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NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: Tom Hanks returns as Professor Robert Langdon in Ron Howard’s adaptation of another Dan Brown symbolic mystery-suspense-fest. This time though, billionaire whackjob Ben Foster decides to unleash a new type of Black Plague to help solve the overpopulation problem and uses the prof as one of his tools to do so. Trouble is, Tom’s got temporary amnesia and has no idea what’s going on nor whom to trust (including, apparently, his agent). New STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE star Felicity Jones gets second billing as Dr. Sienna Brooks, a hottie young doc who tries to help him.
Written by David Koepp, based on the book (duh) by Dan Brown. Directed by Ron “Don’t Call Me Richie Or Opie Or Clint” Howard.
- Mercifully, this doesn’t seem to reference either of the previous two films, which is great because I don’t remember much other than a bunch of old buildings and paintings. (This has more of the same but they’re different old buildings and paintings.) Even one of Langdon’s old loves who shows up wasn’t in the previous flicks.
- The locations, like the other films, are amazing and gorgeously shot. Langdon and his Star Wars doc head all over Europe, from Italy to Turkey and places in-between, visiting some of the greatest museums and historical sites on the planet. If you dig art and architecture and stuff like that (like that idiot Pascale does), you’ll really like the classic stuff they show (and a ticket costs a lot less than plane fare).
- Felicity Jones does a good job and helps prep Star Wars geeks for next month’s new flick. Everyone wishing for another skinny-but-strong white British chick space hero should be pleased. And her caboose ain’t too bad, either, though she could use a few pounds in certain places.
- Irrfan Khan (last seen in JURASSIC WORLD) has a great part and does a good job of making you wonder if he’s bad, good or indifferent and what his connection to everything is. Plus he kicks some rare butt and takes out a few peeps!
- Some pretty intense and cool images of hell on earth, via Botticelli and bio-terrorism.
- Great effects and very haunting.
- The clues and deciphering seem easier to understand and follow this time around. It’s fun to watch them get pieced together. And some of it is truly educational, especially about Dante (assuming it’s true—I flunked history because I was out buying beer).
- Genuine suspense and edge-o’-yer-seat stuff during some of the chases and crisis scenes.
- Like before, there are some major twists and turns. If you like movies to make you think, you’ll enjoy trying to put together the sequence of events after a bunch of stuff is revealed. Good luck!
- Some of the plot seems over-complicated or hard-to-follow in spots. Or maybe I just was too sleepy from the beer and popcorn to pay proper attention. Some of the twists may come off as contrived or hard to swallow.
- The logic of the “rational guy” who designs the plague ignores some pretty basic facts (how do you know WHO will be affected, how much of the population, and that YOU won’t be? There’s no antidote mentioned).
- Tom needs to work out more. He’s looking his age and the paunch doesn’t help. I don’t buy he’d be running as much, as fast or as far as shown; I think Felicity Jones would be lapping him within a block.
- A few minor Suspension Of Disbelief Dept. moments: in the beginning after the hospital (recovery seems pretty fast, but it’s kind of explained later) and there are at least two big boo-boos where someone gets beat up without bruises. (Watch the dude who gets smacked in the face with a fire extinguisher—next scene, his mug is perfect!) And a couple times you’ll be saying, “Wait, how the hell did that do THAT?” without explanation.
- As usual, some of the bad guys are terrible shots. And traffic magically subsides at all the right times.
- The hellish nightmares Langdon has are overused after awhile, and some of the imagery may be disturbing to little kids and some sensitive viewers.
- During an intense sequence involving a containment box, there’s no explanation of how it works so it’s not as suspenseful as it could have been. (Imagine a wild car chase with the driver and passenger fretting about the cam lift or bad spark timing.)
- Could have used some editing; seems to go on a bit too long.
- How do I become an expert on hidden messages on beer labels?
In a giant DFX theater, we had the whole row to ourselves; not a good sign on an opening weekend. But I liked the previous two installments and this one holds up fine. From what little I remember, it’s better than the last one. Easier to follow overall and the scenery and stuff is nice to watch. And who doesn’t like learning about the different layers of hell? (I always thought drivers who don’t use their turn signal had their own layer. Too bad they don’t. But I was happy that my face wasn’t shown in any of them.) Enjoy the puzzles.
P.S.: Take your small mind off the election between Mr. Crappy and Mrs. Lousy by getting some cool ART! Original drawings and stuff by Pascale that will take you out of your own personal hell, at least for a while. Just ask Craig here!