Review – Angels & Demons (2009)

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angels-demons-5261eb018cb96It was after the release of Angels & Demons that I kept seeing people blame the Illuminati on anything and everything. However, this is the only movie that I can think of that deals directly with the secretive group as a direct threat. Angels & Demons, of course, is the follow-up film to The Da Vinci Code with Tom Hanks reprising his role as Robert Langdon in the middle of a brand new mystery. The real question comes down to if this story is as strong or effective as its predecessor? Let’s get into it.

Angels & Demons is mostly about the conclave in Rome, as they deliberate and choose who the next Pope will be. This is regarded as one of the holiest events in history – so the enemy of the church, the Illuminati, decides the way they’ll make their return to history is by sabotaging this holy event by detonating a bomb…but not just any bomb, a bomb made of anti-matter. Science crumbling religion.

Dan Brown stories are endlessly enticing, from page to film – but the way these stories translate for the silver screen are always an interesting one. I’ve held the notion that Dan Brown books are unfilmable – at least if you want to capture the essence of what makes the books so great. The Da Vinci Code, specifically, was an interesting movie – but ultimately a mess when it tried to explain things…between that and Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code was the book I favored. On the other hand, this is the movie I personally prefer.

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When it comes to the two films, Angels & Demons is more cohesive and works better on film than the other, even if I prefer the first movie’s story more. Both stories are compelling, but one tries to persuade you of a certain idea – while this one doesn’t. Instead what you have here is a story that you can comprehend and get behind. It still introduces exciting questions regarding secrets and faith…just not secrets that change the way the entire world operates.

I like to balance these films on a notion between entertainment and importance. The Da Vinci Code had a pretty good balance between the two – but they go over the top trying to explain everything to you. Angels & Demons is just more entertaining, period. I think more people will enjoy this as a film because it doesn’t demand that you trust its neverending crazy conspiracy theories. You can watch this like any other film. You’ll just be interested in the Vatican archives and maybe the large hydron collider. In the end, as weird as this may seem, the first movie is probably more memorable because it’s insane.

Regardless on how good or bad this movie is, or even the predecessor – both films are obviously based off books, and books that you should read…because even though they follow the basic plot – you’re missing a lot of very interesting details that stick with you for years. I’ve read all the books, and I’m still upset over the fact that they aren’t apparently planning to make the third book in the series – The Lost Symbol – a movie…because that was basically my favorite book. But hey, who knows? They are coming out with a 5th book next year, and you know I’ll be all over that.

RATING: 7.7/10

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