Angels & Demons (2009) Poster

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Pull the other one
neil-47621 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I usually try not to spoiler: in this case I shall do so wholeheartedly. Don't read on if it bothers you.

First I must comment on The Da Vinci Code phenomenon. Angels And Demons,(the movie) is a vague sequel (albeit the book precedes the Da Vinci book). While Da Vinci was hardly deathless prose, it told an interesting, unusual story at breakneck pace in an easy-to-follow manner. It was pacey and entertaining. It sold shedloads, and deservedly so. The movie adaptation was faithful, but lost the novel's immediacy: it still had broad appeal and did well at the box office, hence this sequel.

So to Angels And Demons (where I haven't read the book). In the run up to the Cardinals' voting in Conclave for a new Pope, four of them are kidnapped. Despite reservations about Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks, hardly pro-Catholicism in Da Vinci) the Vatican consults him. He figures out that this is the work of the Illuminati, a secret group dating back to the Renaissance, who seek revenge for the Vatican wiping out many of them in the 16th century for their pro-science, anti-Catholic views. Together with a lady scientist whose research generated an antimatter bomb stolen by the Illuminati, intended to wipe the Vatican off the map, Langdon engages in a clue-laden race against time, looking for the missing cardinals and the bomb. He is helped by Ewan MacGregor's Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Camerlengo is acting Pope until the Conclave comes up with a new one - a functional rather than authoritarian position) and hindered by Stellan Skarsgard's head of Vatican police. Armin Mueller-Stahl is a Cardinal who may have his own agenda. There is further jeopardy from the fact that the Illuminati have probably infiltrated the Vatican at the highest level.

So far, so not-very-spoilery. Much action, racing around, convoluted clues etc., key factors which made Da Vinci so successful, albeit with a noticeably less credible plot. We even have have a couple of likely suspects - Starsgard's unhelpful police chief and Mueller-Stahl's cagey Cardinal.

Now for the rest of the plot. Three Cardinals are killed, but the fourth is saved. The bomb is recovered. However, there is insufficient time for it to be defused. McKenna takes it up in a news helicopter, and bails out. The bomb detonates, the shock wave causes relatively little damage, but McKenna's gesture in saving the Vatican and thousands of lives means he is certain to be voted in as Pope by popular acclaim. Of course, he turns out to be the villain, having murdered the old Pope and arranged the whole thing. Thank you, Robert Langdon, the end.

This pleased me in one respect - while the film still had you believing that the Illuminati existed, I wondered why they would leave a series of clues pointing to where the bomb was? Of course, as it was all McKenna's masterplan, he wanted the bomb found.

But then I started thinking about this masterplan. Let me list the parts of it (McKenna never does the standard explanatory monologue, you're left to figure it out yourself):

1. Steal antimatter;

2. Make antimatter bomb;

3. Poison Pope;

4. Recruit professional killer to kidnap and kill Cardinals;

5. Create trail based on incredibly complex clues from poem in priceless 16th century book in Vatican archive):

6. Rely on Langdon solving clues in time;

7. Make car bomb to blow up professional killer;

8. Rely on helicopter being nearby once bomb is recovered;

9. Rely on there being sufficient time to get helicopter, fly it high enough to avoid total destruction (despite nobody having the slightest idea exactly what effects of antimatter bomb might be), bail out, get to ground safely;

10. Rely on hero factor being sufficient to result in being elected as Pope.

The rationale (I think) was that, as Pope, he could prevent the Catholic Church living happily with science.

As a plan, I thought that this was risibly implausible. I happily suspend disbelief and willingly did so while the hunt was on, but the revelation of who the baddie was (and, therefore, what his plan must have been) was, to be frank, utterly idiotic - so idiotic, in fact, that it devalued the rest of the film.

There was some other stuff which made me scoff with derision:

McKenna is branded on the chest: a large glowing brand, maybe 20 cm square, is applied forcefully to his chest for upwards of 5 seconds, following which it is dropped to the floor where is sets the carpet smouldering. Yet this doesn't seem to phase him in the slightest - he races through tunnels and flies helicopters with nary a whimper (he does hold it as if it's a bit tender later on, though).

Earlier in the film McKenna tells a story about his military service which ends with him explaining that's where he learned to fly helicopters. It would have been a good deal less clumsy if he had simply whipped out a sign and hung it round his neck reading "I'm going to be flying a helicopter later in this movie."

Langdon rewinds the security video stored on the police chief's computer. The computer makes the noise of an audio tape being rewound across the replay heads!

My favourite bit was when the girl scientist tears a page out of a priceless 16th century book (the page which carries the all-important clues to finding the Cardinals and the bomb, in the form of a poem in English printed in watermarks in the paper!), not because it was an inherently good bit, but because I was immensely tickled at the gasp of horror coming from a lady in the audience.

