Angels & Demons (2009)
Frequently Asked Questions
The Pope has died, and every one of the world's 165 cardinals have arrived in Vatican City to begin the conclave, the secret meeting during which the cardinals elect a new Pope. Meanwhile, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) has been summoned to the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, where Silvano Bentivoglio (Carmen Argenziano), one of their leading nuclear physicists, has been murdered, branded across the chest with the word "Illuminati", and the container holding his greatest achievement—antimatter—has been stolen. When they learn that the antimatter container, which is set to explode in six hours, is buried somewhere in Vatican City, Langdon and Bentivoglio's research partner, Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), travel to Vatican City in an attempt to find the container. Matters become complicated when they learn that the preferiti, the four candidates for the papacy, have been abducted, and each one is going to be murdered during the four hours preceding the explosion.
Angels & Demons is a 2000 mystery novel by American writer Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code (2003). The novel was adapted for the movie by screenwriter Akiva Goldsman and subsequently rewritten by David Koepp.
It's a prequel. The novel Angels & Demons (2000) was written and published before novel The Da Vinci Code (2003) was, and it is set prior accordingly, but its adaptation was filmed and released after the second novel's adaptation was. The Da Vinci Code novel was simply adapted to film first, in other words, and this was because it was the more popular of the two books and therefore more likely to appeal to fans of that book. Roughly the same situation happened later with the 21st century (live-action) adaptations of the fantasy story The Hobbit, or There and Back Again (1937) and its fantasy epic sequel The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955); the each of the three volumes of the latter being adapted in the 2000s decade, and the former being adapted into a sequence of three movies in the 2010s. As a further bit of trivia about yet another system of tales; in the mid-2010s, it was widely revealed that the novel To Kill A Mocking Bird (1960) was a something of a prequel to and more of a shortened edition of the previously-unpublished Go Set a Watchman (2015), so any adaptation of the 2015 novel could be seen as something of a chronological sequel to the existing adaptations of the 1960 novel, even though it was written beforehand.
No. Other than two passing references which are very mild and infrequent, there are no tie-ins between the two movies.
Preferiti is a term that is used to refer to those considered to be the front-running candidates in the election of the new Pope. The four preferiti consisted of Cardinal Ebner (Curt Lowens) of Germany, Cardinal Lamassé (Franklin Amobi), Cardinal Guidera (Bob Yerkes) of Spain, and Cardinal Baggia (Marc Fiorini) of Italy. In the film, each Cardinal signifies one of the four elements (earth, wind, fire, and water), and each Cardinal was executed respectively. Cardinal Ebner, the first to be executed, is found buried in the Devil's Hole in the Chigi Chapel in the Church of the Santa Maria del Popolo, once called Capella della Terra (Chapel of the Earth); he was branded with the ambigram of Earth. Cardinal Lamassé is found near a bas relief of "West Ponente" (west wind) in St Peter's Square; he is branded Air, and his lungs have been pierced. Cardinal Guidera is found hanging over a fire in the Santa Maria della Vittoria Church. Cardinal Baggia is dumped into a fountain in the Piazza Navona and expected to drown, but Robert manages to save him.
They were, albeit short-lived. Founded in 1776 in Bavaria (Germany), the Illuminati or "Enlightened Ones" were a group of intellectuals who got together to freely exchange ideas. The group was forcibly broken up in 1785 by the rulers of Bavaria. According to some sources, former members were absorbed into the Freemasons, which has led to a number of legends claiming that the Illuminati continue to exist, or furthermore conspiracy theories that the Illuminati continued on by means of having specifically "infiltrated" (and supplanted) the highest degrees of the Freemasons. (A key distinction between the two is that, unlike the Freemasons, the Illuminati didn't require the belief in a supreme being or any sort of magic/mysticism for recruitment eligibility, i.e. atheists were supposedly welcome.) Secret organizations bearing the name "Illuminati" frequently show up in works of fiction, and more often than not, their leadership is portrayed as at least antiheroic (hence "conspiracy"), while overall the fiction is based upon what little is known of the real Illuminati's tedious manner of operation back before 1785. (In contrast, the Freemasons are usually portrayed as mysterious guardians.) In the context of the 18th century Illuminati, the particular organization is now referred to as the Bavarian Illuminati, in technical parlance. Some newer organizations have been or are possibly inspired by the known ways of the Bavarian Illuminati, but this overall subject is within the realm of "esoteric knowledge", one of the specialties of Masonic orders. Dan Brown's novels serve as a sort of fictional (or fictionalized) exploration of esoterism and metaphysics, especially as how they coincide with world history and ancient politics.
