Angels & Demons

May 15th, 2009

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Angels & Demons

Still of Tom Hanks and Ayelet Zurer in Angels & DemonsStill of Tom Hanks in Angels & DemonsStill of Ewan McGregor in Angels & DemonsStill of Ewan McGregor in Angels & DemonsStill of Tom Hanks, Rance Howard and Ayelet Zurer in Angels & DemonsStill of Tom Hanks, Pierfrancesco Favino, David Pasquesi and Ayelet Zurer in Angels & Demons

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon works to solve a murder and prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 6.6/10 (92,762 voted)

Critic's Score: 48/100

Director: Ron Howard

Stars: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer

Following the murder of a physicist, Father Silvano Bentivoglio, a symbolist, Robert Langdon, and a scientist, Vittoria Vetra, are on an adventure involving a secret brotherhood, the Illuminati. Clues lead them all around the Vatican, including the four altars of science, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. An assassin, working for the Illuminati, has captured four cardinals, and murders each, painfully. Robert and Vittoria also are searching for a new very destructive weapon that could kill millions.

Writers: David Koepp, Akiva Goldsman

Tom Hanks - Robert Langdon
Ewan McGregor - Camerlengo Patrick McKenna
Ayelet Zurer - Vittoria Vetra
Stellan Skarsgård - Commander Richter
Pierfrancesco Favino - Inspector Olivetti
Nikolaj Lie Kaas - Assassin
Armin Mueller-Stahl - Cardinal Strauss
Thure Lindhardt - Chartrand
David Pasquesi - Claudio Vincenzi
Cosimo Fusco - Father Simeon
Victor Alfieri - Lieutenant Valenti
Franklin Amobi - Cardinal Lamasse
Curt Lowens - Cardinal Ebner
Bob Yerkes - Cardinal Guidera
Marc Fiorini - Cardinal Baggia (as Marco Fiorini)

Taglines: Tell The World The Truth


Official Website: Sony Pictures [Canada] | Sony Pictures [Germany] |

Release Date: 15 May 2009

Filming Locations: Biblioteca Angelica, Rome, Lazio, Italy

Box Office Details

Budget: $150,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $46,204,168 (USA) (17 May 2009) (3527 Screens)

Gross: $133,375,846 (USA) (2 August 2009)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | (extended edition)

Did You Know?

In the previous film, Langdon remarks to Sophie Neuveu that perhaps she cured his claustrophobia by laying her hands upon him. It appears that she did so indeed, as in this movie Langdon is twice confined in a small, glass room with poor ventilation and seems un-fazed. He also seems fine when he needs to squeeze through a small alley between two very close walls in his search for the bomb.

Anachronisms: When Langdon receives the Galileo-text from cardinal Strauss, the cover illustration can be clearly seen. It shows an old man under a vine-entangled elm tree, the mark of the famous modern-day publishing company Elsevier, which has been founded in 1880 and is dedicated to the publication of scientific texts. Though Elsevier takes its name and mark from the old publishing house of Elzevir, which indeed existed around the time Galileo lived (and possibly published texts by him), it is not the same company and the mark on the booklet used in the film is not the original mark of Elzevir from 1620 - which would have been used on a Galileo-text from that time - but the modern adaptation used nowadays.

[first lines]
Narrator: The Ring of the Fisherman, which bears the official papal seal, must be destroyed immediately following the Pope's death. The papal apartment is then sealed for nine days of mourning, a period known as "Sede Vacante", the time of the empty throne.

User Review

A Nutshell Review: Angels & Demons

Rating: 7/10

Tom Hanks returns as Dan Brown's symbologist Robert Langdon in his first adventure Angels & Demons, which Hollywood decided to make after The Da Vinci Code, given the latter's more controversial subject striking a raw nerve on the faith itself. The Catholic Church was up in arms over the first film, but seemingly nonchalant about this one. And it's not hard to see why, considering Ron Howard had opted to do a flat-out action piece that serves as a great tourism video of Rome and Vatican City, and would probably boost visitor numbers given the many beautiful on-location scenes, save for St Peter's Square and Basilica which was a scaled model used.

So I guess with the bulk of the budget going toward the sets, the ensemble cast had to be correspondingly scaled down. Ayelet Zurer tried to step into the female void left by Audrey Tautou, but given Tautou's character then having a lot more stake in the film, Zurer's scientist Vittoria had a lot less to do other than just waiting in the wings to change some batteries on a canister filled with anti-matter. In the book she's the fodder of course for Langdon to converse his vast knowledge of the Vatican, the Illuminati and the great feud between the two, but here she's neither love interest, nor his intellectual equal.

Ewan McGregor on the other hand, chews up each scene he's in as Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, who is temporarily taking care of the Papal office while the other prominent cardinals are in the Sistine Chapel to elect a new Pope. And he plays Patrick with that glint in the eye, with nuances enough to let you know there's more than meets the eye. There's no surprises here for readers of the novel, but McGregor's performance here is one of the highlights of the film as Hanks plays well, Tom Hanks.

The book itself is rich with arguably accurate content as always, and had a lot more plot points on science versus religion, and a wealth of information that Dan Brown researched and linked together in an engaging fictional piece of work. While reading the book some years ago, I thought that should a film be made of it, it's easy to lapse and dwell more on the set action pieces. Sadly, that's what this Ron Howard film did, with a pace that doesn't allow a temporary breather. Unlike the first film where you had the characters sit down for some "discussion time" over a cup of tea, this one moved things along so quickly, it's like reading the book all over again, page after page being skipped just to get to the thick of the action.

Catholic reviewers have called Angels & Demons harmless, because I guess it didn't dwell on its many controversies, unlike The Da Vinci Code which struck a raw nerve at the centre of the faith. And if anything, this film served as a great tourism promotional video with a nice showcase of the many prominent touristy landmarks that would entice many around the world to go pay a visit. Naturally certain areas like the catacombs beneath St Peter's Basilica, and the Vatican archives remain out of bounds, but the walk along the Path of Illumination, now that's almost free.

Nothing new for those who have read the book other than to see it come alive, but for those who haven't, this film may just compel you to pick up Dan Brown's novel just to read a bit more about the significance about the landmarks, and characters such as Galileo, Michelangelo and Bernini who are intricately linked to the plot, but much left unsaid. Satisfying pop-corn entertainment leaving you with nothing spectacular.

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