In Ron Howard's thrilling follow-up to The Da Vinci Code, expert symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) follows ancient clues on a heart-racing hunt through Rome to find the four Cardinals kidnapped by the deadly secret so... more »ciety, the Illuminati. With the Cardinals' lives on the line, and the Camerlengo (Ewan McGregor) desperate for help, Langdon embarks on a nonstop, action-packed race through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, and the most secretive vault on Earth!« less
A fast-paced, plot-driven thriller which was enjoyable to both read & watch the movie. I thought Angels & Demons was more suspenseful than the Da Vinci Code which is the 2nd in this series. It's a mix of mystery, murders, conspiracies within the Catholic Church, art history, religious symbology & secret societies. Also there are questions of compatibility of religion and science.
It's rare that I like a movie as much as the book, but this movie I felt was as good as, or maybe better than the book.
2 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Janet P. from STERLING HTS, MI Reviewed on 2/9/2014...
Just watched this movie last nite . We enjoyed it very much , action packed right up to the end !!
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sharon L. (silverjane) from SOUTH PARK, PA Reviewed on 12/30/2010...
Great movie and this was a fast delivery and in great shape. You can not go wrong with this Tom Hanks movie
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Lewis P. (Turfseer) from NEW YORK, NY Reviewed on 9/16/2010...
I've never been a big fan of the material Ron Howard chooses for his movies. The 'Da Vinci Code' and 'Angels and Demons' are no exception. But by the same token I will concede that Mr. Howard has come along way as a director. Most of his films are technically brilliant and he has evolved in his abilities to direct his actors.
After consulting Wikipedia's article on this film, I learned that there is actually an organization, CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) and there is a contraption, the 'Large Hadron Collider'. I also found out that the organization spent a good deal of time reassuring the local population that what they were doing was safe. Therefore, the whole idea that they could create anti-matter in three small cylinders, which could be capable of creating a low-grade nuclear-like explosion and then some psycho could somehow get through security at the facility and steal this anti-matter, was laughable.
If you're a Vatican History buff, you'll find 'Angels and Demons' just up your alley. The story begins with the death of the pope and a papal enclave is convened to choose the pope's successor. You'll find out who the 'preferiti' are—the four most likely candidates to be elected pope; they're kidnapped and immediately the Vatican police assume that the the Vatican's nemesis, the Illuminati, a secret society persecuted by the Catholic Church dating back to the time of Galileo, is behind the nefarious deed. In a nutshell, The Illuminati were the 'free-thinkers' who were suppressed by the Church during the Enlightenment, due to their advocacy of science. Later they supposedly turned violent and held a grudge against the Church for years.
Tom Hanks plays Robert Langdon, the Harvard symbologist who is summoned by the Vatican police to save the four cardinals. Also called in is Vittoria Vetra, the scientist at CERN who's in charge of replacing the cylinder's batteries since once they run out, the explosion will occur (where was the Energizer bunny when you needed him most?) Langdon demands access to the Vatican Secret Archives where he discovers clues in a banned book by Galileo. The clues lead to four points of the compass in Vatican City, representing the four elements—fire, earth, air and water. Langdon deduces that the four cardinals will be murdered at four altars at these four different locations.
Langdon races around Vatican City along with the Vatican Police trying to save the four cardinals. The first three cardinals are dispatched in the manner associated with each particular element: Earth: Cardinal #1--suffocated by dirt; Air: Cardinal #2--lungs are punctured; and Fire: Cardinal #3—burned to death. Langdon manages to save Cardinal #4 who is dropped into a WATER fountain in a weighted gurney. The fourth Cardinal clues Langdon into the Assassin's lair—where the four cardinals had been held earlier. The police find the killer's van at a Mausoleum but conclude it's a dead end. Langdon and Vetra find a secret passageway and end up confronting the assassin who holds a gun on them. He reveals he's been hired by the Catholic church but has no orders to kill them so he lets them go (not at all credible). Langdon finds the last clue in the form of crossed keys, the Papal symbol. He concludes that the final victim will be Camerlengo McKenna (a priest who is chief administrator at the Vatican). The crafty assassin who outwits everybody, is unconvincingly outwitted himself by stepping inside a car and getting blown up by a car bomb (who worked that out, I have no idea!).
