Theatrical Review: Angels & Demons

The Pope has died, and as the Vatican prepares to name his successor from four possible candidates, they find themselves under attack and their candidates kidnapped by what appears to be a resurrection of The Illuminati. Now, Professor Robert Langdon finds himself recruited by The Vatican, even after his last escapade with them, in order to save the kidnapped and ultimately Vatican City.

That’s a real simplified premise for Angels & Demons, Ron Howard’s sequel to The Da Vinci Code both adaptations of Dan Brown’s books, and at least in my opinion, a better movie than The Da Vinci Code.

Howard packs quite a bit in this film and even with a 2 hour and 20 minute run time, it runs at a pretty brisk pace, especially in comparison to the prior film, and the main reason for that is more a focus on keeping this closer to an action film, and it doesn’t hurt here at all.

Tom Hanks returns to play the part of Langdon, and while this is no real stretch of Hanks’ skills, he’s rock solid in the part. He’s backed up with an international cast including Ewan McGregor, Avelut Zurer, Stellan Skarsgard and Armin Mueller-Stahl and they all do what’s asked of them here pretty well, especially McGregor and Skarsgard, though really this doesn’t necessarily ask that much of them, other than to fill the stock parts of a thriller.

I’ve not read the books, so I can’t say anything as to how faithful they are. And even though I enjoyed this, I do have one complaint and that’s that it’s red herring ending is a little too obvious when it happens- this moment happens, seems like it could be logical, but deep down you know it’s not and that more has to come about . It still works here, but just seems a little too familiar.

Still though, Angels & Demons is a nice diversion and I do recommend it, but your mileage may vary depending on what you thought of both the books and the prior adaptation of The Da Vinci Code. From what I’ve read, it you’re expecting a hardcore adaptation, you might really be disappointed. I wouldn’t really say that this is “must see” summer movie viewing, but still I had a good time with it.

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

17. May 2009 by Darren Goodhart
Categories: Text Reviews, Theatrical Review | Leave a comment

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