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Angels & Demons
Genre Thriller
Year: 2009
 
Review:

Angels & Demons is the follow-up to the movie adaptation that capped the global phenomenon known as The Da Vinci Code. Tom Hanks reprises his role as Robert Langdon and Ron Howard takes the director’s chair again. This time the Da Vinci Code team are prepared and armed with criticism from their previous project, making Angels & Demons an action/thriller with a revenge plot between the Catholic Church and the Illuminati. If an age-old vendetta wasn’t enough, the stakes are raised by a hi-tech bomb ready to obliterate the Vatican City, as the Cardinals attend a Conclave in the Pope’s wake to elect his replacement. Robert Langdon finds himself caught in the middle of the fiasco, balancing the scales of Science and Religion in a valiant attempt to save the Catholic Church and restore order to the Vatican City. Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons is envisioned and adapted into an entertaining movie akin to National Treasure, with remnants from The Da Vinci Code.

Angels & Demons boasts an all-star cast including: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skargard, Ayelet Zurer and Armin Mueller-Stahl. Howard uses the script to good effect, antagonising each of the main cast at one point in the film. The casting is excellent and generates an international flavour to the cataclysmic events in the Vatican City. Hanks is in fine form as Langdon, playing into a more refined and serious rendition of Nicolas Cage in National Treasure. McGregor’s understated role is reminiscent of Edward Norton in his performance with hints of Primal Fear. Stellan Skargard’s character is primed and Skargard keeps the audience guessing. Zurer is the newest face to the cast and adds some firepower, while Mueller-Stahl commands an interesting position as Cardinal Strauss. The performances add to a whirlwind of a plot as each climax builds to the grand finale. This is all orchestrated by Ron Howard, whose eye is more attuned to the action and whose mind is more in-line with the adaptation.

Angels & Demons is a terrific story that combines major plot narratives from time-bombs, serial killers and treasure hunters into one epic adventure. The magnitude of the story is in its timeless battle between Science and Religion, which is brought down to earth by a theft and kidnapping. The tables turn at key intervals, the twists and turns make the movie exciting and the beautiful Roman backdrop and history make the whole piece much more entertaining. Angels & Demons is as its title would suggest full of angels and demons. The angels illuminate themselves in the direction, story, setting and performances. However, the demons present themselves in the film’s length in terms of time and its lavish script. The movie kicks off with several subplots worthy of main plots being jostled about and it’s almost ambitious to imagine justifiably concluding the film in anything short of 2 hours. Angels & Demons feels about 20 minutes too long. This could be attributed to the tirade of tension and suspense from 15 minutes in, or perhaps the script was too bloated with characters, historical/spiritual references and snowball climaxes. Either way, Angels & Demons is too bottom-heavy and this diminishes the overall enjoyment of the film. The movie will no doubt generate mixed reactions with some people still sour after The Da Vinci Code and others hailing this as the antidote. Whatever your stance, you’ll finish the movie feeling that you got your money’s worth.

The bottom line: Entertaining.

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