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Angels & Demons (2-Disc Extended Edition)
DVD disk
Dec 7, 2009 By: J.A. Hamilton
Angels & Demons (2-Disc Extended Edition) order download
Director:
Ron Howard

Actors:
Tom Hanks
Ewan McGregor
Stellan Starsgard

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The Vatican is under attack by the Illuminati, a secret society of ancient scientists seeking revenge for past sins committed against them by the church. Desperate to save four kidnapped Cardinals, the Vatican turns to Robert Langdon for help.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Tom Hanks and Ron Howard gave us quite a ride with THE DA VINCI CODE, and though I was a little worried about them turning a prequel novel into a sequel movie, I have to admit things worked out rather well. No, this summer blockbuster isn't STAR TREK or WOLVERINE, meaning it's not jam packed with insane amounts of action every five seconds. This is a well thought out, rich plot founded on a great deal of information given to us in a rather short period of time. So yes, it's a bit of a "thinking" movie, rather than a mindless popcorn ride. So to the uncultured, this flick may appear slow and boring. But rest assured, it's neither.

This baby clocks in at a solid two and a half hours (which to me felt balanced enough considering the sheer amount of source material), but I wonít deny having heard complaints about the pace, despite not personally being bothered by it. The visuals are remarkable, especially if youíre into these types of settings (the sealed library was my favorite). The enigma is less compelling this time around, of course topping a ďthe Bible is lyingĒ angle would prove to be difficult, and of course thereís no substitute for Ian McKellen as a villain.

Now I'm not a big fan of Tom Hanks, but I'll give credit where credit is due by saying he plays a pretty good Langdon. Ayelet Zurer's character Vittoria isn't bad, but she's kinda left on the sidelines. Ewan McGregor was believable, and to be honest, it's nice to see him in a decent role for a change. Stellan Starsgard is fantastic as always, despite not much in the way of screen time. The cast was bang on, the characters well done, the dialogue well written, and the action balanced enough to keep you on your toes. The ending is definitely hit or miss (I liked it), and again, doesnít pack the punch DA VINCI did.

Some people have said Dan Brown's novels don't translate well into cinema and I would have to disagree. You need to take into consideration how difficult it can be to translate so much information, especially where religion is concerned. It's not easy, but Ron Howard and crew nailed it twice now, and will again soon with Brown's newest Langdon novel, THE LOST SYMBOL. This was yet another great summer movie worthy of praise, but like I said, you may have to think a bit, so beware. After watching this, I can understand the Vatican's hesitance to let Howard film in Rome. They're not exactly making the Church look too good here. But it certainly was entertaining!
THE EXTRAS
There are two discs in this extended edition (the extended content is nothing to brag about), with special features divided amongst both discs.

Rome was not built in a day: Ron Howard explains the difficulties surrounding the re-creation of such a well known place like Rome. His attention to detail is astounding and it shows. I was convinced.

Writing Angels & Demons: A quick ten minutes of Ron Howard talking about the transition of both DA VINCI CODE and ANGELS & DEMONS from book to film. You canít please everyone, but I enjoyed both.

Characters in search of a true story: Ron Howard explains that every great story begins with great characters. I couldnít agree more as even the lamest concepts can shine with the right characters.

Cern: Pushing the frontiers of knowledge: Ron Howard gives us an overview of the scientific angle presented in the film. It was as scary as it was cool, yet I doubt it could be stolen so easily.

Angels & Demons Soundtrack: A one sheet advertisement for the movie soundtrack. The score was fine if youíre into orchestra/symphony style music.

Handling Props: Ron Howard goes over his strict attention to props when making a film like this one. What they donít tell you is how much loot they pull in selling this stuff when itís all over.

Angels & Demons: The full story: Cast and crew discuss some of the ways they try to get the audience invested into the film. For me this goes back to great characters, thatís my biggest seller.

This is an Ambigram: Ron Howard talks briefly about the mystery and history of the Illuminati. Iím a sucker for religious overtones like this one, hooks me every time.

Previews: A whopping fourteen trailers and a Blu-ray commercial. I canít believe CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND is 30 years old!
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
All in all, for a guy who doesnít like Tom Hanks, this was an entertaining thriller that wonít have you glancing at your watch despite the long runtime. I didnít read the books (though Iíve heard theyíre phenomenal), which leaves room for debate but as far as movies go, it was good fun.

Extra Tidbit: Ron Howard and company were banned from all Vatican Churches in Rome so they tried sneaking in while filming under a false working title called "OBELISK". But it didn't take the Romans very long to catch on."
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