After signing off with Vittoria, Bentivoglio left the secured chamber and went into his office. As Vittoria is approaching the security scan, she passes his open office door, scans her eye, finds the blood on her chin, and proceeds into the secured chamber, where she finds his eye lying on the floor. Horrified, she exits the chamber and goes into his office, where she finds his body. Thus, the method used by the assassin (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) was to kill Bentivoglio in his office, cut out his eye, and then use the eye to pass the retinal scan, thus obtaining entrance into the secured chamber in order to steal the antimatter. In fact, the assassin himself can be seen walking in the opposite direction as Vittoria heads down the hall to the secured chamber.
Yes. The position of camerlengo (chamberlain) to the Pope is real, and his position and duties are similar to those depicted in the movie. Upon the death of the Pope, it is the camerlengo's duty to formally declare him dead and to immediately destroy the Ring of the Fisherman. He then notifies the Roman Curia and the College of Cardinals and begins making the preparations for the conclave and the Pope's funeral. As in the movie, the camerlengo acts as the head of Vatican City during the sede vacante (papal vacancy). The unusual thing about camerlegno Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor) is that he was a priest; Papal camerlenghi are always Cardinals.
Since the College of Cardinals is in seclusion during the conclave, the only means of communication is by the color of the smoke that pours forth from the chimney. After each vote, all of the ballots are burned. If the smoke is dark (aided by chemicals), it means that the voting has failed to elect a new Pope. White smoke is a signal that a new Pope has been chosen.
Robert, Vittoria, and the camerlengo locate the antimatter canister in St Peter's Tomb in the Necropolis. When Vittoria tries to change the battery, she realizes how cold it is in the tomb and that the chill may have more quickly depleted the battery such that there may not be the five minutes left in order to change it. The camerlengo grabs the canister, commandeers the helicopter waiting to evacuate the Cardinals, and flies it high over the city where he sets it on autopilot then parachutes out. The bomb goes off fairly harmlessly to the city below. The camerlengo is subsequently hailed as a savior and a "gift" from heaven, and there is talk that he should be named pope by an Acclamation of Adoration. Meanwhile, Vittoria and Robert retire to Commander Richter (Stellan Skarsgård)'s office so that Vittoria can retrieve Bentivoglio's journals. As Vittoria lifts the journals from the desk, a computer screen pops up. Wondering whether the key that he took from Richter's hand might fit the computer and whether the computer might hold security recordings, Robert inserts the key, and a recording made in the papal office pops up. The recording is of a conversation between Richter and the camerlengo in which it is made clear that the whole Illuminati threat was cooked up by the camerlengo himself in order to feign an attack on the Church by the Illuminati. The camerlengo turns the fifth brand upon himself and, when the Swiss Guard breaks into the room, he names Richter as an Illuminatus. Richter is shot and killed. Robert shows the recording to Cardinal Strauss (Armin Mueller-Stahl). When the camerlengo is summoned to the conclave, he is met with cold stares and subsequently sets himself on fire with oil from one of the 99 holy lamps inside St. Peter's Basilica. The Vatican announces that the camerlengo has died from internal injuries suffered during his fall and that three preferiti were killed in the fire at Santa Maria della Vittoria Church. White smoke pours from the chimney, and Cardinal Baggia of Italy is named the new Pope. In the final scenes, Cardinal Strauss (now the new camerlengo) presents Robert with Galileo's Diagramma, asking only that he return it when finished and that he write about the Church gently. Cardinal Baggia bows his head to Robert and, as the new Pope Luke, goes out on his balcony to address the cheering crowd in St Peter's Square.
Since the novel Angels & Demons is the first in the Robert Langdon series, the events of The Da Vinci Code have not happened yet in the book. In the movie, references are made throughout to Langdon's uneasy relation with the Catholic Church following his actions in the first movie.
The book opens with the murderer branding Vetra with the Illuminati ambigram in the chest. It is followed by Robert dreaming he is at the pyramids of Gizeh, in the presence of an unknown young woman and an old man. He is roughly awakened by his phone ringing. The CERN scientist who gets murdered in the beginning of the film is called Silvano Bentivoglio, who is Vittoria Vetra's colleague only. In the book, his name is Leonardo Vetra, and he is both Vittoria's colleague and her adoptive father. Throughout the novel Vittoria has some flashbacks to her childhood, when father Silvano took her from the orphanage and introduced her to the world of science. In the book, there is no scene where the Large Hadron Collider is activated; the antimatter has already been created and stored. Reversely, in the movie, Langdon never visits CERN, but is directly flown to Vatican City.
