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Tom Hanks
Ewan McGregor
Stellan Skarsgard
Ayelet Zurer.
Ron Howard.
Akiva Goldsman
David Koepp.
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138 mins minutes

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Angels And Demons
Shorter hair = better movie

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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.

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.

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

Reviewed by Kim Newman

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Angels And Demons

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Average user rating for Angels And Demons
Empire Star Rating

RE: Angels And Demons

Tosh from start to finish, but not a complete write off. The locations were pretty. And, um ...   2/5   #cc0000]SPOILERS  It was just so ... lazy. No effort whatsover to be coherent or even interesting. Characters weren't even thinly sketched. Lucky Ewan McGregor was a trained pilot eh? They slipped that one it subtly. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joemanji at 22:21, 15 May 2009 | Report This Post


The film is a bit slow in places but the cinematography is just fantastic. Rome looks fantastic. The ending is a little too farfetched but not moreso than the ending of the book. Ewan McGregor's camerlengo is brilliant and at times really disturbing. Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks but the best actor was the top cardinal. Not sure what his name is but he blew me away with his performance. Whilst watching the film, I wanted it to go faster but afterwards felt very satisfied with the ending. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Balian of Ibelin at 19:00, 15 May 2009 | Report This Post


The film is a bit slow in places but the cinematography is just fantastic. Rome looks fantastic. The ending is a little too farfetched but not moreso than the ending of the book. Ewan McGregor's camerlengo is brilliant and at times really disturbing. Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks but the best actor was the top cardinal. Not sure what his name is but he blew me away with his performance. Whilst watching the film, I wanted it to go faster but afterwards felt very satisfied with the ending. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Balian of Ibelin at 19:00, 15 May 2009 | Report This Post

Spoiler alert! Having read the book I was looking forward to watching the film. Unfortunately the book is wordy and it will always be difficult to translate that into a screenplay that will entertain audiences. My first concerns for the film came about once I'd seen the 12a certificate - the book leans towards an 18 based on the nature of the deaths and potential rape scene. I was very surprised how much the film deviated from the book (Vittoria's science partner is her dad in the book ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hockphonic at 18:43, 15 May 2009 | Report This Post


Christ, am I the only one who thoroughly enjoyed this!? I've never read the book, only 'The Da Vinci Code' which I really couldn't get into, so I don't know how much of a fair adaptation it is but outside of that I found it gripping, entertaining and rather chilling at points. Had no issues with the acting although Tom Hanks was slightly cheesy at points, but Robert Langdon came off on me like that in the first novel. Nice, little twist at the end which I had my suspicions about when it first s... More

Posted by Goodfella at 17:21, 15 May 2009 | Report This Post

Preferred DVC. This wasn't bad but Ewan McGregor was VERY annoying (looked good in the priest outfit though! that wrong?). Has he always been this wooden an actor? Didn't think I had anything against him - I can't say I remember his performance in anything other than Trainspotting - very dodgy accent!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Moody at 13:27, 15 May 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Angels & Demons

Moves along swifly??? This was an utter bore, the fact tha Tom Hanks was in it made it slightly more watchable. The plot is complete and utter nonsense and the fact that seem to be walking around in CGI buildings makes it all the more laughable. The film plodded along while having Tom Hanks and whatsherface explain everything to you so much that you really didn't understand what the hell they were on about. And the chopper scene? utterly hilarious, and the score was so bloody over the top it wa... More

Posted by Zaphod121 at 12:02, 15 May 2009 | Report This Post

<a href=" uot;>Angels and Demons</a> is abysmal, absolutely abysmal. As a science geek I found the 'anti-matter' thing bad enough, but the plot was just bad. And the camera jerked around like a dying fish. No, don't bother. ... More

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Posted by moneymouth77 at 10:31, 15 May 2009 | Report This Post

Better than expected

As befits the fact that the book was far superior to DVC, this is a much better film, but still suffers from being overly wordy and a good 20 minutes too long. MacGregor's accent grates after a while as well. Better than Wolverine, but a long way behind Star Trek in the battle for summer supremacy. ... More

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Posted by doc at 01:36, 15 May 2009 | Report This Post


I really enjoyed this, both Hanks and McGregor were excellent and it moved along swiftly and interestingly **** ... More

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Posted by DJ Rob C: Mark II! at 23:19, 14 May 2009 | Report This Post

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) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by mab at 21:13, 14 May 2009 | Report This Post

Slightly better than the last one

Entertaining enough despite the fact that 80's of the movie involved lot of driving around Rome looking for Angels pointing the direction to the next clue/ church. The twist at the end lifts it somewhat though and certainly a step up from the last one. ... More

