Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Angels and Demons

The film adaptation of Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, one of the worst books I've ever had the misfortune of reading, is currently the top-grossing motion picture in the world. (Again staring Tom Hanks, an Orthodox Christian, who should be thoroughly ashamed of himself.) Just how awful is the book? Here's a sample of Brown's prose:
Vittoria Vetra stumbled forward, almost falling into the retina scan. She sensed the American rushing to help her, holding her, supporting her weight. On the floor at her feet, her father's eyeball stared up. She felt the air crushed from her lungs. They cut out his eye! Her world twisted. Kohler pressed close behind, speaking. Langdon guided her. As if in a dream, she found herself gazing into the retina scan. The mechanism beeped.
What's long bothered me most about Dan Brown are not his ideas about religious conspiracies – those are just patently stupid and wholly plagiaristic – but just how bad a writer he is. Not only is his prose consistently wretched and utterly unreadable, his plots are strictly formulaic. Consider this plot line: a famed scholar is found brutally murdered with a mysterious code left on his body; Robert Langdon is called in, who soon teams up with a beautiful European love interest; a chase through a major museum guided by codes hidden in the work of an Italian artist ensues; a secret society appears on the scene as religion and science go head-t0-head; and, finally, Langdon saves the day and wins the girl. Sound like the plot to The Duh Vinci Code? Wrong. That's the plot outline of Angels and Demons, only in the latter case the secret society is the Illuminati, the European city is Rome, the museum is in the Vatican, and the Italian artist is Bernini. Dan Browns next opus, The Lost Symbol (to be released on September 15 – order your copy today!), will involve more of the same, this time reportedly featuring Freemasons and Mormons on the lose in Washington, DC.

For a bit more sanity on Angels and Demons see here and here.

Incidentally, I note with abject horror that a film version of the very worst supposedly serious novel I've ever read is being threatened.


Mark said...

If you need a "vaccination" or perhaps cure for "the very worst supposedly serious novel", I'd suggest reading the excellent and I might add very very fun parody by Matt Ruff, Sewer, Gas, and Electric

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

You know what is really telling is how ignorant the public is which is eating up this seemingly never-ending Dan Brown fecal-fest.

People with graduate degress are falling for this garbage, which leads me to two conclusions: 1.) modern education is completely inadequate in actually educating people, and 2.) people don't care for the real facts when you bring them up, as they prefer the sexier version of history which jibes with their contemporary prejudices, so they needn't be challenged, needn't learn, and needn't be confronted by reality.

The happy bubble world of the idiots reigns!

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

Oh, and it brings to mind this:

Abba Anthony said that the time is coming when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will rise up against him, saying that you are mad, because you are not like them.Apophthegmata Patrum. Anthony, saying 25. (My translation.)

margi said...

Weren't mysterious codes, adventures in museums and a very beautiful German love interest already spoofed in Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail? Poor Dan Brown. Really.

Nathan said...

Lord save us from an Atlas Shrugged film.

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