This film was mistitled. It should have been called "Angels, Demons, And Complete And Utter B*ll*cks."
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Angels & Demons (Ron Howard, 2009) Warning: Spoilers
OK, everyone. Here's how it goes. Robert Langdon is smart. He knows history and symbols. There is a threat against the Vatican. OK? Following me so far? The threat is from the Illuminati, an organization of scientists vowing revenge on the Catholic Church. Alright? They've kidnapped four cardinals who are supposed to be in the running for Pope. Get it? OK, and the sexy scientist Vittoria Vetra is the expert who knows how to manage the bomb they're threatening the Vatican with. Yeah, OK, as long as you understand, we can get on with the movie. But we'll remind you of all of this in about 10 minutes in case you forget.

This may as well have been flashing on the screen for the entirety of Angels & Demons. On the surface, this doesn't seem like the kind of film that would attract brain dead idiots, but it seems that writers David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman didn't want to take the chance that some mentally challenged 11 year old might get lost in the story. This is my biggest qualm with Angels & Demons, an already mediocre film dragged down to fiery depths of cinematic hell by a completely incompetent script. OK, maybe that's a little extreme, but I couldn't pass up the chance to say "fiery depths of cinematic hell", now could I?

One example of the spoon-feeding nature of the script is the power outage idea. A camera has a live video feed of the bomb, and it's somewhere inside the Vatican. Security decides to turn off select power grids bits at a time so that they could see where to check for the bomb should the camera go dark. This seems easy enough to remember, right? Well, turns out it isn't. Every time the characters are in a room and the lights go out, some side character must remind everyone that security is turning off power at random. They really should have abandoned all hope of a four-walled narrative early on and had Tom Hanks turn to the camera every now and then and say "Alright, so let me get you up to speed here..."

And Robert Langdon. What a great character. Not only does he know everything that could possibly help him in his quest to rescue the four cardinals and stop the terrorist, but he talks about nothing else! I could count on one hand the amount of lines Tom Hanks reads that isn't a historical fact about Italy, the Illuminati, the Catholic Church, or something along the lines of "It should be here!", "We have to go there!", "They must be planning to..." or other cut and paste exclamations.

But it's a good thing that the good guy, Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, is there for guidance. Man, he's such a hero. A real saint. The perfect man for the job. Or, is he? SHOCK! TWIST! Run for the hills, because the suspicious-looking good guy who fits into the plot in nearly no significant way other than to be revealed to secretly have been the mastermind behind the whole plot is...the mastermind behind the whole plot! EEEEKK! But that means that the even more suspicious looking guy who everyone suspects is secretly the villain is...not secretly the villain! Gosh, if only they had given us a chance to figure it out...

Other minor things. Some good, some bad. Good: they got rid of what would have been a ridiculously contrived romantic subplot. The explosion at the end looked pretty. The bad: whose bright idea (pardon the pun) was it to have the light shine into the camera and nearly blind the audience whenever a character is running around with a flashlight? Why is it that two people of Italian origin in Italy, alone, speak English to each other sometimes, but Italian other times? I wouldn't mind if they spoke English the entire time, but the flip-flopping drove me crazy! Don't even get me started on the hilariously obvious and incredibly poorly written (so poorly written it stood out amongst the rest of the poorly written film) speeches about faith vs science. Yeesh.

Really, what a mediocre film. Pretty blandly directed, awful writing, and a phoned-in performance by Tom Hanks. Throw in an incredibly suspenseful "will Robert Langdon die in the middle of the movie?!" scene, a useless female sidekick and no real reason to care what happens to anyone and you can top off what should have been a huge disappointment, but really was just what most of us had expected. Oh, well. They can't all be gems.
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I wish I hadn't read the book
Nevele26 July 2009
I am sorry for all the readers, but I don't know where to begin.

Let me say at first that I'm not a big Dan Brown fan, but I read Angels & Demons with great pleasure. The book deals a lot with the eternal question of Science vs. Religion and that made me think a lot about that subject again. That big battle is totally lost in the movie.

A lot of the important lines in the book (CERN, Maximilian Kohler, the scepsis of the Swiss Guard, the love relationship between Robert and Vittoria, the Hassassin, the relationship between the Camerlengo and the pope) are lost in the movie screenplay. This makes the movie a very cut-down and over-simplified version.

Would the movie be any good if I hadn't read the book? I still doubt it. From scene 3 on, the movie is a 'chase-movie' without interruption. There is no time for contemplation or depth. No story-line, no backgrounds. It's just a chase movie in a GREAT decorum.

You would think that with a running time of about 140 minutes a movie is able to bring more. Much more.
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10 Reasons Why This Film Took a Belly Flop in the Tiber River
lavatch12 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It is difficult to imagine how the engaging Dan Brown novel "Angels and Demons" could misfire as badly as this film version. Here are ten reasons why the film was a failure. Due to the spoilers, please do no read on unless you have already seen the film.

(1) In the film, there was no love relationship between Robert Langdon and Vittoria Vetra. Worse still, there was not even any chemistry between the two leading actors.

