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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > Thriller > Drama > Religion > Terrorism > Codes > Angels & Demons (2009/Sony Blu-ray + DVD 2-Disc Extended Edition)

Angels & Demons (2009/Sony Blu-ray + DVD 2-Disc Extended Edition)


Picture: B+/B-     Sound: B+/B-     Extras: C+     Film: C+



With The Da Vinci Code such a huge international hit, Ron Howard, Tom Hanks and company were definitely on for a sequel, but the book version of Angels & Demons is a prequel.  However, they have decided to rewrite it as a sequel and the results are no par with the first film, but without the controversy.  The popular reader mania that surrounded the first film and its book are gone, but this film continues along the lines of the first.


This is not to say it plays it safe, but it is not taking risks.  It just does what franchise product does; pick up where the last film left off.


Hanks is back as symbols expert Robert Langdon and after an introductory scene, we first find him doing laps in a swimming pool when he has a visitor early in the morning.  It turns out to be a Vatican official.  After his last ordeal with them, they keep refusing him access to their archive, but something new and disturbing has surfaced in the form of a word symbol and potential threat to The Vatican itself.  A pope has just passed-away and potential enemies see this as an opening.


In the meantime, it turns out they have scientists working on anti-matter experiments and one of their samples has gone missing.  Then people start turning up dead.  Langdon starts working with a scientist (Ayelet Zurer) and has to deal with a Cardinal (Armin Mueller-Stahl) who may be up to no good, an investigator (Stellan Skarsgard) who can be abrasive and Camerlengo (Ewan McGregor) who is serving an interim role until the next Pope is picked.


The extended edition is 8 minutes longer than the theatrical cut, but that does not make much of a difference, though I like the longer version just the same.  Hanks and the cast is good, but the film does not exceed the original like I thought it could and we get essentially an intellectual Indiana Jones tale that has some interesting moments, but when all is said and done, does not stay with you.  David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman adapted and revised Dan Brown’s book, but it is one of their more commercial works, competent as it is.


Still, the money is on the screen and it is sad how we see less and less of these A-list A-product productions coming out of Hollywood, which points to much larger problems at the studios.  But Ron Howard is in an exceptionally strong period as a director (Cinderella Man and Frost/Nixon are two of the best films he ever helmed) so it is still a film worth checking out if you are interested.




The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image has the same semi-sepia styling the first film did, but this is really good looking just the same, give or take the obvious digital work that is more extensive than expected despite the locations and sets.  Shot in Super 35mm film by Salvatore Totino, A.S.C., it was finished in a 4K Digital Intermediate and that is to its advantage.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD is also looking good for the format, but is no match for the Blu-ray.  This is Totino’s fifth film with Howard and it is one of the most interesting visual collaborations going on in film today and produced Grade A results every time.


We had received an exceptionally fine Illustrated Movie Companion coffee table book (that fans will want to definitely see) on the making of the film and when you compare the Blu-ray images to the book, you see just how strikingly the Blu-ray has reproduced the film.


The DTS-HD Master Audio (MA) lossless 5.1 mix is well recorded, clean, clear and very interesting.  This is dialogue-based in places, silent in others, then the sound kicks in and the mix shows its truest articulation.  That is the property approach for a thriller and a sound mix Blu-ray fans will enjoy.  Hans Zimmer’s score is what I expected, but it is consistent.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD is lively enough, but no match for the DTS.


Extras in both formats include seven making-of featurettes (Rome Was Not Built In A Day, Writing Angels & Demons, Characters In Search Of The True Story, CERN: Pushing The Frontiers Of Knowledge, Handling Props, Angels & Demons: The Full Story and This Is An Ambigram) and a Hans Zimmer Music Studio (Powered by Sequel 2) trail software to create your own music score, while the Blu-ray adds BD Live, cinechot and movieIQ interactive functions, the shorter theatrical cut (for comparisons, for instance), Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices and The Path of Illumination which allows you to “follow” Langdon through Rome.  As a last minute thing,



For our coverage on the The Da Vinci Code, try these links:


Theatrical Review



Full Screen DVD




-   Nicholas Sheffo


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