“Angels & Demons” is worth seeing, even for those who haven’t read the Dan Brown novel of the same title. It has thrill moments, chill moments and surprising revelations. Who would have ever thought Ewan McGregor could pull off playing a church official?
In the second movie of the “Da Vinci Code” franchise, Tom Hanks returns as Harvard professor Robert Langdon, a cheeky historic symbolist. After the sudden death of the Pope and the threat of the Illuminati (a secret society that in the film, seeks vengeance on the Church) destroying the Vatican with an antimatter bomb, Langdon is asked to follow a historic trail dating back 400 years that will hopefully lead to the deadly bomb.
Now that I think of it, the plot sounds sort of ridiculous and as usual, features some loop holes. For example, why would anyone go out of their way to capture four cardinals and murder them separately if they were eventually planning on destroying the entire Vatican? Then again, it does make for a thrilling movie.
For those who haven’t seen the 2006 hit “The Da Vinci Code,” don’t worry, you can walk into “Angels & Demons” without knowing a single thing about the Mona Lisa. The film is based on the novel that was published before “The Da Vinci Code” and takes place before as well.
And if you did see “The Da Vinci Code” and liked the film, odds are you’ll enjoy this movie as well, but it won’t be due to plot similarities (the story-line in “Angels & Demons” is completely different). But it might be because both films have the same “feel” to them. This makes sense since both films share the same director (Ron Howard) and protagonist (Tom Hanks).
Howard does a fantastic job in terms of cinematography. Just like “The Da Vinci Code,” you get an artistic showing of the city, which for “Angel & Demons,” the focus is on Rome and the Vatican. Watching this film is like watching a movie through paintings: every detail is accounted for. And the detailed shots in this movie are very impressive, especially for a film that was denied shooting scenes inside the Vatican (where a majority of the movie takes place). Everything looks legitimate and real.
As for Tom Hanks, well it’s Tom Hanks, you can always expect a lot from the guy. This role doesn’t require an Academy Award Winning performance from Hanks, but as the lead it requires him to carry this movie — and he carries it well.
Although Audrey Tautou does not return in “Angel and Demons” (the character she plays isn’t in the book), Ayelet Zurer plays Vittoria Vetra, pretty much the only female in the movie. Vittoria is a tough-minded Italian physicist (which Zurer pulls off) who accompanies Langdon in the quest to find the antimatter bomb.
But the standout performance by far is Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (although Armin Mueller-Stahl comes close with his Yoda-like voice). McGregor’s character is extremely interesting and at times, also carries the movie.
“Angel & Demons” vaguely touches on the science vs. religion and mind vs. body themes but at the end of the day, it’s just a cool adventure movie. It will have your attention from the beginning to the end, and most importantly, doesn’t feature the slow pace of “The Da Vinci Code” (or the 10 different scenes where it could have ended).