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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Tom Hanks
Ewan McGregor
Stellan Skarsgard
Ayelet Zurer.
Directors
Ron Howard.
Screenwriters
Akiva Goldsman
David Koepp.
Running Time
138 mins minutes

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Angels And Demons
Shorter hair = better movie


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Plot
As a conclave meets to elect a new Pope, symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is summoned to Rome. Kidnapped cardinals are murdered hourly, seemingly by the ancient Illuminati, building up to the detonation of an anti-matter bomb which will destroy Vatican City. Langdon has to follow a secret path through Rome to save the Catholic church.


Review
Angels And Demons
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Ron Howard’s film of Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code ranks among the most profitable films of the decade, racking up Harry Potter or Batman-size grosses – yet you’d be hard put to find anyone, including many fans of Dan Brown’s books, who actually liked it. Nevertheless, the numbers make so much sense that this sequel, reuniting Howard with star Tom Hanks (but not, sadly, Audrey Tautou), was inevitable.

Given that it combines religious, scientific, political, art historical and academic lunacy in one package, Angels & Demons is at least more entertaining than the dreary, talky Da Vinci Code. This time out, heroic Harvard academic and devout agnostic Robert Langdon (a trim Hanks) has only an evening to solve a series of puzzles which have thwarted thinkers for centuries, as Se7en-style mangled corpses (cardinals killed by the four elements) are delivered on the hour before the possible destruction of the entire Vatican by anti-matter stolen from the CERN Large Hadron Collider. It’s still a runabout with footnotes about clues embedded in Bernini statues, as if Renaissance art were all on a level with Where’s Wally, but at least it’s more urgent than last time.

However, there are problems with the film – scripted by David Koepp, who has a track record with wrestling best-sellers into shape (Jurassic Park), and Akiva Goldsman, whose undeserved Beautiful Mind Oscar still doesn’t outweigh Schumacher Batfilm credits – that wouldn’t get past development if they weren’t ported over from a presold hit book (though they do drop the Pope’s clone son angle). Every supporting character acts like an unhelpful idiot to keep the plot stirring, especially the fighting Irish deputy Pope (Ewan McGregor) and the suspicious Swiss Guard (Stellan Skarsgaard). Yet again, a seemingly all-powerful conspiracy seems to consist of two whole evil guys, with one solitary unimpressive hitman (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) pulling off crimes SPECTRE wouldn’t have the manpower to commit.

None of this would matter if Howard didn’t direct at such an even, respectable plod -- with time-outs for lectures delivered in gorgeous sets and locations representing the depths of the Vatican and various Roman tourist attractions. It has okay escapes-from-dire-peril and a you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it Ewan-in-a-chopper trick in the penultimate climax, but material as insane as this cries out for a crackpot visionary like Dario Argento or Richard Stanley.


Verdict
More entertaining than The Da Vinci Code, but still tosh.


Reviewed by Kim Newman


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Average user rating for Angels And Demons
Empire Star Rating

Angels & Demons Review

Angels and Demons is a fast-paced thrill ride, and an improvement on the last Dan Brown adaptation the talky and dreary Da Vinci Code, but the storyline too often wavers between implausible and ridiculous, and does not translate effectively to the big screen. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 21:47, 11 March 2012 | Report This Post


Awful

The one star is for the size of ROn Howard's balls for putting in the Ewan helicopter (hilarious) scene. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by chris wootton at 13:01, 17 March 2011 | Report This Post


Slightly better than its predecessor

Although something still feels largly wrong, this film manages to correct the mistakes of The Da Vinci Code, if ever so slightly. This time round, there's actually some fun to be had thanks to Koepp's and Goldman's experienced pens, and Tom Hanks is definitely more at home with his role. This increase in confidence is lukcily also evident in Ron Howard, who delivers a taut and tense thriller which manages to keep hold of your attention all the way through. In reality, it's actually very hard to... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by djphilips at 17:04, 08 April 2010 | Report This Post


Surprised but not Shocked

I have not seen or read the Da Vinci Code of the book of this film, and have no intention of doing so. I went to watch this film with my wife, who had. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it at all, it had been slated by the press and the content didn't inspire me at all. I was, however, surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It's not something I'll be running out to buy on DVD, but I'm glad I saw it on the big screen with the dark and sinistre side of Rome and the Vatican given good space in what is a mys... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by aahdlee at 15:36, 16 January 2010 | Report This Post


brilliant

it's over the top sure but come on this is really entertaining. i thought the book was good untill the rubbish revelation, but had a sneaking suspicion it would work as a film. well what do you know. brilliant. this is coming from someone who hated the adaptation of the da vinci code by the way. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by phil blakeman at 14:58, 13 October 2009 | Report This Post