CERN director Maximilian Kohler, a sickly and wheelchair-bound man, is completely absent from the movie. He is described as a cold and unsympathetic person with nothing but contempt for religion. A flashback near the end of the book explains why: as he child, he suffered from a very painful illness, but his parents would not allow the doctors to treat him, assured by catholic priests that the illness was God's will. The doctors finally ignored the parents' wishes and saved the boy's life, although it left him handicapped. In the book, Kohler is the one who calls Langdon to the CERN complex in Geneva and shows him the dead body with the removed eye and Illuminati symbol burnt into it. Vittoria later joins them and confesses that she and her father had secretly started to produce antimatter, without Kohler knowing. Kohler eventually goes unconscious during a coughing fit, and gets hospitalized for the major part of the book.
The plane that goes March 15th is completely absent in the film. It's the plane that takes Langdon from Harvard University to Geneva within hours, and brings Langdon and Vittoria to Vatican City. Vittoria wears short pants in the novel which is frowned upon in the Vatican. In the film she wears long pants. Camerlengo Patrick McKenna is called Carlo Ventresca in the novel, where he is Italian. Likewise, Cardinal Mortati in the novel is Cardinal Strauss in the movie. Father Simeon appears in the movie but not in the book. The character of Richter was created for the movie. He is a combination of Olivetti, Kohler and Rocher in the novel, and has most of their actions and dialogue.
In the book, Olivetti is the head of the Swiss Guard. In the movie Richter is head of the Swiss Guard. The Olivetti in the movie is a different character: he is head of the Vatican Police, and much kinder and helpful than Richter. In the novel, the assassin is Middle Eastern and calls himself "the descendant of the Hassassin". The Hassassin is an Illuminati believer in the novel, and a ruthless killer who almost seems to enjoy murdering people. He also has a craving for sex with women. In the movie he's European and a ruthless professional, but with some sense of ethics. He seems only interested in money, though he implies some religious believes. In the novel he delivers the threat to the Camerlengo, Olivetti, Vittoria and Robert personally over the phone, announcing the Illuminati's revenge for "La Purga". The Hassassin's contractor's name is Janus in the novel. In the movie, the name is only mentioned once and barely noticeable.
Langdon is alone in the Vatican Archives in the novel when he gets locked in by the power going out. As he has no gun, he breaks the glass by just crashing the bookshelf into it. Robert suspects Captain Rocher, Olivetti's subordinate, of trying to kill him. Captain Rocher does not appear in the movie, his place in the story is largely taken by Richter instead; it is initially suggested in the movie that Richter may be responsible for the attempt on Langdon's life.
The fire death is a little different. In the novel, Olivetti enters the church first and asks Langdon and Vetra to wait outside. When he does not respond to Robert and Vittoria's calls over the radio, they enter and find him with a broken neck. They try to save the cardinal, who is completely naked, but the Hassassin fires at Robert, who hides under an tipped-over sarcophagus, crushing the Hassassin's arm under it in the process. The Hassassin kidnaps Vittoria and leaves, assuming Robert will surely suffocate under the tightly sealed sarcophagus. Robert is freed just in time by firemen. He steals a car by "threatening" to shoot the driver to get to the fourth Illuminati altar by himself. In the movie he is escorted by Police Officers.
When arriving alone at the Four Rivers fountain in the novel, Robert notices the Hassassin's van is already parked next to it, waiting for the right time. He enters the fountain from the other side and holds the Hassassin at gunpoint. However, the Hassassin quickly throws cardinal Baggia's naked body into the fountain and gets the jump on Robert. Robert wounds him in the foot, but a fight ensues, in which Robert is held under water. He grabs an underwater air hose and fakes drowning until the Hassassin leaves him for dead. Robert tries to revive cardinal Baggia, but does not succeed. He derives the location of the Illuminati church himself from a clue in the fountain (instead of cardinal Baggia telling him as in the movie).
Langdon makes his way to the Castle of Angels alone, only to find out that the door is locked and the wall is too high to climb. He enlists the help of the driver of a nearby newsvan to help him over the wall. Inside, he finds the Hassassin trying to rape Vittoria to celebrate his victory of killing all four Cardinals. Another fight with the Hassassin ensues. Vetra and Langdon finally succeed in killing the Hassassin together by pushing him off the balcony (not a car bomb that is rigged to blow by the Camerlengo).
A complete subplot with two BBC news reporters is completely absent in the film. The Hassassin calls them and informs them of the killings, causing them to broadcast the news of the kidnapped cardinals live over the world. In the book, the Camerlengo orders them inside the Sistine Chapel and allows them to broadcast his statement to the cardinals live to the world. His desperate plea for religion and faith is longer and much more elaborate in the book, and includes a lengthy statement about the church having to "surrender to science", and the sentence "religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed" (spoken in the movie by Cardinal Strauss at the end).
