Friday, October 28, 2016

Movie Review: "Angels & Demons" (2009)

Director: Ron Howard
Year: 2009
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 18 minutes

Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is contacted by the Vatican to aid in the investigation of four kidnapped Preferiti and a stolen container of antimatter that will be used to blow up Vatican city.

See? The Illuminati ARE real!

"Angels & Demons" is the sequel to the 2006 film "The Da Vinci Code." This installment is once again directed by Ron Howard and is based on a Dan Brown novel of the same name, though with the books, "The Da Vinci Code" is the sequel to "Angels & Demons." Tom Hanks returns as symbologist Robert Langdon, who has been tapped by the Vatican to help in the investigation to locate the recently kidnapped Preferiti, the leading candidates to become the new Pope. Also stolen was a small fragment of antimatter created by the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, something a physicist has recently died for. This antimatter will be used to blow up Vatican city if the puzzle of the kidnappers is not unraveled. Joining Hanks are Ewan McGregor as Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, Stellan SkarsgÄrd as Commander Richter, a member of the Swiss guard, Ayelet Zurer as Vittoria Vetra, Langdon's attractive foreign scientist sidekick, and Pierfrancsco Favino as Inspector Olivetti, who helps Langdon and Vetra in their quest.

Much like the first film, "Angles & Demons" is loaded with jargon and exposition, though to a slightly lesser degree than its predecessor. The action and excitement is also revved up a bit as the pacing is slightly faster and the story involves a lot more intrigue. In the tradition of Dan Brown, the story is steeped in conspiracy theories about secret societies, or in this case, the Illuminati. We watch Langdon unravel the all-too convenient clues trying to decode the mystery of who is actually behind the threat and the kidnappings. He must discover if it is actually the Illuminati, or if someone with a more personal vendetta is pulling the strings. Tom Hanks does a fine job as always and the supporting cast is also very solid here. The cast and acting have never really been a problem for us, it's simply in the execution where things fall apart. The story is too implausible, and the ending also does feel a bit dragged out with a few false finishes. Again, this film is not as dragged out as its predecessor, it's just our own symbolic pattern we've uncovered while watching this series.

"Angels & Demons" remains on par with "The Da Vinci Code," if not just slightly better. It still can't rise above the same problems Howard faced in 2006 when adapting Brown's other novel: the very convenient exposition that makes the story all too easy, the difficulties adapting certain elements from page to screen, and the lack of any real mystery.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 37%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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