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Posted by sjmlondon at 20:11, 14 May 2009 | Report This Post

Awful. Simply awful. ... More

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Posted by Canarius at 19:04, 14 May 2009 | Report This Post

I'll reserve judgement until I've actually seen it

I didn't see The Da Vinci Code until a couple of months after just about every critic slated it, and when I did eventually see it I thought it was relatively enjoyable - nowhere near as bad as Empire made out. I watched it again on Channel 5 on Sunday, and felt it improved on second viewing and with a better grasp of the plot. Yes, it had its problems in terms of expositionary dialogue, although I seem to recall tons of that in Indy IV (a film which Empire awarded 4 stars).   If Angel ... More

Posted by mattdavies86 at 19:00, 14 May 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Why are critics such crashing bore killjoys

Avoid this movie! Went to see it to pass a couple of hours by this afternoon. I've read the book and although I read some mixed reviews - including this one on Empire, I thought I'd go check it out. Where should I start? Ok - the beginning, it's dull. Really really dull. It took a good 40 minutes before any sense of a story began to emerge, and even when the main story did I'd gone past caring. The acting was poor, Hanks is wet, McGregor flicks in and out of an Oirish soft subtle accent to hi... More

Posted by Canarius at 18:58, 14 May 2009 | Report This Post

Why are critics such crashing bore killjoys

I went and saw it this lunch time and thought it was very enjoyable. Much more than Da Vinci, but saying that I thought Angels was a far better book than Da Vinci. Critics really need to just take a chill pill and relax. It's a movie from a Dan Brown book for goodness sake, not some Orson Welles Citizen Kane masterpiece. The beginning was slow but once Langdon arrived in Rome it flashed by. I thought the movie was on the whole pretty faithful to the book in "spirit" and "ene... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by johncarrelson at 17:42, 14 May 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Book was bollocks anyway...........

As long as its better than The Da Vinci Code I will be happy (the girlfriend will want to go anyway). I will still check it out at the cinema regardless of Empire's review, sadly after they gave King Kong 5 stars I have always tended to take their reviews with a pinch of salt. 5 FUDGING STARS!!! -What the hell were they thinking!!! ... More

Posted by bigbadbeasty at 12:54, 14 May 2009 | Report This Post

Book was bollocks anyway...........

It was going ok until he jumped from the helicopter with a postage stamp sized parachute and dropped vertically for a mile without a scratch..... bollocks of the highest order. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by onetwo at 22:32, 13 May 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Surprisingly enjoyable

Managed to see a test screening this morning and thought it was dreadful.   Very slow and the boredom kicked in within half an hour.   It's at least 40 minutes too long. ... More

Posted by PerfectlyFlawed at 17:20, 13 May 2009 | Report This Post

Surprisingly enjoyable

The film makes up for a majority of Da Vinci's mistakes - it has a much quicker pace and jettisons the ludicrous ending of the novel. However the script doesn't give Hanks much of a character to work with (in my opinion he's miscast anyway) but Mcgregor gets his teeth into his Irish camerlengo (?). ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Grizzly at 13:20, 12 May 2009 | Report This Post

Whatever Empire!

You know I've realized something about Kim Newman. If it's not Lobster Men From Mars or some other obscure horror wank then he's not interested! ... More

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Posted by tallaght24 at 13:06, 11 May 2009 | Report This Post

Tosh review

This review is simply lazy and this magazine is becoming even more inconsistent. You recently included a rambling review for 'Star Trek,' that frankly read like a blog entry from a fan that couldn't quite make up his mind and now include this uninspired, underlength and frankly rubbish review from someone who cleary couldn't care less about the act of reviewing. Just because the material is believed to be insane, doesn't mean you shouldn't take the job of giving a critical response seriously. ... More

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Posted by Jezzman at 11:05, 11 May 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Prequel not Sequel

The trailer for this was in front of Star trek for me last night. I spent the whole time going "Ewan McGregor is in this?!?!?!" then I started going "is Ewan McGregor evil in this?".   Incidently, is Ewan McGregor evil in this? ... More

Posted by Cinema_Junkie at 00:11, 10 May 2009 | Report This Post

RE: Prequel not Sequel

Think i may be in the minority, but i really enjoyed Da Vinci Code.........and am really lokking forward to seeing this film!!!!!!!!! ... More

Posted by Moviebabe at 19:09, 09 May 2009 | Report This Post

Prequel not Sequel

Audrey Tautou couldn't be in this film as the book is before and was written before Davinci Code, so this a prequel. Plus Angels and Demons is a far superior book and story to Davinci, hoping it will be better ... More

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Posted by ryecatcher at 15:38, 08 May 2009 | Report This Post

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