Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Angels & Demons (2009)

Starring Tom Hanks, Ayelet Zurer, Ewan McGregor, et al
Rated PG-13, 138 minutes

“Angels & Demons” is the follow-up movie to “The Da Vinci Code.” It’s based on a prequel book to the Dan Brown best-seller. Tom Hanks returns as Dr. Robert Langdon, using his knowledge of symbols and Catholic history to solve a crime in progress.

Vittoria Vetra (Zurer) and her father work as physicists, creating the world’s first example of anti-matter. Quickly, it falls into the wrong hands. Vatican officials peg the anti-Catholic Illuminati, and get Langdon to fly out and figure out the puzzle. At the same time, the pope has died and a new one has to be elected. Four papal candidates are taken hostage by the Illuminati who threaten to kill them all, and use the anti-matter to obliterate the city.

The drama is cliché, but still fun to watch. Tom Hanks does a good Tom Hanks and the settings are beautiful. It’s Vatican City, ancient architecture, of course it’s beautiful. Given that, you forgive Langdon being too smart for the room and getting his way far too easily. The movie manages to even rise above those issues in the final third or so, where it gets away from the same old same old.

Like the character of Langdon, “Angels & Demons” cleverly tows the line of taking one side or the other in the science vs. faith battle. Both camps are given credit, as well as criticism.


There was very noticeable use of ADR peppering the first third that was distracting. ADR, or Automated Dialogue Replacement, simply means dubbing in voiceovers. It made things feel slapdash, but thankfully did not persist outside of these earlier scenes. I didn’t see “Da Vinci Code,” or read the book. But now I’m willing to give that film, and any possible sequels, a look.

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