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> Angels & Demons
Director: Ron Howard
Cast: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgard, Armin Mueller-Staht, Pierfrancesco Favino, Thure Lindhardt
3 stars (out of 5)
Review by Christine Powley
After solving the Da Vinci code you would think Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) would think twice when the Vatican asks for help. Actually, this is the book that Dan Brown wrote before Da Vinci so the Vatican does not yet know what a pest Langdon can be, but for movie purposes Angels & Demons (Rialto and Hoyts) comes after The Da Vinci Code.
Anyway, Langdon is happily doing laps in the Harvard pool while half a world away disturbing things are happening.
The order of the Illuminati have reappeared ready to avenge themselves on the Roman Catholic Church.
Langdon wrote a book about the Illuminati so he is called in to provide expert help to the Vatican police.
The pope has died.
The election of his successor is under way and the four top contenders for the job have been kidnapped.
A message is delivered stating that each cardinal will be killed an hour apart in each of the four Illuminati churches, then the Vatican will be blown up.
Angels & Demons is not that bad. Langdon is still spouting academic text but the puzzles he solves are clear cut enough for us to understand them.
Rome looks stunning.
The pomp of the election of a pope is wonderfully captured.
Unfortunately, in the end the movie just comes across as a particularly vigorous treasure hunt.
Best thing: Much architectural eye candy as we screech around Vatican city looking for the Illuminati.
Worst thing: No matter how much the ever likeable Tom Hanks tries, Robert Langdon remains a pompous bore.
See it with: Your Rome: The Eternal City guide book; this film gives you terrific access even if some of it is mocked up.