Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Angels and Demons

Angels & Demons

Review by Patrick Hodges

When Dan Brown wrote The Da Vinci Code in the early part of this decade, it sparked a whole heap of controversy, dealing as it did with the story of Jesus Christ and his origins.  The full-screen adaptation became a success, in great part I think, because of said controversy.  Well, that and having Tom Hanks, one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, playing the main character didn’t hurt matters either.

Angels and Demons, the second story in the Robert Langdon saga, did not come with any controversy whatsoever, and perhaps that is the reason why the film didn’t do quite so well.  Which is a shame, because the story is actually quite good, if a little far-fetched:  a beloved Pope has died, and the Vatican is now beginning the procedure (known as Conclave) to select a new pontiff.  However, when the four Cardinals who are the favorites to take that post are kidnapped, Langdon is flown in to help figure out why.

For you see, the kidnapper claims to be a member of the Illuminati, a secret cult of scientists who were all but exterminated centuries before by the Church, in the age-old antagonistic battle of science vs. religion.  To make matters worse, it would seem that the kidnapper has manufactured a bomb out of a substance called “anti-matter”, which was stolen from a nearby lab at around the same time.  One Cardinal is to be executed publicly every hour starting at 8pm, and the bomb will eradicate the Vatican at midnight.

Using his considerable knowledge, the resources of the Vatican and the help of a pretty physicist (Ayelet Zurer), Robert must rush through the streets of Rome trying to locate the missing Cardinals – and the bomb – before it’s too late, while trying to also figure out just who is behind all this.

It is a very entertaining story, much like National Treasure was.  Trudging through history, and using its significances to follow the bread crumbs from place to place is quite exciting, and given the threat of imminent destruction, quite tense.  Director Ron Howard gets yet another good performance from Hanks, as well as a very admirable supporting cast, including Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgaard and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

The whole plot is rather preposterous, of course, but then, weren’t most of the classic Bond films just as preposterous?  That didn’t make them any less entertaining, and Angels and Demons made for a good two hours of movie-going fun.

4 / 5 stars


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