Late in the book, Maximilian Kohler wakes up in a hospital after his coughing attack. He retrieves and reads Vetra's diaries, and then goes to Vatican City to confront the Camerlengo (in the movie, Vittoria took them with her to Vatican City, and it is Richter who reads them and finds out the truth). When Robert and Vittoria learn of his arrival, their initial thought is that Kohler must be the Illuminati leader. Captain Rocher, however, was already told the truth about the Camerlengo by Kohler, and therefore allows Kohler into the Camerlengo's office. As Kohler and Rocher (Richter and Father Simeon in the movie) are shot down, a dying Kohler secretly gives Langdon a videotape he made of the whole Camerlengo conversation with a hidden camera, asking him to "Give it to the media" upon death.
The Illuminati Diamond, the final brand iron which combines all four elements into one shape, and which is used on the Camerlengo, is completely absent from the film. The final brand in the movie consists of two key crosses. This image is what provides a clue to Robert as to where the antimatter canister is hidden (Saint Peter's tomb). However, in the novel, after receiving the burn, the Camerlengo suddenly receives a vision from God, leading him to Saint Peter's tomb (of course, the Camerlengo simply knew where the bomb was, but ascribes his vision to a Divine intervention).
In the book, both Langdon and the Camerlengo enter the helicopter with the antimatter. Robert is under the impression that the Camerlengo plans to throw the antimatter out in time so it will explode in mid-air. However, the Camerlengo locks the antimatter into a cargo box and jumps out of the helicopter with a parachute, apologizing to Robert that "it wasn't supposed to happen this way". Langdon makes a miraculous escape from the exploding helicopter by grabbing its windshield cover and jumping out. The cover manages to slow his descent just enough for him to survive a big splash into the Tiber river. He is rescued by personnel of a small nearby hospital. There he finds out what was on the video camera he had received from Kohler.
In the novel, Langdon returns to the Sistine Chapel and shows the video of the Kohler and Camerlengo conversation to all the Cardinals. The video only has the Camerlengo confessing the murder of Leonardo Vetra; upon hearing this, the Camerlengo himself gives a lengthy justification of all his doings; he confesses his anger over the late Pope's decision to stimulate Vetra to go public with his antimatter work; he was infuriated even more upon hearing the Pope confess that he had once fathered a child. Assuming the Pope had broken his vow of celibacy, the Camerlengo had stormed out, and planned the murder of the Pope, handing the confiscated Illuminati brands to the Hassassin and ordering the deaths of the Preferiti. Upon hearing this confession, Cardinal Mortati responds with the revelation that the Camerlengo was, in fact, the late Pope's actual son. The Pope had once fallen in love with a nun, but they both wanted to keep their vow of celibacy to the Church, so they got a son through artificial insemination while staying virgins. The Pope felt a special gratitude towards science ever since, but he never got the chance to explain this to the infuriated Camerlengo. This—together with everything he has done—is what drives the Camerlengo to suicide. In the book, the Camerlengo immolates himself in front of everyone in St. Peter's Square; in the movie, it occurs inside the cathedral.
Cardinal Mortati (Cardinal Strauss in the film) collects the Camerlengo's ashes in an urn, which he places into the late Pope's tomb. He himself gets elected Pope in the novel. It is also revealed that the Camerlengo was actually rightfully elected Pope right before Mortati through the "acclamation by admiration" (mentioned in the movie), for just a few minutes though.
Langdon is given the Illuminati Diamond (not the Diagramma) in the novel at the end by the new Pope. Langdon and Vittoria fall for each other and end up having sex with each other. Their love relationship is absent in the movie.
Being released as both theatrical and extended version on Blu-ray/DVD, the latter one features a new cut that runs approximately 7 and a half minutes longer than the original theatrical version. Most of the differences result from new plot scenes that have been reinserted for this version but there are also some scenes showing a bit more violence.
For the UK theatrical release, the movie was presented to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) in an edited form. Sony had received a statement from the BBFC that the movie would most likely receive a 15 rating. A 12A rating could be easily obtained, however, by cutting and altering some scenes. So the film was edited and presented to the BBFC that did not demand any further changes, so the movie was shown in UK theaters in a cut version with a 12 rating. On DVD, the movie was released in its cut 12-rated version, too, in the UK. This version was compared to the US PG-13 DVD ("Theatrical Edition"). As a result, the US theatrical version contains more scenes of violence than the other version. The UK DVD was also mitigated by the use of alternative material.