(2) The breathtaking locations in Rome, as described in the novel, were not realized visually in the film. I am aware that director Ron Howard encountered difficulties in filming on location. But there are superior photographed depictions of Rome on The History Channel than in this film where the Eternal City was presented in eternal stock film footage. The great art works described in the novel were only briefly depicted in the film. The magnificent Bernini sculpture of the "Ecstasy of St. Teresa" was only momentarily glimpsed, and the West Ponente relief in Vatican Square was not visible at all.

(3) The most tasteless choice made by the film-maker was in the depiction of the deceased pope who actually resembled the beloved John Paul II. In the novel, the pope is clearly fictional with no resemblance to any real pope.

(4) One of the most colorful (and important) characters of the novel, Maximilian Kohler, Director of CERN, was cut out of the screenplay.

(5) There were numerous instances when the lines of dialog were inaudible due to extraneous background noise.

(6) There were moments when the faces of characters were not visible due to the shadows and chiaroscuro film lighting. This technique worked in "The Godfather" films, but Ron Howard is no Gordon Willis.

(7) The College of Cardinals was quite a motley crew with one of the electors speaking in a Southern drawl. This dude would have been more at home on a Texas ranch than in the Sistine Chapel.

(8) The crucial relationship of the Camerlengo and the deceased Pope was not defined in the film. This relationship was central to the theme of science vs. religion and the relevance of the Illuminati to the plot against the church.

(9) In the novel, the character of Hassassin was an unforgettable villain. In the film, that assassin character's role was a cardboard cutout villain.

(10) As a whole, the filmmakers did not trust the workings of the successful novel.

In the novel, Langdon makes an impossible fall out of the sky and into the Tiber River. In Ron Howard's film, it was the movie itself that landed in the Tiber.
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A Nutshell Review: Angels & Demons
DICK STEEL9 May 2009
Tom Hanks returns as Dan Brown's symbologist Robert Langdon in his first adventure Angels & Demons, which Hollywood decided to make after The Da Vinci Code, given the latter's more controversial subject striking a raw nerve on the faith itself. The Catholic Church was up in arms over the first film, but seemingly nonchalant about this one. And it's not hard to see why, considering Ron Howard had opted to do a flat-out action piece that serves as a great tourism video of Rome and Vatican City, and would probably boost visitor numbers given the many beautiful on-location scenes, save for St Peter's Square and Basilica which was a scaled model used.

So I guess with the bulk of the budget going toward the sets, the ensemble cast had to be correspondingly scaled down. Ayelet Zurer tried to step into the female void left by Audrey Tautou, but given Tautou's character then having a lot more stake in the film, Zurer's scientist Vittoria had a lot less to do other than just waiting in the wings to change some batteries on a canister filled with anti-matter. In the book she's the fodder of course for Langdon to converse his vast knowledge of the Vatican, the Illuminati and the great feud between the two, but here she's neither love interest, nor his intellectual equal.

Ewan McGregor on the other hand, chews up each scene he's in as Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, who is temporarily taking care of the Papal office while the other prominent cardinals are in the Sistine Chapel to elect a new Pope. And he plays Patrick with that glint in the eye, with nuances enough to let you know there's more than meets the eye. There's no surprises here for readers of the novel, but McGregor's performance here is one of the highlights of the film as Hanks plays well, Tom Hanks.

The book itself is rich with arguably accurate content as always, and had a lot more plot points on science versus religion, and a wealth of information that Dan Brown researched and linked together in an engaging fictional piece of work. While reading the book some years ago, I thought that should a film be made of it, it's easy to lapse and dwell more on the set action pieces. Sadly, that's what this Ron Howard film did, with a pace that doesn't allow a temporary breather. Unlike the first film where you had the characters sit down for some "discussion time" over a cup of tea, this one moved things along so quickly, it's like reading the book all over again, page after page being skipped just to get to the thick of the action.

Catholic reviewers have called Angels & Demons harmless, because I guess it didn't dwell on its many controversies, unlike The Da Vinci Code which struck a raw nerve at the centre of the faith. And if anything, this film served as a great tourism promotional video with a nice showcase of the many prominent touristy landmarks that would entice many around the world to go pay a visit. Naturally certain areas like the catacombs beneath St Peter's Basilica, and the Vatican archives remain out of bounds, but the walk along the Path of Illumination, now that's almost free.