Ok...but The Da Vinci Code was better

I watched Angels and Demons at the weekend after buying it from HMV. After reading negative reviews all over the place, I thought I'd give it a chance. I've read the book, and thought with a few exceptions, it kept pretty true to the novel. Tom Hanks was ok this time round as Robert Langdon, but I felt he needed to inject a bit more life into the character. I got the feeling that he was frustrated and at some points, bored of having to provide the expostition of the film. If thats how LAngdo... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jimlovesfilm at 15:42, 22 September 2009 | Report This Post


Why all the bad press for these films?!

I have to say I don't understand the harsh words these filsm get. I absolutley loved The Da Vinci Code, especially the extended version. Saw Angels & Demons last night and throroughly enjoyed it. Agree that the books were better in both cases (apart from the 'James Bond' style helicopter escape by Langdon which I am delighted to say was left out of A & D movie!!) but I will give thumbs up to Ron Howard and team for both movies. Bring on The Lost Symbol...... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Lycan at 12:11, 21 September 2009 | Report This Post


Entertaining But Over The Top.

Never read the books or seen The Da Vinci Code but my sister's husband told us we had to see Angels And Demons. So I rented it out on Blu-Ray and watched it last night, yes it's entertaining and better than some movies that have been relased lately. But it's over the top, far fetched and too long to make things sense in a numb bumming two hours and twenty minutes. Sure, the cast do a good job and the settings are beautiful to look at but it's not one to keep and watch again and again. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 09:27, 20 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Entertaining but Ridiculous

Vastly underrated, unlike Da Vinci Code I hadn't read the novel beforehand, and watching with an open mind (and not a mind for criticism of misplaced facts like many) found I thorughly enjoyed it. Fairly surprised with a few characters as well,I thought the twist was decent - not with the revelation of the villain, but more the identities of the good guys. ... More

Posted by Drone at 07:25, 14 September 2009 | Report This Post


Entertaining but Ridiculous

this film is reasonably entertaining but obviously stupid. The twist at the end is hilarious for all the wrong reasons. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by THE DALTONATOR at 12:39, 08 September 2009 | Report This Post


the most boring movie of the most fastest movies

This is an art made a 2 hours movie looks like 10 hours. I didn't read a book but this movie is totally bad - Tom Hanks is talking and running, Ayelet Zurer is just walking and looks like a background with tits. Plot? Well- talking, walking, running, killing... Boring. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ARmy2510 at 01:19, 08 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Angels And Demons

Maybe it's because I've read the book so I know the story, but I didn't find Angels & Demons had enough suspense or thrills. Maybe the kind of mystery /  detective style story works better in a book, as you get more of the history and detail as the story grows and you feel more involved, but the screenplay had to cut a lot of detail out, and make a lot of changes, leaving me feeling like I just wasn't drawn into the action. The story felt a little rushed, but still not exciting.... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Gamba at 11:51, 26 June 2009 | Report This Post


erm...

It's better than Da Vinci Code but I can't help but think that if it wasn't written by Dan Brown, it might get better reviews? Against by better judgment, I actually enjoyed this film and found it rather intriguing. Yes, it does require suspending (huge amounts of) disbelief but since when is that a bad thing? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jenzy at 20:43, 11 June 2009 | Report This Post


Meh.

Entertaining, if nonsensical, 2 hours. Ron Howard still misses the point of these films though - they're *detective* stories at heart, so for the love of God (or whatever you believe in) can't you just let the audience *in*? Give us a chance to do some working out of something, at some point. We're supposed to be there WITH Langdon, but Howard insists on having us be LED by him (plus bonus clunky dialogue!). Meh. "Robert Langdon and The Kingdom of the 3rd Religious Debate", or whatever, ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Nakatomi at 22:11, 08 June 2009 | Report This Post


