When the Pope passes away, a conclave of the highest-ranking bishops gather to decide who should be the next Holy Father of the Catholic Church. As they gather, four of the most prominent candidates are kidnapped and only one clue is left for the Vatican investigative team, a symbol. With the threat of each of them been killed in the hours leading up to midnight during the conclave, the investigative team turn to the one man who might be able to decipher what is going on, Robert Langdon (Hanks) but with time running out can he discover what is Vatican is up against and stop the destruction of the centre of the Catholic faith.
With the success of ‘The Da Vinci Code’, cinema had a new hero but can the return of Robert Langdon make the symbologist the action star?
When Dan Brown’s controversial novel ‘The Da Vinci Code’ became one of the best selling novel’s of all time, Hollywood was bound to take notice. Director Ron Howard, producer Brian Glazer and star Tom Hanks did just that and formulated one of the biggest hits of 2006. Money talks of course, so a sequel was always on the cards and Howard, Glazer and Hanks had somewhere to go straight away, the first novel in the series ‘Angels & Demons’.
Mixing science with religion worked so well in ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and we return to the world of the Catholic faith again but this time there are no controversial questions to pose and answer. The story takes place after the death of Pope Pius XVI, as the College of Cardinals gather for a papal conclave to select the next head of the Catholic Church. With Saint Peter’s Square filled with the masses waiting for the announcement. Four of the Vatican’s most likely candidates are kidnapped by a secret, underground society called the Illuminati. The society announces that each of them will be killed between 8:00pm and midnight before detonating an antimatter bomb from within Vatican City. Desperate to interpret their only cue, an Illuminati symbol, they call upon the man who has written the most up to date text on the secret society, Robert Langdon. This mix of history and science should have worked like before but unfortunately, it doesn’t.
The problem is the structure of the story. With a time limit set, Langdon and the Vatican authorities have to solve the clues to discover where the four cardinals are going to be murdered and find the bomb. This is fine but what Ron Howard and his creative time deliver is basically a chase sequel followed by a pause to explain the plot and then chase sequence, and so on and so on until the big reveal at the end. The problem is that this is extremely repetitive and because of the amount of detail given away by the characters, you can guess exactly who is the bad guy and how it is going to end.
This predictability takes away from the performances of a good ensemble cast. Tom Hanks returns, sans mullet, as Robert Langdon and is really getting to grips with the role. His supporting cast of Stellan Skarsgard as Vatican police Commander Richter, Peirfrancesco Favino as Inspector Olivetti, Armin Mueller-Stahl as Cardinal Strauss and Ayelet Zurer as antimatter scientist Vittoria Vetra. Ewan McGregor’s Camerlengo Patrick McKenna is a little disappointing however, as the Scottish actor struggles to make a convincing Irish priest with his own agenda.
‘Angels & Demons’ is a disappointment. While the source material might not be as strong or controversial as ‘The Da Vinci Code’, the pieces where there to produce a decent thriller but instead you will understand the symbols that lead you to a predictable conclusion.
PICTURE & SOUND
The Blu-Ray disc is presented in High Definition wide screen 2:35:1 up to 1080p, with Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound.
The Path of Illumination
This interactive investigation into the locations in Rome that pointed the way to the Path of Illumination, includes interviews, behind the scenes footage, knowledge and location information.
Rome was not built in a day (17.30 mins/High Definition)
Director Ron Howard, producer Todd Powell, production designer Allan Cameron and visual effects supervisor Angus Bickerton talk about recreating key location in Rome and the Vatican and blending them seamlessly into movie.
CERN: Pushing the Frontiers of Knowledge (14.52 mins/High Definition)
Director Ron Howard and Tom Hanks take a look at the particle physics Lab that is pushing the boundaries of science to its very limits.
Angels & Demons: The Full Story (9.46 mins/High Definition)
Director Ron Howard, novelist Dan Brown and star Tom Hanks talk about filming in Rome, recreating the Vatican and building the sets to bring ‘Angels & Demons’ to the big screen.
A new function of BD-Live, which allows you and friends to instant message during the movie
Place the Blu-Ray in an Internet enabled player or PS3 and connect to receive extra content for the film
The Blu-Ray treatment for ‘Angels & Demons’ is one that fans should enjoy. The inclusion of the extended cut (7 minutes of extra footage) and a good collection of featurettes make up for the lack of a commentary track.
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