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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
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Good 3 Stars
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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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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Angels And Demons
Empire Star Rating

Angels And Demons

this instalment hangs together better as a movie than its precursor; that is until things get silly, then ridiculous and then, just before the climax, downright absurd. For the first hour-and-a-half, Angels And Demons rights the wrongs that damned The Da Vinci Code. Gone are the heavy exposition scenes, where everything slowed down to tell the audience what is going on. But now the bad. Forgetting that one man could not perform such elaborate executions in under an hour in various parts o... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 21:08, 22 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

how was this better than Da vinci code? to me it was equally tedious. at least da vinci code had audrey tatou.... saw this the other night. really, i have nothing to say about it...it was there and then..it wasn't and i went home.... EDIT: Oh no..i  will say one thing...when the camera pans up to see Michelangelo's Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel...made me tingle...made me want to go to Rome right then and there....and be in awe of such genius as the work of Michelangelo.... More

Posted by dhowdy at 20:12, 22 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE:

Moody - perfectly acceptable to lust after a priest.  I cite Gabriel Bryne in Stigmata and Joaquin Phoenix in Quills as perfect examples.  Both I had impure thoughts about.  teehee p; Anyway as the camerlengo - Ewan was pretty good - he's a good enough actor to carry it off and he did embody much of the traits I imagined the camerlengo to have - passionate, good looking, bonkers underneath.  He wouldn't have been my first choice but he did the job of filling the ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by queen_sheba at 15:20, 22 May 2009 | Report This Post


Well worth seeing......

Well, we managed to eventually see this Film today, and were pleasantly suprised how enetertaining it is. Certainly a LOT better than the Da Vinci Code. O.K. its easy to criticise the whole plot, but at the end of the Film we came out very happy. So that is good enough for me !!!!!!....... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by n13roy at 22:35, 21 May 2009 | Report This Post


Angles and Demons

This film is getting some harsh reviews, which is unfair because whilst a lot of this is over-the-top the pacing is pretty good and the plot fairly interesting. Okay, so the clues are outlandish and coincidental but it's nice to see the effort has been put in to create them anyway. My main gripe really is that the film is far too long. I think this film is best viewed with an open mind and as a piece of science-fiction otherwise you'll dilute the entertainment, because if you go in ready to hate... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cluesy at 15:46, 21 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: An entertaining thriller....just not the great one it could have been

L: stephenhinton First and foremost Angels & Demons has lots missing from the book where pages upon pages seem to have been left on the script floor and for good reason otherwise it would have stretched into a 4 hour movie! And soon becomes apparent this where director Ron Howard seems to have changed tactics from the first offering of the Dan Brown franchise in that the Da Vinci code left you constantly confused at times as this doesn't and he serves up an action paced ave... More

Posted by Spider at 01:18, 21 May 2009 | Report This Post


An entertaining thriller....just not the great one it could have been

First and foremost Angels & Demons has lots missing from the book where pages upon pages seem to have been left on the script floor and for good reason otherwise it would have stretched into a 4 hour movie! And soon becomes apparent this where director Ron Howard seems to have changed tactics from the first offering of the Dan Brown franchise in that the Da Vinci code left you constantly confused at times as this doesn't and he serves up an action paced average thriller. The story cen... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stephenhinton at 23:38, 20 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Why are critics such crashing bore killjoys

Dan Brown's stuff either only works well in book form or is pretty rubbish generally-I can't answer that question as I haven't read either The Da Vinci Code or Angels And Demons.  Nevertheless,the film of Angels And Demons is definately better than it's predecessor-it's more entertaining and at least has a climax-but is still not much good.  Once again Tom Hanks runs around churches and the like following stupid coincidences and laughable clues,while another lone assassin does all the... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 21:28, 20 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Why are critics such crashing bore killjoys

on the whole a bit of enjoyable crap! i didnt mind the WFT moments, they made it enjoyable! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by howskeith at 15:18, 20 May 2009 | Report This Post


better then expected

Any film will be better then the badly written tosh that Brown produces. I read A&D years ago and it was so memorable I forgot it almost before I turned over the last page. So the film was a surprise and once you suspend belief it was okay, nothing more then that. But it moves faster then the DeVinci Code and although there are a few "hang on, surely he would have..." moments, this is not that bad a film - like the book, easy to forget but keeps you occupied for a couple of hour... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 15:02, 20 May 2009 | Report This Post


Not the DaVinci Bore!!

I was actually pleasantly surprised. A vastly superior film to the Davinci Code. Still mumbo-jumbo though but entertaining non - the - less. This film moves at a much faster pace(and it is better for it). Subtle humour abounds throughout. Characters you actually engage with, even care about. If like me you are non-plussed about religion you can go with an open mind and enjoy this film for the escapism it actually is. If you want a religious experience......get thee to a church! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kittybinks at 22:57, 19 May 2009 | Report This Post


Not the DaVinci Bore!!

I was actually pleasantly surprised. A vastly superior film to the Davinci Code. Still mumbo-jumbo though but entertaining non - the - less. This film moves at a much faster pace(and it is better for it). Subtle humour abounds throughout. Characters you actually engage with, even care about. If like me you are non-plussed about religion you can go with an open mind and enjoy this film for the escapism it actually is. If you want a religious experience......get thee to a church! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kittybinks at 22:54, 19 May 2009 | Report This Post


First film I ever walked out of...

