Angels & Demons

It is interesting to note the differences in audience turnout for a film from it's domestic and international releases. The Da Vinci Code sequel, which reunites the core creative team while adding a host of new faces, has done remarkably different business abroad than in the States. To date, the film has earned a moderate domestic box office total of $124M, but has done outstanding business internationally with an impressive $316M total.

I will be the first to admit that I appreciated The Da Vinci Code for what it is, an entertaining if not wholly engaging thesis that postulates a simple question: "What if Jesus had a family?" All controversy aside, the film does a good job of advancing this question to the finale. By it's nature however, the film is long on exposition for the simple fact that it has to assume one knows nothing about Christian mythology. Considering all the places this could have gone wrong, I think the film danced around issues while maintaining focused on the goal rather skillfully. This is probably the reason Angels & Demons has probably fared so well overseas. Introduced to the lore & traditions of Christianity as a "setting" for fiction, those without a background in Christianity have embraced the sequel as the further adventures of Tom Hanks' Robert Langdon, even though "Angels & Demons" the novel is a prequel to "The Da Vinci Code." It's no wonder, however, that the place these films have fared the worst is in countries like the U.S. where the number of Christian faithful makes up a large percentage of the population.

Whether one wants to believe in Dan Brown's conclusions, the entertainment value he at least infuses into the stories, and especially in their film adaptations by Ron Howard should at least warrant a "curiosity viewing." It is therefore rather odd, in my opinion, that the "faithful" are so resistant to watching films that only speculate history, postulates an alternative truth, and spins a good yarn in between when they themselves put so much stock on "the greatest story ever told."

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