Drama / Action
 

Angels & Demons

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures


Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            When my friend asked me if I wanted to see the movie Angels & Demons, starring Tom Hanks, Ayelet Zurer and Ewan McGregor, I balked a little.  After all, I hadn’t seen The DaVinci Code, the first movie in the series, and I hadn’t read the book by Dan Brown that the film was based on.  Plus, although I love Ewan McGregor, I am not a huge Tom Hanks fan and Tom Hanks is the main star of the movie.  But my buddy seemed to really want to see the film and I didn’t really have anything planned that day, so I said yes.

            In this installment of the series, a scientist, who just happens to also be a priest, is murdered and the antimatter he was helping to create is stolen.  Meanwhile, in Vatican City, the Pope has just died and arrangements are being made to elect a successor.  Suddenly, the antimatter turns up, connected to the kidnapping of four Cardinals on the “preferred list” for election to Pope.  The Vatican receives a message that the Cardinals will soon be murdered and the antimatter, hidden in a secret location, allowed to reach an unstable level.  Clues in the message seem to hint at the possibility that this is a revenge mission conducted by the Illuminati, a secret society of scientists and artists whose teachings were suppressed by the Church in horrific ways.

            Harvard Professor Robert Langdon is brought to Rome due to his expertise in religious symbology and his vast knowledge of the Illuminati.  Together with Vittoria Vetra, a lead scientist in the antimatter project, and the various resources of the Vatican which include the Swiss Guard and the Gendarme, Professor Langdon must find a way to decipher the symbols and hints offered within the original kidnapping message and find the Cardinals before they are murdered and the antimatter before it destroys Vatican City.

            The novel upon which this movie is based actually comes before The DaVinci Code.  However, for movie purposes, Angels & Demons was created as a sequel to The DaVinci Code movie.  This was a difference I did notice, knowing the order of the novels written by Dan Brown, but having never read the novel itself, I was oblivious to any other differences between novel and movie.  I thought that I would be lost, not having read the books or seen the original film, but surprisingly, I fell right into things and understood everything perfectly.  In fact, I found myself enjoying this film immensely.

            The film had everything I enjoy in an action film - a good storyline, a mystery that you can solve along with the main characters and tons of action.  The action sequences were terrific and numerous once they got started - the slower and defining start made the action sequences much more spectacular.  The storyline, though a little on the fantastic side in some instances, was completely believable in other instances - the perfect balance between fantasy and reality that makes one question what exactly is the fantasy and what is the reality.  I loved the fact that this movie made you think about things.  Even after the film, I was still questioning some of the different theories about the Illuminati that were presented in the movie.  I was happy with the twists and turns of the film. 

            My friend is a huge fan of Dan Brown’s novels and she loved the film as well.  In fact, when the movie was over, numerous people in the theater actually applauded, something you don’t often see in your movie-going experiences.  If you are a fan of action films, movies that make you think or movies that contain mysteries you must solve along with the characters, then Angels & Demons is the movie for you.  It has all these things and more, including a rather believable cast - yes, I actually enjoyed Tom Hanks in his role which he performed quite admirably.  I would even go so far as to recommend spending the money to see this in the theater rather than waiting for it to reach the rental stores - I found it to be just that good.

 

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