Nothing new for those who have read the book other than to see it come alive, but for those who haven't, this film may just compel you to pick up Dan Brown's novel just to read a bit more about the significance about the landmarks, and characters such as Galileo, Michelangelo and Bernini who are intricately linked to the plot, but much left unsaid. Satisfying pop-corn entertainment leaving you with nothing spectacular.
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Almost as bad as Independence Day
thos4013 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The implausibility of the plot has been noted by several commentators, particularly the immense amount of trouble Fr McKenna would have had to have gone to, and the sheer impossibility of some of the calculations he would have had to have made, including that Langdon was going to decipher each clue in minutes. McKenna is branded; a few seconds later he is giving orders, and a few minutes later, he is running (literally) around in charge of operations -- in real life, he would be in shock. And, as usual in thrillers, the assassin doesn't kill the heroes, giving as his only lame explanation that they were not on the list of those to be killed, as though every other innocent bystander he shot was. I have always used Independence Day as the hallmark of a truly awful film (US President commandeers jet plane and beats off aliens, ha ha), and this effort runs it close. For such an implausible film, Angels and Demons contains a remarkable number of predictable incidents. Who didn't laugh knowingly when the assassin went to get his reward in the Volkswagen? I felt like shouting, "You are going to be blown up". Who didn't know that the heroine was going to find a body in the lab? Who didn't spot the baddie? Technically also, the film was awful. The dialogue was more often indecipherable than clear, while the races across Rome to the next church were accompanied by deafening music. Moreover, many scenes looked like mud. The one redeeming feature was the shots of Rome and what looked like the Vatican -- an achievement, because I am sure that the Vatican officials would not have wanted this dross shot in and around St Peter's -- and the interiors were convincing. Rome is a magic place, and I enjoyed seeing it fleetingly.
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Why God why
iofred15 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Why did they not follow the book ... I am really sad and disappointed. I was so looking forward to seeing this movie, however, if you have read the book (maybe recently) it might be very difficult to remain objective. My wife had not read the book, and she loved the movie.

Reasons for the disappointment are: 1) Cern's involvement ... gone with the wind, such a shame, there is a very small part at the start, where the antimatter is created, but even that does not stick to the facts (why not, the fact that Vittoria's father was burned with the first Illuminati brand, which is how Langdon got involved would have been a perfect start to the Movie_ 2) Story-line between the (deceased) pope and Camerlegno completely gone ... this completely screws up the motive for the stealing of the antimatter 3) Story-line between Langdon and Vittoria Vetra completely non-existent

All-in-all, too flaky storyline, and cannot understand that Dan Brown allowed them to put his name against it. Maybe I should revisit this film in 10 years time, when I cannot remember the excellent book anymore (fat chance on forgetting the book I am afraid)

Really sorry for the negative review, which was spoilt by expectations
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Not at all impressed
BabyDanner17 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I went to see this movie tonight, trying to keep an open mind. I had hoped to enjoy a movie that I expected to be different from the book. There were considerable differences from the book, much like the changes made in the DiVinci Code. I went to see the DiVinci Code with the same thought process and managed to enjoy the film, in spite of, the changes from the book. It was still enjoyable, filled with action, and the process of deciphering the symbols was interesting and mentally stimulating. Unfortunately, Angels and Demons disappointed on almost every level. Throughout the movie, symbols are found and figured out quickly, without any interest for the viewer. They blow past the various Immuminati symbols so quickly that we had no chance to get a look at them and appreciate how they work. The final Illuminati symbol, which was the most interesting and creative one in the book, was replaced with the crossed keys symbol. In my opinion, that was a missed opportunity to focus on and spend a little more time on the symbols, which is what the Langdon character is all about. Overall, this movie is a very poor interpretation of the book, and fails at the attempt to be an action movie / thriller. 4 out of 10
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ocknights7115 May 2009
I read Angels and Demons about 3 years ago, and I can honestly say to is one of the few books that I couldn't put down while reading.

The movie however was pretty much what i expected, a lot of action, with somewhat of a mystery storyline. Tom Hanks plays, in my opinion, a much better role, of Professor Langdon than in The Da Vinci Code.

You won't have to worry about this being as bad as The Da Vinci Code, this is everything that it wasn't. Much more interesting, more action, more suspense, and less of the unneeded controversy. If you haven't read the book, no worries you will still find it very interesting. And if you have read the book, well lets say you might be a little let down because I found many scenes missing that I was looking forward to.

Overall, Pretty impressive film for any everyday movie goer. But, maybe not something too special for Dan Brown fans.
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worth watching but could have been done better
EchoMaRinE25 July 2009
This is an OK adaptation of the breath taking book of Dan Brown. I can't say it is novel or very good but they made a movie that you can enjoy. Given the excellent story, the result could have been better though. The movie is pretty long but at the end I was feeling like some things were missing. Sound effects and sound tracks were very good. Acting was well done but the character development phase was very weak. For people who didn't read the book, things may look happening too quickly. From my point of view, instead of trying to put as much as stuff from the book, they could have tried to do the important scenes more proper. What makes the book very good was all the puzzle like story combined with the excellent portrait of Vatican. You see neither of it in the movie. Too much rush and using the time not in a good way, these are main problems of the movie. So, it is worth watching but could have been done better.
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One of the worse book to film adaptations ever
tonyopie14 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Firstly I loved the book, more so than the more popular Da Vinci Code and although the DVC film was not well received, I liked it and bought the DVD. However, there is no chance that I will ever want to watch Angles and Demons ever again.

The film barely resembles the book, in fact only the general premise of the story is there.

