Page last updated at 09:57 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 10:57 UK

Demons 'harmless', says Vatican

Tom Hanks in Angels and Demons
Two-time Oscar-winner Hanks takes the lead role in Angels and Demon

Da Vinci Code sequel Angels and Demons is "harmless entertainment," according to the Vatican's official newspaper.

In a piece in Wednesday's edition, it called Ron Howard's film "a videogame that first of all sparks curiosity and is also, maybe, a bit of fun."

The Vatican made no comment about The Da Vinci Code when it came out in 2006.

Following Angels' premiere in Rome on Monday, however, L'Osservatore Romano broke its silence to concede the film was "gripping" with "splendid" visuals.

In essence, the paper said, the movie was "a gigantic and smart commercial operation" filled with historical inaccuracies and "stereotyped characters".

It suggested the church should consider rethinking the way it presents itself in the media, rather than regarding the success of the works of author Dan Brown as a threat.


"It would probably be an exaggeration to consider the books an alarm bell," the newspaper opined.

"But maybe they should be a stimulus to rethink and refresh the way the Church uses the media to explain its positions on today's burning issues."

Earlier this week, Howard claimed the Vatican had used its influence to prevent him from filming near certain churches in Rome.

A Vatican spokesman dismissed the allegation, however, saying the statement was designed purely to drum up publicity for the film.

Many Catholics were unhappy with The Da Vinci Code, which suggested Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children.

In Angels and Demons, however, Harvard academic Robert Langdon - played by Tom Hanks in both films - comes to the aid of the church when it is threatened by an ancient cult.

"The theme is always the same: a sect versus the church," said L'Osservatore on Wednesday.

"This time, the church is on the side of the good guys."

Angels and Demons will be released in the UK on 14 May.

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