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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.67%
Worth A Look46.43%
Average: 7.14%
Pretty Bad: 14.29%
Total Crap: 15.48%

7 reviews, 42 user ratings

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City of Angels
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by Chris Parry

"Props for not botching it up but did we really need to drag out the ending?"
4 stars

After he won over audiences worldwide with the slow-moving character study Paris Texas, Wim Wenders followed up with another well-received character study in the 1988 film, Wings Of Desire. In it, an angel named Damiel decided that he was sick of wandering the planet hearing the thoughts of others and pulling them out of their problems. Falling in love with a circus acrobat, he decides that maybe he should feel what it is like to be human, and thus makes it happen.

To remake such a poignant and beautiful film in Hollywood seems almost a case of heresy to true film fans. Anyone who saw what Hollywood did to the once highest grossing French film of all time, Les Visiteurs, would have nearly lost their lunch at the remake, the awful Just Visiting, so it stands to reason that a remake of Wings of Desire could only be a tragedy.

Thankfully, director Brad Silberling is a dab hand with all things romantic, and he puts together perhaps one of the finer Hollywood adaptations of foreign fare of our time. Sure, City of Angels is no Wings of Desire, but as a commercial romance that rises above the majority of such things, it is undoubtedly a fine achievement. Every scene in this film is slow and intriguing, heartfelt and artistic. Nicolas Cage, who usually comes across these days as the acting equivalent of cardboard, wood or stone, is given a fantastic character to work with and gives up perhaps his finest work to date in return as Seth, an angel in love. Meg Ryan likewise brings out what talent she has and leaves nothing behind as the object of his desire, a surgeon having a life crisis.

In the world portrayed in City of Angels, we’re all surrounded by dark-clad individuals who watch over our shoulder, guiding us when we need guidance and taking us away when it’s our time. They’re everywhere – buildings, billboards, the beach, the bathroom – and they hear our thoughts. Problem is, at least for Cage’s character Seth, they can’t feel what we feel. No love, no pain, no hunger, no satisfaction, no color, no taste. When Ryan’s character experiences a huge loss in her life, Seth begins to feel more than his dutiful concern for her and slowly he begins to appear to her more and more often in human form.

As a reviewer who seldom has a good word to say about either Cage or Ryan, I’ve got to admit that this is a good outing for both. It’s not nearly as amazing as the original upon which it was based, but Silberling has taken the source material as far as is commercially possible with a financial return in mind.

Hollywood doesn’t normally churn out product as classy and intelligent as this, and though the film probably goes about fifteen minutes longer than it should have (in my opinion it should have ended when Ryan’s candle blew out), there’s no denying it’s well worth a rental.

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originally posted: 10/29/02 10:04:00
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User Comments

8/18/07 R.W. Welch Flat revamp of Wings of Desire holds little fascination. 3 stars
8/15/06 Luisa Very touching film 4 stars
11/04/05 tatum Sweet romance; had trouble with the theology, though 4 stars
8/18/05 ES I kept waiting for some demons to show up and make this a good movie 2 stars
1/03/05 UMER meg ryan rules 5 stars
2/02/04 I Would Crap remake of Wim Wenders' masterpiece. 2 stars
9/23/03 Alan Saved from being crap by five minutes of Lake Tahoe scenery. Aw, hell; it is total crap. 1 stars
3/04/03 Jack Sommersby Good technical work at service of ho-hum, tear-jerker screenplay. 2 stars
7/20/02 ??? a great love story 5 stars
7/12/02 KMG QUESTION: Why does Hollywood keep casting Meg opposite hotties? She sux 3 stars
2/11/02 John Michael Hughes After seeing this, I want a divorce from Meg Ryan. 1 stars
2/01/02 Tshepang Alfred Dahnk The Most beautiful film ever. 5 stars
12/11/01 Monster W. Kung Vastly inferior to Wender's Wings of Desire. Watch that one, not crappy remakes. 2 stars
10/15/01 Andrew Carden I Cannot Handle These Tearjerkers!!! I'll Never Watch This Crap Again!!! 1 stars
9/04/01 Butterbean Nice start with a let down ending 3 stars
5/16/01 The Jedi Droid The thing I liked about this movie is that the ending is not predictable. good flick 4 stars
11/13/00 The EVIL Penguin good, but gets a little boring at times 3 stars
2/16/00 Kyle Broflovski *sniffle, blowing nose* Totally of the better chick-flicks...*bawling* 5 stars
12/15/99 Bridget total taerjerker..excellent movie!! 5 stars
12/06/99 PurityJustBegs The result of odious defacations could not be more horredous than this steaming pile....... 1 stars
11/10/99 stef i love this movie 5 stars
10/10/99 SJKelley The last hour of this movie gets worse and worse -- who could like this? 1 stars
4/11/99 Tristynn Meg and Nick.. what WERE you two thinking?? one of the worst I have ever seen.. 1 stars
2/24/99 mochacchino I LOVE THIS MOVIE the sound track is banging and I recomend this to everybody 5 stars
2/19/99 nun uf yur businness such a tear jurker and Meg Ryan is such a good actress!!!! 5 stars
1/15/99 DRMJSP AWESOME!! I cried! And I am a guy!! 5 stars
1/15/99 Dasha I'm a sucker for a good weepie... And this one was good. 5 stars
12/15/98 MR HOLLYWOOD!! Meg in her best role yet,Nicolas looks & acts incredibly well,slow pace but emotional. 4 stars
11/27/98 gicurok I loved this movie. Savor every moment for you may not get another. 5 stars
11/23/98 Daniel All I ended up with was the poor bastard at the end without his love..but love is worth it! 4 stars
11/19/98 Fire-n-Ice The best movie of all year,but the ending was to sad. 5 stars
11/05/98 tom could this film take any longer to get to a shitty end 2 stars
10/25/98 Lord Of The Dunce You hafta love Meg, no matter what she's in. Even French Kiss. 4 stars
9/28/98 Heather Great date movie. I wanna be Meg Ryan when I grow up. :) 4 stars
9/20/98 Ky I thought it was a beautiful film.....highly emotional and gives angels a new perspective 5 stars
9/20/98 ARMA-FUCKN-GEDDON Wow.. What else can I say.. Makes you believe, has heart. 5 stars
9/14/98 Chip Taylor NIC IS THE BOMB BABY 4 stars
9/12/98 kanatcha none 4 stars
9/11/98 canada dry has got to be the worst ending of any movie i've ever seen 1 stars
8/31/98 Mister Whoopee Angels watch you when you pee. 3 stars
8/29/98 Matt It killed 3 hours on a plane.. and my appetite as well 2 stars
8/15/98 {{{OZ}}} It's been done before, though they do it well here. 3 stars
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  10-Apr-1998 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Sep-2004



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