From the very start of the film I was disappointed, in the book Robert Langdon receives a call and fax from Maximilian Kohler, Director of CERN. Who finds the body of Father (can't remember the name) and then requests Langdon to come, using the super fast plane... In the book the only people who knew about this technology that the Father and Daughter team had created were themselves and the camerlingo... In the film however, there was a massive team involved... so the tension was never there... how did they find out etc.

Leaving out or rather changing this whole part of the story was a massive mistake and was in my mind what made it a poor movie... it changed everything that happened from then on, when the Camerlingo was confronted in the pope's locked room, it should have been Maximilian Kohler who shot the video from his wheel chair, the commander rushed in to get the camerlingo but was shot by Olivetti, in the film it was the commander in the room and Olivetti was shot... (err I think I got this right, but I was bored and can't really remember the events in the film)...

There was no love interest between Vittoria and Robert and in the book she wasn't at CERN when he arrived and was indeed was flown in from her research work. In the book all four of the preferratti were killed, but in the film the last one of the four survived the fountain. In the book Vittoria was kidnapped and Robert had to rescue her and it was they that killed the Assassin at the Church of the Illuminati, not blown up like he was in the film by the Camerlingo. The bit where Robert was confined under a stone coffin was not there, saved by his Mickey mouse watch alarm. OK in the book we are led to believe that Langdon bailed out of the helicopter, fair enough to say that this was a bit far stretched, but it was important in the film, because he had to race back with the film... There was no mention of how Vittoria and her adopted father became involved, this was also important in getting to know the character of Vittoria.

In all one of the worse films I have seen, I would have left early, but my brain went numb and I lost the use of my legs temporarily. A really really reeeeeeaaaaaaalllly poor attempt and not one of Ron Howards finest, in fact, how he will get work again is beyond me!!! I want my money back!!!
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Did Da Vinci offend anyone? Let me make it up!
turgut-720 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The whole movie had an apology feel to it. That as if too much was revealed in Da Vinci about the shady past of the religion, that Vatican got in touch with Brown, and that he had to write something showing how good the people of the Vatican are.

If you had read any Dan Brown, or seen Da Vinci, you might say Deja Vu, as many themes repeat (following endless clues comes to mind). A girl that's almost useless, and the main character whose outrageous guesses turn out to be correct.

The odd technical details, like an antimatter that lingers around for 24 hours (in reality, it disappears in a flash), or that a battery that cannot be charged until it is totally depleted, irritates the viewers.

The movie is very predictable, except for the last few bits. I was glad when it was over.
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Why are People Bashing this Movie?
ddrcoaster15 May 2009
I go to the movies to be entertained. I was very entertained by the first film in this series: The DaVinci Code. It had plenty of twists and turns throughout to keep me very interested. Angels and Demons is no different. If you enjoyed the DaVinci Code, then you will undoubtedly enjoy this movie as well. Angels and Demons is made pretty much with the exact same style as the previous film, but faster paced, which I liked. Ron Howard kept me glued to my seat for the full two hours without boring me one bit.

What I really liked about this movie was that even though it is obviously fictitious, they leave enough real history to make it seem very believable. If there is one thing that I didn't like about this movie, it is that the plot itself is very unbelievable (don't want to give any spoilers). But hey, it's a movie. I was entertained throughout the whole thing and was very satisfied with what I saw.
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Needless to say I left the theater pleased at the movie in it's entirety.
Rafacus15 May 2009
Where Da Vinci code introduced us to Dr. Robert Langdon and his knack for solving puzzles, Angels and Demons ups the ante by providing a huge puzzle with an 8 hour limit.

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.
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Book -vs- Movie
lhana-115 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Personally, the book was a very well written, amazing, thrilling piece that was not brought to justice to the movie. Watching the movie at 12.01 in the morning to see that major parts of the book were left out frustrated me, seeing that it affected the "different" outcome of the movie. There was something to be desired out of this movie, but all in all, it lacked in plot.

For someone who has NOT read the book, I could see how this movie would be seen as inviting and entertaining with its controversy and suspense. However to a dedicated reader who has read it seven times, I did not see the strong connection between the two: both the movie and the novel.

