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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Angels & Demons


Starring: Tom Hanks, Ayelet Zurer and Ewan McGregor
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 15
Available 14 September 2009

Expert symbologist Robert Langdon follows ancient clues on a heart-racing hunt through Rome to find the four Cardinals kidnapped by the deadly secret society, the Illuminati. With the Cardinals' lives on the line, and the Camerlengo desperate for help, Langdon embarks on a nonstop, action-packed race through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, and the most secretive vault on Earth...

Angels & Demons is based on the novel by Dan Brown and was directed by Ron Howard. It's the eagerly anticipated sequel (or prequel if you follow the chronological order of the books) to The Da Vinci Code and once again stars Tom Hanks as symbologist Robert Langdon.

When Pope Pius XVI dies, Langdon is called in by The Vatican to help track down the whereabouts of the four most likely successors to lead the Catholic Church. These men have been kidnapped by the Illuminati, a secret organisation that dates back at least 400-years. One of the four will be killed every hour, on the hour, with the final act being the release of a vial of antimatter, which will act like a huge bomb, which was previously stolen from CERN.

While this an enjoyable enough film, it's a strictly check your brain at the door affair. If you don't think too much, and instead just go with the it, you'll enjoy the rather silly plot. If you analyse it in any way the plot will collapse before your eyes. This is not a movie that can easily be watched more than once, as you'll soon notice the huge holes in the script. Like, as Langdon finds a hidden text in the Vatican archives, why did he not assume that it was an inside job? Why isn't Vittoria Vetra from CERN automatically a suspect? I won't spoil the movie by revealing whether she has anything to do with it, but she would have been one of my first suspects for having stolen the antimatter - she also shadows Langdon so she knows what he does. Other than that she doesn't actually do much apart from look pretty.

While on balance this is an entertaining movie, I couldn't help but be reminded of the first series of Messiah, the TV detective drama series starring Ken Stott. It involved killings along a similar vein, but was much better executed.

The one aspect that you can't fault this movie on is the cinematography and the CGI effects. This is one beautiful looking film.

There are two versions of the movie on the disc. You can choose from the Theatrical Cut (2 hr, 18 min, 37 sec) or the Extended Version (2 hr, 26 min, 15 sec), both of which incorporate Movie IQ text based info on the film.

Extras aren't as extensive as I was expecting. For starters there's no audio commentary. We get The Path of Illumination (a pretty interesting look at various elements of the five main locations in the film. This is presented as text based and video featurettes, and behind the scenes information); Rome Was Not Built in a Day (17 min, 30 sec which looks at the construction of the sets. The St. Peter's Square set is particularly impressive); CERN: Pushing the Frontiers of Knowledge (14 min, 52 sec look at the work undertaken at CERN. This includes an explanation of what the Large Hadron Collider's main purpose is and how antimatter can be created. It also looks at CERN's ethics and how they have an open door policy, as well as looking at how CERN was instrumental in the creation of the Internet); and Angels & Demons: The Full Story (9 min, 46 sec behind the scenes look at various aspects of the production, including shooting in Rome, costumes, cinematography and fire stunts. Hardly "the full story" but interesting enough). We also get the Cinechat applications which is on a lot of Blu-rays.

This is certainly more hit than miss, but there's very little here that will want to make you revisit the film any time soon.


Darren Rea

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