This film is an insult, frankly. It cost me fifteen quid, and a night on the sofa cos she wasn't happy that I left for the toilet and didn't return. However, don't let me stop you; you may enjoy watching someone chasing churches whilst your intelligence is not only insulted but has its pockets picked and then receives a swift kick in the plums. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by drewbert_1700 at 20:47, 19 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE:

SPOILER AHEAD!   L: mab Translates to film better than the Da Vinci Code, but prepare to be disappointed if your a hardcore fan of the book, its not as faithful as it should be and this limits its plot and suspense. (By the way reviwer the camerlengo was the Pope's son by I.V.F, not a clone) sp; I`m going to see this tonight and would have appreciated you had warned us about the spoiler before you wrote it in your review about the camerlengo!lease think before you type spoiler... More

Posted by Cruisecontroller at 14:55, 19 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: People need to lighten up!

cGregor was far too nice to do something like that. p; Agreed, though they did need to change the mad ending from the book.... the assassin was boring and much more interesting in the book. I'd give it a 3 star though, because the certain set-pieces were terrific and the effects/locations were cleverly done....  ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Sinatra at 11:30, 19 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: People need to lighten up!

I thought it was alright. I'd still give it 2 stars but it would be a high 2 stars, if you get me. SPOILERS For much of the film I thought to myself that they'd done a really good job at concealing Ewan McGregors true character traits. Then when the big twist occurs I thought, maybe they've overdone it a bit? I mean, it's one thing to try and conceal a twist sure, but to do so to the point where the character does a complete turnaround just comes across as unbelievable.... More

Posted by Hood_Man at 08:45, 19 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: People need to lighten up!

This was really dull. 2 hours of driving from church to church. The script goes something like this Courier New"]LANGDON The blah-de-blah was built in 1520 so as the blah-de-blah could plot against the blah-de-blah HOT ITALIAN GIRL Yes, I know. Bernini's statues are blah-de-blah and they will tell us about blah-de-blah. LANGDON Yes, I know.r] ... More

Posted by Wilbert at 08:21, 19 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: People need to lighten up!

It was ok. Couple of good set pieces (in the archives, shoot out in the 'Fire' church) but apart from that, it wasn't that gripping. Everyone did a decent enough job with what they had (though the female scientist had bugger all to do).   Its main problem though is that it's based on a book by Dan Brown, therefore it's badly written and follows a similiar structure (with surprise villainous twist!) as his other books.   Very pretty to look at, decent score by Hans Zimmer but t... More

Posted by Timon at 14:47, 18 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: People need to lighten up!

L: ilovewatchingfilms10 Essentially it comes down to this: If you are a geek, you probably wont like this film, i.e. comments such as "Characters weren't even thinly sketched." If you are a normal, sociable member of society, going to the cinema to watch a good film, not analyse every specific element scene by scene, and arent particularly bothered how deepy your characters are "sketched", then you will most likely enjoy it! In relation to the Empire review comment: "The DaVinci Code... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mattdavies86 at 10:22, 18 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: People need to lighten up!

L: ilovewatchingfilms10 Essentially it comes down to this: If you are a geek, you probably wont like this film, i.e. comments such as "Characters weren't even thinly sketched." If you are a normal, sociable member of society, going to the cinema to watch a good film, not analyse every specific element scene by scene, and arent particularly bothered how deepy your characters are "sketched", then you will most likely enjoy it! In relation to the Empire review comment: "The DaVinci Cod... More

Posted by Lazy wolf eyes at 14:25, 17 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: People need to lighten up!

I really liked the book (apart from the awful ending) so was quite glad when the film was announced. There's a lot of negativitey about this out there and I can't really see why. Yeah its perhaps a bit too long and yeah the ending is still pretty ludicrous, but its fairly entertaining throughout and a perfectly acceptable way to spend a few hours. 3 stars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skeletonjack at 13:50, 17 May 2009 | Report This Post


People need to lighten up!

Essentially it comes down to this: If you are a geek, you probably wont like this film, i.e. comments such as "Characters weren't even thinly sketched." If you are a normal, sociable member of society, going to the cinema to watch a good film, not analyse every specific element scene by scene, and arent particularly bothered how deepy your characters are "sketched", then you will most likely enjoy it! In relation to the Empire review comment: "The DaVinci Code is one ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ilovewatchingfilms10 at 14:16, 16 May 2009 | Report This Post


What a wasted of time

Never read the book as was put off by The Da Vinci Code (a book I found boring and never finished ), and glad I never did. I think this is a marmite movie. Personally, I hated it. The plot is weak, and scared to really go for its subject matter. The film itself is slow and lazy from start to finish, Hanks is on auto pilot, McGregor is terrible, and the rest of the cast are just rubbish plot fodder to keep the film ticking along. By the end, I thought I was watching a Vatican Tourism video, with... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bennyblanco at 09:49, 16 May 2009 | Report This Post


Old Tom's OK

Clearly a case, yet again, of some idiot at Empire being let loose from the office to pour his personal scorn over a very good film. Its a film, meant to be fictional. If you want an enjoyable couple of hours you could do far worse than this.. Enjoy!!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by HERMES_67 at 22:36, 15 May 2009 | Report This Post


Old Tom's OK

Clearly a case, yet again, of some idiot at Empire being let loose from the office to pour his personal scorn over a very good film. Its a film, meant to be fictional. If you want an enjoyable couple of hours you could do far worse than this.. Enjoy!!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by HERMES_67 at 22:36, 15 May 2009 | Report This Post


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