With major characters missing (such as Maximilian Kohler) and the abrupt turn in plot with the survival of the last cardinal in the preferiti, the plot of the movie was slightly strewn thus leading to a different take in the conclusion of the story. The Hassassin too was portrayed as a common white man, compared to that of in the novel where he was portrayed as a Muslim; his motives in the book are predominately based his ties with the Illuminati, however, in the movie, his motives are based on money and seemed more like work than some personal tie to the task at hand.
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High-flown malarkey...tasteless in its self-seriousness
moonspinner553 April 2010
Adaptation of Dan Brown's bestseller, a follow-up to 2006's "The Da Vinci Code", has so much plot exposition, location trotting, CGI effects and elaborate camera set-ups in the first thirty minutes, one is apt to be blown away or perhaps toppled over by the breathless racing about. Tom Hanks returns as Robert Langdon, author and professor of religious symbols and societies, who is called upon by the Commander of the Vatican in Rome after a precious vial of anti-matter is violently stolen from a top secret lab in Geneva (which we see) and four Cardinals--candidates for the late Pope's empty chair--are kidnapped (which we don't see). Seems an underground sect named the Illuminati is behind the dirty deeds, and they plan on killing one Cardinal every hour until the stroke of twelve when the contents of the vial will destroy Rome. Extremely slick, extremely familiar jigsaw puzzle movie with absolutely no mystery--just Tom Hanks rattling off information before rushing from Point A to Point B. The killings smack of "Se7vn", while the ensuing relationship between Hanks and brilliant scientist Ayelet Zurer is delineated for us in cartoonish terms. Ron Howard also returns as director, and one can almost sense his desire to flood the narrative with jargon (and the screen with slapdash movement) so that the gaps of credibility and logic won't show through. "Angels & Demons" has a highbrow air about it which causes some viewers to think they're seeing something powerful and important, but don't be fooled. It is an expensive picture, burnished and foreboding, however it's about as intrinsically satisfying as junk food--and just as bad for you. NO STARS from ****
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Worst book to movie adaptation ever
vadergeta18 June 2010
It should be called something else, because it does not have the same story. Why would you even try making this movie if you intended right from the get go to change the most important aspects of the books. To make money is the answer. I will never watch another Ron Howard film again. Butchered is the word that best describes what they do to the plot and the character development. What a waste. I have never been so betrayed in my life. The book was leaps and bounds over the movie, where as his second book was covered much better by the movie. What a sad day this is. I will always remember how holly wood has failed me. The day of reckoning will come, all will know the evils of the industry when I get my revenge. I will have plenty of followers, and they will believe in the cause for they believe in their rights as a person on this earth. Or perhaps i will just forget about this movie read the book again and then go see a movie based on a movie that was based on a movie that was remade 10 years later to appeal to a different audience.
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neptuned19 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I am so sick of being pandered to, the wonderful complexities of the book have been left out completely from this "retelling". The questions of science and religion are gone, the relationship between the characters are gone, all the interesting facts and behavioral rules for the characters are gone, even the relationships between the main characters including the father/child storyline is gone.

I have read about other shows that were rewritten as the executives thought the stories were too complex, give people some credit! The average person who will see this movie obviously enjoyed the complexity of the book as I would hazard a guess that they read it themselves! The book already had a winning formula, why in the world did they choose to throw that away? Why can we not allow the story to teach about Vatican protocol, why can we not describe the history of the locations that are being visited in greater depth than a quick line shot out of Langdon's mouth about Bernini's sculptures (and a few very quick references to locals).

It seems such a shame that films have to play to such a low expectation of education and enlightenment, and that is a true tragedy.
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Jolly good fun!
tomsp-838-6051677 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This rollicking Dan Brown adventure takes us from CERN in Switzerland to the Vatican City as our friends decode secret messages, sprint through hidden tunnels and explore underground chambers. There are lashings of swarthy foreigners, secret doors and mysterious symbols, and in the end our heroes solve the mystery and meet the Pope. Dedicated Famous Five fans will miss Timmy the dog as he demanded to be written out of the script after controversially describing the plot as "moronic". Nevertheless, this movie is everything we've come to expect from one of our best loved children's authors and is a must-see for nine year olds everywhere.
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Rome if you want to...
jc-osms17 May 2009
Haven't read any Dan Brown, so had no pre-conceptions about the movie, although I had seen its "The Da Vinci Code" predecessor, while my wife, who has read the novel, says that the film is true to it. To me though it did look very like "Da Vinci Code 2", not unnaturally given that most of the original component parts were there again - obviously Brown as writer, Howard as director, Hanks as star, Zimmer as resident composer etc etc.

I must admit though that it came across to me as a preposterous, empty, only occasionally flashy thriller. The hope of the writer, no doubt was that by basing the sources on ancient lore and setting the action in modern day locations, this heft would give credence to the events on the screen, but it's all too unbelievable for words.

Hanks' character, it seems, has the uncanny ability to decipher ultra-complicated arcane clues in minutes (he has one hour between the scheduled executions of pope-aspiring cardinals, which are the prelude to the big-bang anti-matter cataclysm, set for midnight) only to race around a darkened and crowded Rome to unerringly arrive just after the deed has already been done! He does however divine enough to eventually save the last of the scheduled victims and of course be on hand to save Vatican City from destruction at which point we learn it wasn't about the mysterious Illuminati Group's 400-years-in-the-making grand revenge against The Vatican but about papal legate Ewan McGregor's fiendish plot to assume the papacy himself...

