to swallow there:

With a new Dan Brown book featuring Robert Langdon due out this fall(The Lost Symbol on September 15th)and the possible success of Angels & Demons at the boxoffice this weekend,it looks like the holy mystery genre is going to stay around for quite some time.

I know that there are a few folks out there who are less than thrilled with the mainstreaming of religion into the realm of fictional crime,but if you think about it,it's really a match made in heaven. After all,what greater mystery is there than wondering about life after death? Food for thought can be entertaining as well as educational.

Regardless of what faith you do or don't have,the question of what may be above us requires just as much intelligence and attention to detail as solving the building mysteries of the world around us:

1 comment:

Ladytink_534 said...

Looking forward to seeing Angels and Demons. I really liked The Da Vinci Code. Don't remember ever hearing of any of these but they don't really look like something I would really like either. :(