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Good Suspense and Gorgeous Rome

  • Nov 24, 2009
  • by
Angels and Demons has the formula for success. Tom Hanks at the peak of his career, Ewan McGregor (Obie Wan from Star Wars), a gorgeous brunette leading lady, a spectacular city, Ron Howard directing, and a good simple suspense story that doesn't telegraph the ending too soon; equals a movie worth watching.

The film is based on another Dan Brown book that does have the feel of The DaVinci Code. However, the DaVinci Code's story line was convoluted and actually lost me more times than not; Angels and Demons is a good solid straightforward story, sometimes simple can be better. It isn't too kind to reveal the plot of suspense films, discovering the mystery along the way is a major portion of this film. Broadly the film is about the Illuminati that stole a vial of anti-matter from the Hadron / CERN particle collider. The group threatens to blow up St. Peters.

This is a gorgeous film. The scenes in Rome are incredible. Every detail feels perfect, the streets, the monuments, the driving, the people; I could almost smell the espresso and taste the gelato. My wife was lucky enough to spend two weeks in Rome, and commented about the perfection of the scenery - especially the Sistine Chapel (she spent an evening there with only 20 other people). The action scenes are well edited, Ron Howard builds tension, brings the scene to a climax and knows exactly when to move on - pacing is outstanding. The cast is beautiful. Tom Hanks was a big surprise in the swimming pool, and has aged very gracefully. Ewan McGregor has a beautiful British accent that is so pleasant. Ayelet Zurer as the CERN scientist is a gorgeous, intelligent, and strong woman. There is a wonderful chemistry between these characters.

The single disc DVD includes the theatrical release of the film, at 2 hours and 18 minutes run time. The film is about the right length. The disc includes a remarkable 17 minute bonus feature titled 'Rome Was Not Built In A Day.' I highly recommend this feature; it is one of the best behind the scenes footage I've seen in a very long time. There is also a 10 minute piece, 'Writing Angels & Demons' (kind of a yawner), 17 minute 'Characters in Search of the True Story,' and 14 minute 'CERN: Pushing the Frontiers of Human Knowledge,' (a somewhat fluffy science piece). These other bonus features pale in comparison to the 'Rome' feature.

The film is rated PG-13. The thirteen year old said the film was a bit too graphic in a few places. I'll admit there were some pretty gruesome scenes - an eyeball removed to work an iris scanner, people having their chests branded, and crypts full of human skulls. In fact to him, those gory elements lowered his rating of the film. Aside from the violence, there is no strong language, or nudity.

For some, I'm guessing this film is too simple and may play badly compared to the books. That's a common complaint with Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and others. I sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the story. The film took me to a city I absolutely love. The characters were believable. The mystery was decent. My only complaint, there were moments where the film jumped the shark. I found myself several times thinking, why didn't he get shot there, why did that person wave, how could that be possible, etc? In the end, those loose ends get tied up nicely, they are on purpose. In some regard the film does tie the story up with a pretty bow.

Simply go along for a wild, beautiful ride, through an amazing city, with some handsome people.

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More Angels & Demons (movie) reviews
review by . January 09, 2010
For those who hadn't read the book, this movie would be hard to understand.  In the book a lot is explained and the book flows at a good pace.  The movie crams a lot of information at you and you have Dr. Langdon off chasing clues to kidnapped Cardinals and it is difficult to follow what is going on.  The Da Vinci Code, which was an inferior book, played much better on the big screen.  There the audience was given sufficient explanation for everything and the pace was such the …
Quick Tip by . August 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
way better than the di vinchi code still not as good as the book though
Quick Tip by . August 15, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
As a student ofthe humanites, I loved the movie. I have to say that I love learning about symbology in works of art and its importance to people and groups throughout history. Dan Brown has really revived the study of iconography in all his books. Anyone wanting to explore the subject more should read: Irwin Panofsky's "Studies in Iconagraphy."
Quick Tip by . August 15, 2010
As a student ofthe humanites, I loved the movie. I have to say that I love learning about symbology in works of art and its importance to people and groups throughout history. Dan Brown has really revived the study of iconography in all his books. Anyone wanting to explore the subject more should read: Irwin Panofsky's "Studies in Iconagraphy."
review by . May 22, 2009
Angels and Demons, Tom Hanks
As far as movies about revenge and retribution go, Angels and Demons is actually pretty clever. A story about the Illuminati seeking revenge against the Church could be a Michael Bay movie, should he ever attempt a academic-intellectual film. The result would just about be the same. With highly unstable anti-matter as our big bang device, this one could have had Bay's name written all over it.    I can hear the trailer now..."BAY. (wind sound effect) BROWN. (wind sound effect). …
review by . May 30, 2009
Is the world finally over the controversy that was brought up over "The Da Vinci Code" yet? I swear, for such a lousy movie it caused a lot more protests then I would have expected. Maybe those protests helped and maybe they didn't, but "The Da Vinci Code" went on to become one of the years highest grossing films two years back, and now Tom Hanks and Ron Howard are back for another go. This time they are tackling "Angels & Demons," which in book form was the prequel to ‘Da Vinci' but in movie …
review by . November 30, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
Quick Tip by . January 13, 2010
Great twist at the end!
review by . January 07, 2010
Following up on the box office success of The Da Vinci Code, Ron Howard's adaptation of Dan Brown's book is a great movie in a year of great movies. With Tom Hanks returning as Professor Langdon, the movie also features the beautiful Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer in probably her biggest role so far. This time around, our scientist hero, Dr. Langon, is running around Rome trying to find four kidnapped cardinals and a bomb before midnight. Not quite like the TV show "24", but close in its fast paced …
review by . December 31, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Here we have the sequel to the rather mediocre film The da Vinci Code. The source material for that film was pretty weak. Angels and Demons, thankfully, has stronger source material and is, also thankfully, a far better film.    The movie tells the story of a group of terrorists who get their hands on some anti-matter and hide it somewhere in the Vatican, promising to blow the place sky-high. They haven't any demands or anything like that. They just plan to blow it up as revenge …
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About this movie


Angels & Demons is a 2009 American film adaptation of Dan Brown's eponymous novel. It is the sequel to The Da Vinci Code, another Brown film adaptation, even though the novel Angels & Demons was published first and takes place before the novel The Da Vinci Code. Filming took place in Rome, Italy, and the Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California. Tom Hanks reprises the lead role of Robert Langdon, while director Ron Howard, producer Brian Grazer, and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman also return.

Budget US$150 million Gross revenue US$410,660,788[1] Preceded by The Da Vinci Code


Plot [Contains Spoilers]

Under the watchful eyes of Father Silvano Bentivoglio and Dr. Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) initiates the Large Hadron Collider and captures three vials of antimatter. Immediately afterward, someone kills Father Silvano, uses his retina to infiltrate the containment chamber, and steals one vial.

The Roman Catholic Church mourns the death of the Pope in Rome. Vatican City prepares for the College of Cardinals' papal conclave, which will select the next Pope. Until that time, Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor), a papal court official and former helicopter pilot, assumes temporary control of the Vatican. Reporters, nuns, priests, and other faithful members of the Church crowd into Saint Peter's Square, waiting for white smoke from the conclave. But the Illuminati, a 400-year ...

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Director: Ron Howard
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: May 15, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: David Koepp
DVD Release Date: November 24, 2009
Runtime: 138 minutes
Studio: Columbia Pictures
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