I'm aware of the novel's massive popularity (which will propel the film to world-wide success, no doubt, like "The Da Vinci Code" before it) but really the plot holes here are bigger than the Grand Canyon. Like when the Italian police, with Hanks and female sidekick scientist in tow, run into a seeming dead-end in one of the chosen churches, promptly abandon our would-be Holmes and Watson, who then, naturally discover a secret passage from the church to the Vatican. There's loads of stuff like this in the film and though director Howard tries to ratchet up the tension with clock graphics ticking down the minutes to midnight and employing Hans Zimmer's pounding, sub-Orff music to propel us to the next big-scene, it just gets crazier and crazier, to the frankly deranged conclusion of MacGregor's errant priest saving the Vatican by piloting a helicopter (handy he was in the Italian air-force as a young man!) up to safety, where the anti-matter explosion occurs relatively harmlessly before parachuting back to earth to be proclaimed a hero. But no, a twist as transparent as glass reveals the truth and normality is resumed on the ashes of MacGregor's ambitions.

It must be hard to act such tosh convincingly and I'm not sure anyone succeeds. Hanks hovers between stolid and stodgy while MacGregor's accent makes regular return trips to and from Ireland as the film progresses. There are some spectacular special effects, notably the creation of the anti-matter "God-particle" at the start and the pyrotechnics above the Vatican at the conclusion. In between there's poor continuity, for which the constantly interjected exposition fails to compensate and too much forced action set-pieces where Hanks might as well be running about with a big "S" on his chest so intuitive and death-defying is his character.

Anyway, Rome And Vatican City looked wonderful as they always do, but other than make me want to go back there sometime soon, this blockbuster left me cold and scratching my head about what all the fuss was about. Best just to accept it as a Harry Potter-type phenomenon, where with a sure-fire audience of the millions who've read the book, the film had to be made. The fact is though that it didn't and in my opinion shouldn't...
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Despite its obvious flaws, A&D is surprisingly good.
TJ-Deen12 May 2009
Before seeing the sneak preview today of Angels & Demons, I cleared my mind of any uncertainties that might hold me back from enjoying it; the enormous amount of hatred towards Dan Brown, the fact that it was written by Dan Brown, and because Dan Brown's name is slapped on all of the posters. I went in with an open mind, and expected the worse, but instead what I got was a 2 and a half hour Roman cat and mouse game with Forrest Gump, and that is by all means good entertainment value.

The movie hangs loosely on the actual novel itself. Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon (Hanks) jets off to Rome after the Pope's sudden death and the re-election through Papal Conclave. Arranging all of this is the carmelengo, Patrick McKenna (McGregor). However, he soon learns of a new threat, one that involves a secret brotherhood making its presence known, an anti-matter time bomb that Vatican City is now targeted with and the kidnapping of four cardinals. Langdon, using his intellects (and trust me, you'll be hearing a LOT from it) is given the task of finding and rescuing them using the mysterious Path of Illumination. Aiding him on the quest is CERN scientist Vittoria Vetra (Zurer), who is also the co-creator of the anti-matter.

The movie itself runs at an uneven pace. One minute Langdon and the Swiss Guard are speeding to save a branded cardinal, the next minute he bores you with pointless information about every random object he passes, evidently slowing the book's much anticipated action/thriller sequences down. It makes for an interesting read on paper, but on screen it can go either way.

The character's are decently written onto the big screen. Ewan McGregor does a convincing performance as the quiet but knowledgeable Patrick McKenna, famous accent included. Tom Hanks is slightly more agile, intellectually and physically, since his last performance in the mediocre Da Vinci Code. Stellen Skarsgard plays Commander Richter, the straight-faced leader of the Swiss Guard. Unfortunately, neither his nor Ayelet Zurer's performance are worthwhile ones, and instead of playing a part in the story, they are just kicked aside as assets.

However, Angels & Demons accomplishes what DVC could never; a thrilling fast-paced movie filled with satisfying explosions, beautiful recreations of St. Peter's Square and Basilica (including many of the churches) and a pulsing bomb counting down the midnight hour. Ron Howard does a decent job at directing this second Langdon adventure, this time taking in much criticism and almost completely exchanging the boring dialogue for tense chases (almost).

While newcomers might call it a "National Treasure 3" with a much larger threat, there is still enough contagious suspense/thriller eye-candy and brilliant still shots of Rome to breathe in. Fans of the book might feel differently towards the movies drastic changes, but considering the amount of blasphemy and inaccuracy it generates, A&D does exceedingly well at keeping the viewer locked on to the screen this time rather than on their sleepy shoulder.

A good book-to-movie adaption that will both appeal and entertain.

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Angels and Demons Premier in Rome! I was there!
robertw477-25 May 2009
I was at the premier of the movie last night in Rome. I am not an expert in the book, however there are a great deal of changes from the book to the movie. The pacing of this movie is much faster than the Davinci code. Many things were trimmed otherwise this would be a 4 hour movie. Many things were also changed to give the movie a fast pace. I think what matters is the feel of the movie and that works well for Hanks, Brown and company.

There are some things in the book that would appear very implausible in the movie form. I am not giving any spoilers, except to say the ending of the movie is handled in a slightly different way. How Leonardo Vetra was found is also different. Those who see the movie might be interested in reading the book to get the full details of the story. Some minor details are are also cut from the movie.

