I was watching the new Dan Brown/Ron Howard/Tom Hanks thriller Angels & Demons here in Los Angeles at the posh Grove mall off of Fairfax avenue. The audience settled in for a cozy yet loud end of the weekend showing. Hanks is furiously running around Rome with his subtly sultry Israeli co-star as the clock ticks and the tension mounts. Small cars are squealing around piazzas and darting through serpentine streets in a bid to stop a heretical Illuminati from completing its centuries old battle with the church to out the clergy as anti-science anti-logic. Just as I and a few hundred fellow moviegoers were being drawn in to the plot, the theater began to tremble slightly then rather violently. The screen shook and couples grasped for one another. We had just experienced at 4.7 magnitude earthquake on an unstable Pacific Rim. Random people began to look at the person next to them for some quick, rational reassurance. No one was injured but people were questioning their fundamental security. Ironic, wasn't it? A thriller pitting an unyielding, dogmatic religious institution, the Vatican, against a vengeful, unseen hand with an agnostic academic thrown in the middle to halt a neo-Roman armageddon all for our amusement. In the middle of this quintessentially Hollywood carnival ride where rote religion is in a memetic competition with the reasoning of Galileo, pesky science struck us where we sat with a tectonic reminder of the evolution, age and fragility of the earth on which we reside. I enjoyed the film for what is was and left the theater shaken but not stirred.
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