Now here's how all this nonsense is saved by the twist ending (SPOILER ALERT!). We're led to believe that the Camerlengo is the good guy. He tries to convince Cardinal Strauss, the head honcho at the conclave to evacuate the Vatican, since the anti-matter is about to explode. The Cardinal, and the other stuffed shirts want to follow their protocol in choosing the pope, so they decide to rely on the Vatican police (along with Langdon) to save the day by finding the anti-matter. Also when Langdon finds the Camerlengo with the chief of the Vatican police, it appears the Illuminati have already branded him (just as they did with the four other cardinals) and the Camerlengo blurts out that the Police chief is in league with the Illuminati (so he gets killed). Finally, when the anti-matter cylinder batteries are about to run out, the Camerlengo (who believe it or not, has training as a helicopter pilot) takes the cylinder up into the clouds in a helicopter, where the anti-matter explodes but kills no one. The Camerlengo parachutes to safety and is hailed as a hero—in fact, the conclave (using an arcane rule) wants to vote him in as the new Pope.
The twist is when Langdon, using a key the Vatican Police Chief gave him just before he dies, unlocks surveillance video stored on the hard drive of the Chief's private computer, revealing that it was the Camerlengo who was the bad guy all along. Not only did he kill the three cardinals but also his adoptive father, the Pope himself. It seems that the Camerlengo was mad at the Pope due to his liberal stance toward science. After Langdon reveals the plot to the Papal enclave, the Camerlengo commits suicide by setting himself on fire.
Ron Howard did well in concluding that the Da Vinci sequel needed to move at a faster pace. And kudos to the production team who recreated Vatican City without having any access to shooting there. Despite the positives, I did sit through most of 'Angels and Demons' with a smirk on my face. After all, the entire premise is based on completely implausible events. But I have to admit, the twist ending at the end is so clever, that I didn't see it coming at all! And yes, I'm willing to say, despite all the hokeyness, to a certain extent, it won me over.
Don't buy Two-Disc Extended Edition
A. M. Earman | Santa Clara, CA United States | 12/08/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Other reviewers have adequately commented on the motion picture itself. This review pertains to the so-called Two-Disc Extended Edition. While most two-disc editions provide the viewer with hours of additional features on the making the motion picture and the cast and crew, this edition provides the viewer with only three ten-minute featurettes, that easily could have been included on the feature disc, and about 20 "previews" for other motion pictures. At typically a 50% premium in price over the single-disc version, the three featurettes are not worth the price. Buy the single-disc version instead and enjoy the movie."
Buy the DVD, you won't regret it!!!
jaesah sixx | Midwest, USA | 10/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I rememeber when I first saw The DaVinchi Code in the theatre. I thought the movie was good but it didn't do the book justice. I thought the book was far better. Then Angels and Demons came out in theatres and was leary about going to seeing it because of the first movie. But I did go to see Angels and Demons and I loved it. The movie had my full and complete attention for the entire two and a half hours. In fact, I loved the movie so much, I walked with a smile on my face and bought another ticket and walked right back and in and saw it again!
This movie has it all. It follows the book but strays when necessary, but not to the point of where it ruins the movie. It is chalk full of action and suspence, a total on the edge of your seat movie. The choice of music complements the movie beautifully. I could go on and on.. but one of the things that really made me catch my breath was the portrayal of the passion and history of catholicism. The cardinals in conclave, climbing the stairs to enter the Sistine Chapel in the Apostolic Palace, St Peter's tomb, exc.
I highly recommend this movie. No movie since had captivated me in a way such as this one. Enjoy!"
Brown knows symbols, Sony knows Blu, Hanks knows Langdon [re
A. Dent | Minas Anor, GD | 11/24/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very briefly, I would like to begin by addressing some of the criticism concerning this movie.
Some are unhappy because the movie does not closely follow the book. This happens to be true but how many book-based movies do? For the sake of movie-making, Dan Brown's book was not followed to the letter or even closely. However, it may be worth knowing that Dan Brown was the movie's executive producer and he absolutely approved all the major plot changes. If fact, he confesses to actually suggesting some of the major changes. Perhaps those who read the book should treat the movie as work 'related' to the book but not THE book illustrated. It's still Dan Brown's work but this is cinematography that was inspired by his book, to be appreciated and enjoyed as a movie.
I heard statements that the book was somehow anti-Christian or anti-Catholic. I disagree. I will not reveal the plot by providing substantial details but the movie concludes in a way that suggests respect for religious faith and the Catholic church, in fact, comes out looking pretty good.
Angels & Demons besides being a feast to the eyes, it succeeds in arousing the viewer's curiosity in more than one area: contemporary physics, Rome's landmarks, the Vatican. And those who watched the movie and may find themselves in Rome and at the Vatican are more likely than not to actually look for some of the landmarks featured in Angels & Demons. In fairness, Angels & Demons does not come close to The DaVinci Code's Earth-shattering scope, depth of research and sophistication but it's still unmistakenly Dan Brown and those who enjoyed the Code will probably love A&D. Those who hated the Code are likely to hate A&D more. To me, Dan Brown's works are not art and they aren't science but they are great, well researched entertainment that often challenge the reader's/viewer's preconceived opinions and stimulate further research and investigation - and this is a good thing.