Although they did film in Rome, they had to recreate interior shots. Since I went on a walking tour of Rome the day before the movie I can say that the interior sites are authentic in look and feel. Kohler is not in the movie and not much is shown about CERN. Hanks does a good job and there are some interesting scenes involving the Vatican archives. Of course they had no access to that area and I am not sure if anyone actually knows what the Vatican archives look like. Eyelet Zurer has her break in this movie as Victoria Vetra and does a good job as eye candy for Hanks.

This movie should be received better by the critics and public, but you never know. Ron Howard mentioned several times in interviews and as we saw him and the cast before the movie, that this is just a movie.
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not very good adaptation
bknownst6929 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Ron Howard's movie does not do justice to a pretty good novel. I was very disappointed by his cutting major characters and themes of the book. The movie does not go into any detail about the major theme of the book and why the villain did what he did. So many changes were made it is arguable as to whether or not the movie is based on Mr. Brown's book or just borrowed a few ideas from it. Anyone who enjoyed the novel will be disheartened by all the changes that make the movie confusing rather intriguing. The movie starts out with a scene slightly similar to one that takes place much further on in the book. The head of the scientific research center, who was a major character in the book, is completely eliminated. The British writer and camera person are not in the movie at all and I don't recall them mentioning the relationship between the female star and the murdered scientist who had 2 careers that seemed to be at odds but are a major reason for his anti - matter research. Nor do they even point out the real cause for the pope being killed.
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Slicker and more entertaining than Da Vinci
Stampsfightclub16 June 2009
Symbologist Robert Langdon (Hanks) is called to Rome to help decipher the mystery behind the Illuminati before a new science experiment blows up the city.

The Da Vinci Code broke records in 2006 but for the vast majority of Dan Brown followers it did not do his award winning book justice and though running at a good 2 and a half hours, seemed to bore many.

Having read the book, I was perhaps one of the few who enjoyed Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou attempt to solve the mystery of the murder in the Louvre but for Angels and Demons the scales were raised once more as lead star and director return.

Having asked around, most people seem to prefer Angels and Demons to The Da Vinci code for an entertaining read and it seems as critiques and fans, whilst still not fully justified, prefer this latest adaptation to the 2006 release.

This Howard picture certainly has a more clinical energy and exercise to it as unlike Da Vinci, Tom Hanks' Robert Langdon has only one night to solve the mysterious activities of the forgotten Illuminati in the Vatican and because of the time limitations, the action and desperation up the ante and deliver an excitement that certainly beats The Da Vinci code but also generates plenty of twists and stunning murder sequences.

The interesting factor of this 2009 release is the constant elements being justified for the murders. Earth, wind, water and fire are all included in drastic and powerful sequences to pronounce a feeling of overall power to the situation.

This really does justify the tag of thriller with a constant tension and sharp drama with the issues and beliefs once more given a full working over.

Just like 3 years ago, there are many debates and discoveries of symbols once believed to be lost forever and Langdon is again the key character to show everyone the light in and amongst the controversy of other pressing circumstances.

It is fair to say Dan Brown is a complex writer; he certainly likes to cram issues and dramas in amongst his action and thrilling sequences. As well as trying to discover the Illuminati, there is also the scenario of the election of a new pope, the dealings with a new scientific experiment and the power of Religion is again present. All interesting to discover and listen to, if occasionally the debates and dialogue tend to send your mind drifting but as there is so much in the novel, this was always likely.

Ron Howard, who kept a frankly ordinary type of direction rolling in Da Vinci, returns in perhaps the worst way possible. His jerky ever moving camera styling does nothing to keep the pressure up, and we can never fully accept what is happening on screen thanks to this frankly awfully portrayed style. He is certainly no Paul Greengrass and this is by no means Bourne.

Slick and stylized this is faster and more interesting than Da Vinci
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More interesting than Da Vinci Code.
helmutty16 May 2009
Angels and Demons is not too bad, it comes in a form of entertainment. It is more intense than Da Vinci Code. I remembered that I had to pry my eyes open during the middle part of Da Vinci Code. It is long, not much suspense and consists of babbling about. Yawn. But Angels & Demons, the sequel, is more intense, has more suspense and action. Tom Hanks gets not only to exercise his brain but also his legs. The adventure requires him to move from one place to another.

The story: Tom Hanks plays symbologist Robert Langdon. He has to solve a murder and at the same time, prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican. This time, he has Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) to help him solve the mystery. The mystery plot and intense peril scenes kept me on the seat. Hans Zimmer's beautiful score makes the movie more epic. The adventure is an intense ride but not as intense as I thought. The sets are amazing too.

Overall: Fans of the book will flock the cinemas to catch this. Fans of the previous movie, Da Vinci Code, should also catch this. Those who like thrillers, this one may suit. This is supposed to be a fictional thriller which is not to be taken seriously.
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