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Angels & Demons (2009)

The holiest event of our time. Perfect for their return.

Directed by:

Ron HowardRon Howard

Rating: 5/10

Running Time: 138 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A

Country: United States

The summer’s first blockbuster sees Tom Hanks reprise his role as Robert Langdon in the second adaptation of love-him-or-hate-him Dan Brown’s religious series. The Da Vinci Code was woefully underwhelming but the box office takings were huge and so the publicity machines have gone into overdrive for this not-so-long-awaited sequel.

Angels and Demons is set in Rome as the heads of the Roman Catholic Church gather to elect a new Pope after the death of the previous incumbent. However, determined to use this event for their own gains, the ancient, oppressed sect of the Illuminati relight their feud with the Catholic Church. The secret society takes four Cardinals hostage and plants an anti-matter bomb in the catacombs of The Vatican City. The desperate church turns to the anti-Catholic symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) to try and rescue the Cardinals from a series of particularly nasty deaths and save the Vatican City from destruction.

This interesting premise promises a dramatic race against time as Langdon works amongst those he has previously tried to bring down. However, for much of the film we witness nothing more exciting than car journeys back and forth throughout Rome. This Lonely Planet’s Guide to Rome is hardly befitting of the dramatic classical score used from start to finish. There is a lack of interactivity with the storyline that breeds apathy towards the events unfolding on screen. It is impossible to be interested in the action as we are drip-fed obscure clues from the recesses of Langdon’s mind with no opportunity for audience participation. After more than two hours, the plot twists, although a long time coming, are actually rather unpredictable and you may leave the cinema with a sense of satisfaction that the film does not really deserve.

The international cast never quite seem particularly comfortable in their English speaking roles. Ayelet Zurer, playing this instalment’s piece of Euro-totty, is the main culprit. Paris Hilton could probably play the part of a world-renowned scientist with more authenticity. Even Ewan McGregor struggles in an English-speaking role. His Northern Irish Priest does not actually start speaking in an accent until we learn of his nationality – half way through the film. Mercifully, Tom Hanks has worked out since part one and looks less like a poorly-coiffed walking potato. He also manages to spout his symbologist gibberish with surprising credibility.

It's Got: Twists and turns, All the sights of Rome.

It Needs: A better cast and executed storyline, An accompanying guidebook on religious symbolism.

Alternatives:

Audience of One, The Da Vinci Code, The Passion of The Christ

Summary

Angels and Demons is an overlong, uninteresting affair which doesn’t live up to the blockbuster tag. Then again, it is not the worst film you could see this summer.

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