When it comes to acting Tom Hanks does not disappoint as Robert Langdon but Ewan McGregor lacks the gravitas we would expect from an acting Pope. All others are up to the job but I didn't see any Oscar-quality performances and didn't expect to.
The special effects - when it comes to the recreation of St. Peter Square and parts of the Vatican - are nothing short of amazing. Like I said, the movie is a feast to the eyes and, for all intents and purposes, what you see is always Rome and the Vatican, even when the cameras were filming some California parking lot.
PACKAGING AND PRESENTATION
Sony is totally throwing the kitchen sink at us with this Blu edition. As the Blu standard bearer and main promoter, they want to show us what Blu can do to make our lives a little more interesting. Everything that you can think of when you think Blu-ray and more 'is in there'.
Everything is good quality, starting with the Blu case which is not the cheap, perforated, almost falling apart kind that some of the lesser editions are using these days.
The decision to include both the theatrical version AND the extended cut on the same disc is responsible for this being a 3-disc set with a second disk carrying the special features and a third dedicated to the digital copies.
Technically speaking, the picture is, of course, a sharp 1080p and the two available sound tracks are both DTS-HD Master Audio in English and French. Surprisingly, the bonus features are shot in high-def as well with 2.0 stereo for the soundtrack.
SPECIAL FEATURES - BLU-RAY
Besides BD-Live, a number of interesting Blu-specific features are available with this release.
The Path of Illumination emulates a trail through Rome, following Robert Langdon's through 5 Roman landmarks. It has high visuals, interviews, footage from each location, even a dictionary where dozens of terms are explained. Anyone passing through Rome could walk the path with the Path of Illumination feature serving as a travel guide.
CineChat is another Sony attempt to promote more interactivity. It allows those watching the movie to organize themselves into a viewing party and actually have their chats displayed on-screen as the movie is playing.
The movieIQ option is a BD-Live powered option. It logs into and checks some online database and provides up-to-date information about the movie and specific chapters while watching the movie. Pretty cool actually and not over-distracting, especially considering that this is not information 'burned' into the disc and it is updated, at least in theory if not in practice.
The digital copy, if this can go under Blu-ray specific features, is available for the PC, PSP (via PS3), Mac and iPod. Expires on 2/12/2010.
THE OTHER EXTRAS
Not as interactive as the BD-specific ones, they are also shot in hi-def for the Blu version, there are lots of shorts about the 'making of', actors, special effects, as expected. The featurette titled 'Writing Angels & Demons' should be of special interest because it's there where Dan Brown confesses to his specific agreement and cooperation on altering the story. Another interesting extra is on the CERN. Finally, we actually get to see and hear the real-life John Langdon, the person who served as the inspiration for the Robert Langdon character - he specializes in 'ambiagrams', of course.
I found this movie to be entertaining and to carry sufficient 'substance' to merit watching maybe more than once. The quality of the Blu rendition is nothing short of exquisite and the extras, both Blu-specific and the regular ones are worth watching and interacting with.
Angels & Demons is a keeper and, as a work of entertainment, it's a 5-star in my book."
Stupid, convoluted plot
D. J. Nardi | Washington, DC | 11/30/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I was shocked by the incredibly stupid and convoluted plot of Angels & Demons - even worse than the The Da Vinci Code. While I understand Dan Brown's stories are works of fiction, this just goes too far into the realm of unbelievability. It seems ass if one man was able to launch an entire conspiracy against the papal leadership, kill dozens of cops, and kidnap four cardinals with minimal help. Professor Robert Langdon, the protagonist, is able to draw connections between vague clues and never seems to get shot (even when the bad guy sees him, he refuses to shoot Langdon). Meanwhile, the whole bomb plot revolves around an antimatter device developed by Vatican scientists - technology far out of the reach of modern science, much less a few Vatican scientists. Even at the end, I couldn't figure out what was going on. There were so many loose ends that I was convinced the movie was made by a bunch of amateurs rather than a highly paid Hollywood scriptwriting team.
As with The Da Vinci Code, the acting in Angels & Demons was pretty decent, particularly the supporting cast. Ewan McGregor stole quite a bit of the movie as a senior papal official. However, Tom Hanks as Professor Langdon was pretty forgettable as he was almost like a robot - always right, always the smartest guy in the room. Dr. Vitra was also almost a non-entity in the film rather than a co-star.
I would warn anybody who is somewhat sensitive that Angels & Demons seems to delight in portraying gruesome deaths. In addition to your garden variety shootings, the film contains rats eating a dead man and several other set ablaze."