Today saw the world premiere of Angels and Demons, based on Dan Brown’s novel of the same name. As with Brown’s previous novel (and film) The Da Vinci Code, much of the film’s action is said to centre on the Roman Catholic religion. Although, Angels and Demons avoids some of the previously controversial material such as the ‘marriage’ of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, it has been billed as a ‘science vs religion’ thriller, staged against a backdrop of Rome’s churches and cathedrals.
As The Da Vinci Code provoked a great deal of criticism – not least from the Catholic church – it is perhaps only natural that Brown’s latest cinematic offering should also attract controversy. Against a backdrop of various religious groups debating how best to respond to Brown’s film, the waters have been further muddied by Ron Howard, its director. In a BBC article, he claims that the ‘Vatican exerted its influence “through back channels” to prevent filming near certain churches’. However, it should be noted that the Vatican denies this claim, suggesting instead that Howard’s remarks are designed simply to promote the film.
Whatever, ones’ feelings are on Dan Brown’s books and films, it would seem that at the very least they offer an opportunity to discuss and debate religion among a very large audience.
Myth, Theory and Area Studies
By Daniela Merolla and Mineke Schipper
(Vol. 4, January 2009)
By Mark Knight
From The Blackwell Companion to the Bible in English Literature