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Review: 'Angels and Demons'

This sequel to "The Da Vinci Code" keeps the dour tone as Tom Hanks steps in to thwart a plot against the Vatican from a secret society bent on revenge.

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Here we go again. The last time a literary escapade by Dan Brown made it to the screen, the result was a big bore and big box office hit. "The Da Vinci Code" was exactly the kind of book that, in a saner world, would not have been adapted for the screen in the first place, and not because of its supposed heresies, either. Virtually all of its clues were based on verbal or visual diagrams, most of them abstruse – not exactly the stuff of cinema. It was a bit like trying to make an action-packed summer movie with the board game Scrabble at its center.

But, I repeat, the film made money, some $217.5 million, and so now we have what by all rights should be a prequel but instead is a kind of sequel to "The Da Vinci Code." The novel "Angels and Demons" preceded "The Da Vinci Code" and was the first to feature Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks). In the new movie, he's entangled once again with the Roman Catholic Church hierarachy who, despite some residual ill will from their last go-round, seek his help in thwarting a plot against the Vatican engineered by the Illuminati, a secret society going back to the Enlightenment that has kidnapped four prominent cardinals and plans to blow up the Vatican – all in retribution for violent attacks against its members going back hundreds of years. (Galileo, according to Brown, was an Illuminati.)

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