Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The DaVinci Code. Remember that one? Sure you do. Based on a book that sold a billion and five copies, directed by the accomplished Opie Cunningham, highly controversial, Tom Hanks, Audrey Tatou’s big brown eyes… a movie that had ‘can’t miss’ written all over it. And sure it made a nice piece of change but my goodness was it dull. Dreadfully so. This simple fact didn’t stop people from flocking to see that movie to the tune of well over a couple hundred million dollars so considering this Robert Langdon novel came first, it’s pretty much guaranteed that its going to made into a movie as well. I’ll tell you what about this adaptation of Mr. Brown’s novel ‘Angels and Demons’… it sure ain’t dull. Where ‘The DaVinci Code’ was ‘Masterpiece Theater’ meets ‘An Evening watching Paint Dry’, ‘Angels and Demons’ is more along the lines of ‘Backdraft’ meets ‘The Terminator’ with a little ‘Saw’ thrown in for good measure.

Our film starts somewhere in Geneva where some scientist are using one of those Super Collider thingies to create something called Anti-Matter. I have no idea what Anti-Matter is but I think it’s similar to the substance that imploded the planet Vulcan in the new Star Trek movie so it must be some volatile stuff. Why these scientist have created this Anti-Matter is really neither here nor there but just know that somebody has stolen one of the vials containing the Anti-Matter and has some mighty bad intentions for this extremely combustible substance.

What are these bad intentions? Well to completely unravel this mystery we need the help of undoubtedly the world’s smartest cat in Harvard Symbologist Dr. Robert

Langdon (Hanks). You see The Pope has just passed and a lot of Catholic type stuff has to happen while we await the appointment of the next Pope. Unfortunately the four front runners for the gig have been kidnapped by the super secret society of violent scientist called the Illuminati, with this society promising to kill one these Cardinals each hour on the hour and then promising to detonate the Anti-Matter they’ve stolen, thus blowing up Vatican City. Though The Vatican absolutely HATES Robert Langdon and his blaspheming ways, as we have already established he is the world’s smartest man and only he can unravel the clues to this secret society, find these Cardinals before they are murderized ‘Saw’ style, and hopefully stop the death of untold thousands before the Anti-Matter goes live at midnight.

To assist Dr. Langdon in his task of unearthing this damn near unstoppable killer (Nikolaj Lie Kass), is the hot scientist that has created this Anti-Matter Dr. Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) wearing a skirt that even Morticia Addams would think was a little too tight. Also there is the Papal Carmerlengo, Father Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor) desperately trying to keep the schedule in The selection of the next Pope running smoothly amidst all the confusion, and we also have the Vatican equivalent of the Secret Service, Swiss Guard commander Richter (Stellan Skarsgard) attempting to find this crazed killer while at the same time funneling as much vitriol as humanly possible towards the much hated Dr. Langdon. Will Dr. Langdon be able to crack the code before the clock ticks down to triple zero? Did I mention he was the smartest person on the planet earth?

For starters allow us to say for a movie featuring a main character who is a verbose scholar who does his best work in a library and doesn’t carry a gun, throw a single punch or kiss one lonely girl, ‘Angels and Demons’ was a pretty exciting movie. Now it was totally ridiculous… I mean totally ridiculous… but it was a heckuva ride. You would think that a movie that made more loot than both Superman and James Bond three years ago wouldn’t need fixing but apparently Ron Howard knew what a terminal bore ‘The DaVinci Code’ turned out to be and made the conscious decision not let that happen this time around. Thank God. What makes ‘Angels and Demons’ fun to watch is that it rides on rails, has plenty of action sequences in the form of speeding cars, explosions galore, a huge pile of dead bodies and plenty of dramatic tension. More or less. As Dr. Langdon Tom Hanks still does plenty of the talkity talk that his character did in ‘The DaVinci Code’ but this time around there more of a sense of urgency to Langdon’s talkity talk since there was a clock on his talkity talk and he was in constant motion and in constant danger. My man was even in grave danger trying to do some lousy research at the library. Outstanding.

We do have to say things get rather silly pretty fast in this movie for reasons we can’t get into all that much, mainly because it would give stuff away and the mystery of it all is like the other half of the movie in addition to the rapidly escalating body count. But once the mystery is eventually revealed you will probably wonder how in the heck ‘The Illuminati’ as it were managed to pull off this mighty fantastic crime in the first place. Yeah, Robert Langdon might be the smartest cat in the history of the world, but I could’ve done what he did to finally solve this mystery because I can work a VCR as good as just about anybody. Don’t even get me started about this ‘unstoppable killer’ who in the final analysis might be about as stupid as Dr. Langdon is smart.

I’ll tell you what though, I’ll go for stupid killers, a completely outlandish plot, inappropriately dressed physicist and a bunch of mindless action over what I got in ‘The DaVinci Code’ any freaking day of the week. And for this we are grateful for ‘Angels and Demons’.

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