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Catholic Reviewers Poke Fun at 'Harmless' 'Angels & Demons'

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May 07, 2009 | 4:31am EDT

Catholic scholars in Rome have given Tom Hanks' new movie Angels & Demons a pass after sitting through a preview screening of the controversial film.

Reviewers at the Vatican’s newspaper have called the Da Vinci Code prequel inaccurate but "harmless."

L'Osservatore Romano ran a review and an editorial in Wednesday’s edition, critiquing the movie based on Dan Brown's bestseller.

Film experts expected the reviewers to slate the film for daring to suggest a secret, sinister brotherhood within the Catholic Church was responsible for protecting Jesus Christ's lineage, killing anyone who got too close to the truth or threatened the religious icon's descendants.

Instead, L'Osservatore Romano's critics have called Ron Howard's film a "gigantic and smart commercial operation," branding the film's reconstruction of locations like St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel "magnificent."

But the reviewers had to poke fun at the film's mistakes, suggesting moviegoers should try to spot the historical inaccuracies.

They write, "(The film is) more than two hours of harmless entertainment, which hardly affects the genius and mystery of Christianity... (It’s) a videogame that first of all sparks curiosity and is also, maybe, a bit of fun."

The film, which opens later this month, had its world premiere in Italy earlier this week.

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