Date Reviewed:
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15th May 2009

Summary:

A pulse-racing conspiracy thriller from the team that brought us The Da Vinci Code.

Harvard religious expert Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) once again finds that forces with ancient roots have embarked on a murderous conspiracy. Langdon discovers a resurgence of the Illuminati - history's most powerful secret brotherhood - and learns that they pose a deadly threat to their sworn enemy, the Catholic Church. Racing to Rome, Langdon joins forces with Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), a beautiful and enigmatic Italian scientist. Embarking on a perilous hunt through crypts, catacombs, deserted cathedrals, and even the heart of the most secretive vault on earth, Langdon and Vetra follow a 400-year-old trail of ancient symbols that mark the Vatican's only hope for survival. Based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown, Angels & Demons is directed by Hollywood veteran Ron Howard, who previously helmed The Da Vinci Code and recently received an Oscar nomination for Frost/Nixon.

Screenplay: David Koepp, Akiva Goldsmith

Review:

With a cast of award winning actors, Ron Howard does a good job of directing a story that was easy to follow and even easier to accept. The Da Vinci code threw so many angles at you in such a short time that a quick bathroom break would leave you a bit confused on return. I didn't feel this was with Angels and Demons, the plot was straight-forward and the action kept the interest level peaked throughout.

Cardinal Strauss (Armin Mueller-Stahl) was easily my favorite character in the movie. His portrayal of the elitist, yet misunderstood rank of the Catholic Church was very good and combined with the victim of his treatment Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor), you will find yourself choosing sides immediately upon introduction. There isn't a great amount of Tom Hanks time as the film focuses more on story than character development and this did well with me being that I had more than enough introduction from the first movie.

Unfortunately I found Ayelet Zurer's character Vittoria Vetra to be an unnecessary femme assistant in the quest since her lines were a bit limited and seemed much like an afterthought. She does play a key role in the beginning of things but she soon fades into the background of being Langdon's "familiar" more-so than a necessary partner.

The plot is as such, one of the organizations that the Catholic Church wronged in the past (there have been quite a few) has sought revenge in a most artistic manner. Some men of the church are kidnapped and are set to be executed at specific times until an ultimate end to the church itself will happen. Dr. Robert Landon is brought in to help decipher the clues and teams up with the beautiful Vittoria Vetra, a scientist who witnessed a colleague die at the hands of the church's enemy.

Music staying relevant and the cinematography beautiful, I could chime on about this menial things but what makes Angels and Demons absolutely work is it's conclusion. It was by far one of the most amazingly surprising endings I have seen in a movie and I was impressed at how off-guard I was when it hit me. Like anyone else I appreciate a great wrap-up and this movie wraps it up quite tight and drops a pretty bow on it. Needless to say I left the theater pleased at the movie in it's entirety.

If you are religious and unsure if this movie will offend your Catholic principles. I can say that where The DaVinci code painted Catholicism as a shady cover-up group of sadists, Angels and Demons paints them with a much lighter brush. The church is shown as being a collective of good men who are made to suffer for the sins of evil and misguided men who wore their colors and even a few who have infiltrated their modern ranks.