Pros: plot, acting, soundtrack
Angels and Demons was so much better than the Da Vinci Code, so, so much better. Angels and Demons had a plot you could follow without a book load of explanations. It was a great thriller, mystery, and quest movie with religion at its center. And it also included one of the most intriguing societies to pop up in movies lately, the Illuminati. The acting was good, so was the plot even if it was a little predictable at the end.
Plot: We find ourselves once again in the hands of Robert Langdon as he unravels another religion--based mystery. He has written a book on the Illuminati and wished to write a second but needs access to a text found only in the Vatican library. He has been denied access to the text several times by the Vatican; it seems they harbor no love for him after his antics in the Da Vinci Code. Then the current beloved Pope passes away and its time to elect a new Pope. This is a time when the Catholic Church is at its most vulnerable, when it has no active head and it is a time when many of the Cardinals are in one place--if something were to happen to them imagine what kind of chaos it would bring to church. Just before the Conclave to elect the Pope begins, four of the Cardinals are kidnapped. The four Cardinals that are kidnapped were the front-runners to become the new Pope. The Vatican receives a message from the kidnapper who claims the Illuminati is behind the kidnappings and one Cardinal will die per hour starting at 8pm and then at 12pm the Vatican City will be destroyed by light (courtesy of a stolen anti-matter bomb). The Vatican reluctantly brings in Robert Langdon to help find the missing Cardinals, as he is the current expert on the Illuminati and can find the “alters of science” where the Cardinals will be sacrificed or killed. Can he find them in time to save their lives? And can Langdon and Vatican Police find the bomb before its too late--well you are just going to have to see the film to find out.
The mythos part of the plot of this movie was easy to follow and there was enough action to keep you interested, plenty of gunfights and fires. It was a little predictable at the end but overall it was entertaining and well done. I don't know how close to the book it comes since I haven't read it. I also really liked the soundtrack in this movie; it has a heavy, dark musical tone with chanting mixed in. It reminds me of some of Enigma’s work. There is also some great violin solos by Joshua Bell also featured in the soundtrack.
The acting was well done. Tom Hanks is once again great as the scholar Robert Langdon. The symbolist who loves solving a riddle whether it means saving Vatican City or solving a murder. His feminine help this time resides in the form of Vittoria Vetra played by Ayelet Zurer. She is a physicist and is there to be pretty, in the way, and to make a few key observations. She is also responsible for creating the bomb, it her research that causes it to be in existence. Zurer does the best the can with the role she has got. Ewan McGregor has a nice role as Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, the priest that has the Papal power until a new Pope is elected. He is the one that is over seeing the hunt for the missing Cardinals. I thought I might have a bit of trouble visualizing him as a priest after some of the other roles he has played but he plays the role quite well. He has a great smile and very expressive face. He is also the reason I gave this movie a chance that--and it is directed by Ron Howard. Overall, the acting was well done by all the various players in it.
I enjoyed this movie in spite of myself. I am not a big fan of Dan Brown and I didn't have any love for the Da Vinci Code. But this movie entertained me for the complete 138 minutes that it ran. It had a good plot, soundtrack, and acting. If you have a free afternoon, then you could do worse things with your time then see this film.