| ||ANGELS AND DEMONS - THE MOVIE ***** |
I read the book back when it came out and was so amazed by it I soon found myself walking around Vatican city, completely familiar with so much of it thanks to Dan Brown's vivid depiction about the history and mystique of the original Christian church. Last June we went back, so I've visited it twice, and it's fascinating.
Dan Brown's book was far less gentle to the Vatican than Ron Howard's version in the movie. Dan Brown depicts the church as a dark, foreboding and dangerous place that almost deserves the impending destruction from ancient archnemesis the Illuminati. And in a way he's right, the church has had an embarassing history of using even deadly force to quelch the voice of progress. But there is one single line that Ron Howard spotlighted that was beautiful and kind.
The carmelango said something to the effect that, "I wish the outside world would see this church as I see it... as simply a gathering of people who want to have faith and make sense of the world..." something like that. And all of a sudden, the silly costumes of the swiss guard and the cardinals all seemed less ridiculous. These customs and rituals are the result of people closing their eyes, opening their hearts and welcoming the belief... of something.
He also keyed in on another concept, that science is too young to understand its ramifications. Einstein knew that matter could be converted to boundless energy, and he also knew that it could result in a deadly weapon that could forever change the world. Is science too young to understand how to harness its power responsibly? Does the wisdom of church elders really explain the breadth and mystery of a bolt of lightning, when science can only describe how it works?
The key to Dan Brown's message in his book was that the church stands in the way of progress and science, but Ron Howard bridges faith and science in a brilliant manner. Tom Hank's character described himself as an academic, and therefore he explained that his mind was telling him that his heart told him that he wasn't given the gift of faith. On that answer, the carmelango gave Tom Hanks the keys to the Vatican vault.
Faith is a bridge what is known and what is unknown. It is man trying to make sense out of the puzzling mystery of the unanswerable: (death, catastrophe, birth of a child, etc.)
Faith gives hope to the unknown. Science discovers the unknown, and removes it from the realm of faith. Faith then needs to redirect hope towards the not-yet-known, rather than stubbornly cling to its prior declarations. That definitively should be the relationship between science (knowledge) and faith, and I believe this was Dan Brown's message. Ron Howard just said it in a much nicer way.
Angels and Demons is a fantastic movie. Our friend Lauren Farley is a professional tour guide at the Vatican, which is how we met her. Her boyfriend is one of the italian guards (not swiss - those wear the clown outfits). I can't wait to hear what she has to say about the movie.
Rome is beautiful and mysterious, and Ron Howard did a great job of bringing it to the big screen. I think that despite the Vatican's protestations of the film and limiting access to filming sites, "Angels and Demons" actually was very favorable to the Catholic church. When the new pope got annointed, I actually felt very warm and emotional about it. How can one not be moved by the love of a billion people to a person they see as their spiritual guide?
| ||Posted 5/16/2009 10:20 PM - 1851 Views - 16 eProps - 11 comments|
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