Faster-paced "Da Vinci Code" sequel premieres in Rome

Mon May 4, 2009 7:43pm EDT
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By Phil Stewart

ROME (Reuters) - The movie sequel to "The Da Vinci Code" is being greeted as a faster-paced, more gripping film than the original and is respectful to Catholics, director Ron Howard said at its Rome premiere on Monday.

"Angels & Demons," a film adaptation of the novel by Dan Brown, sees symbologist Robert Langdon return to the big screen to try to help the Vatican rescue kidnapped cardinals who are being killed on the hour.

He also must stop a ticking time bomb by tracking down clues linked to a centuries-old secret society called the Illuminati.

"Everyone is telling me that they find this movie to be more entertaining, more exciting, more engrossing," Howard told Reuters on the red carpet.

Brown told a news conference ahead of the premiere that his novel "Angels & Demons" was an easier fit to cinema "and this difference really shows through in this movie."

Howard's adaptation of "The Da Vinci Code" was a commercial success, earning $750 million, but it was panned by critics and offended some Catholics. Trade publication Variety called it "stodgy" and "grim."

Tom Hanks told Reuters the pace of the new movie was "bang, bang. There's no time for anything."

"It really gallops at quite a pace," he said.   Continued...

<p>Director Ron Howard (L) and actor Tom Hanks (C) joke with author Dan Brown at the world premiere of the movie "Angels &amp; Demons" in Rome May 4, 2009. REUTERS/Tony Gentile</p>