Better than National Treasure

Sa this movie last night, having never read any of the books, and it kept my attention of the whole running time, partly due to the pace of the movie, and the ( attempted ) twists - but not that hard to predict. Feel the ~Empire 2 stars is a bit harsh, as it is just summer blockbuster lite history, but entertaining non the less. Much better than Knowing, and deserves a better score than that pile of turd. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by IanGraham at 09:48, 31 May 2009 | Report This Post


As dull as Da Vinci

Religious mumbo jumbo, Tom Hanks holding hands or being driven leisurely around Rome is not exciting. The fountain sequence was almost tense. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Gold Digger at 21:50, 30 May 2009 | Report This Post


Two stars? That's not fair. Compared to the Da Vinci Code, this is Oscar-worthy. I thought this was hugely enjoyable, though a bit slow at first. It was extremely close to the book, with actors better suited to the parts. At this rate, The Lost Symbol should be incredible.. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Pepsi99 at 21:00, 29 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: It could just be me, but...

Saw this a couple of days ago with a friend of mine who managed to convince me to go, I haven't read any of the books and I thought The DaVinci Code film was dull as fuck, but he was enthusiastic and in my weakened, hangover-plagued state due to heavy partying the night before, I caved. But, surprise, surprise, it was fucking shit too. A ludicrous premise, dumbly directed, acted, written and designed. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Kazuya at 19:52, 29 May 2009 | Report This Post


It could just be me, but...

Are Ron Howard's adaptations getting slated because there is an ongoing consensus that Dan Brown's books were badly written and incoherent? Yes, it does overtly explain everything throughout the film, but the film never comes to a standstill. Yes, it is far fetched at times. But to strip it bare, Angels & Demons is a conspiracy theory/murder mystery film which I found quite intriguing throughout. Have films like The Dark Knight (the best cinematic experience I've had) set the bar too high, l... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The Real Alex Young at 18:33, 27 May 2009 | Report This Post


it looks like there have been many opinions about this film, bouncing up and down but i think 2 stars probably is a bit generous...having read the book countless times and fresh from experiencing the direness of the da vinci code movie i was expecting a more meaty installment. i wasnt disappointed in that sense, it was the fact that so many things were changed, actual facts of the book were changed. an example is the casting agency opted for a scottish man to play an irish camerlengo, who in th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mitchski88 at 15:31, 27 May 2009 | Report This Post


Rome Travelogue

Now, I was surprised at this. I thought that Angels and Demons was a much better book than the Da Vinci Code, but that the DVC film was better. Possibly because A&D film took so many liberties with the text of the book, and because the female lead role was so diminished that it became all but superfluous. Still an enjoyable couple of hours of 'film of the airport page turner novel' nonsense, and it reinforced my determination to return to Rome. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by peterelson at 13:55, 26 May 2009 | Report This Post


Rome Travelogue

Now, I was surprised at this. I thought that Angels and Demons was a much better book than the Da Vinci Code, but that the DVC film was better. Possibly because A&D film took so many liberties with the text of the book, and because the female lead role was so diminished that it became all but superfluous. Still an enjoyable couple of hours of 'film of the airport page turner novel' nonsense, and it reinforced my determination to return to Rome. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by peterelson at 13:55, 26 May 2009 | Report This Post


Not that bad

I have read both Robert Langdon books and I thought Angels and Demon's was by far the better. It's an interresting story with some good thrills and chills but towards the end it all becomes a bit unbelievable. Same goes for the movie. Tom hanks is much better in this than in The Da Vinci Code. It all looks gorgeous and I was entertained. No more , no less. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dutchSith at 12:29, 25 May 2009 | Report This Post


Not that bad

I have read both Robert Langdon books and I thought Angels and Demon's was by far the better. It's an interresting story with some good thrills and chills but towards the end it all becomes a bit unbelievable. Same goes for the movie. Tom hanks is much better in this than in The Da Vinci Code. It all looks gorgeous and I was entertained. No more , no less. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dutchSith at 12:29, 25 May 2009 | Report This Post


MUCH BETTER EFFORT

I've read both Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons and loved both books. But I, like a lot of people I know, preferred the latter. While Da Vinci Code had the controversy, the explosive start was let down by the predictable ending. That book was always going to be hard to turn in to a film (It may have been better had it been treated like a series of 24). But Angels and Demons was different. After a slow start to the book (which the film, gratefully, leaves out), it then went at breakneck speed.... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by johnwhelan85 at 05:18, 23 May 2009 | Report This Post


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