Angels & Demons

No silly haircut for Tom this time round in his second adventure as intrepid symbologist Robert Langdon, uncovering another dark conspiracy plot. Though based on Dan Brown's prequel to The Da Vinci Code, this new movie is presented as a sequel, with Langdon journeying to the Vatican and receiving stiff opposition in certain quarters due to the publishing of his previous thesis.

He's summoned there by officials to investigate the Illuminati, an antagonistic organisation who have kidnapped four cardinals, all potential papal nominees, and are threatening them with death at every hour on a particular day. The villains have also stolen a dangerous anti-matter device that can cause widespread destruction. Langdon hotfoots it from holy place to holy place accompanied by the determined Italian scientist Vittoria (Zurer), but the Vatican and especially police chief Richter (Skarsgard) are not helpful to his efforts. McGregor plays the idealistic assistant to the recently deceased Pope, who tries to be more helpful and sympathises with his efforts though.

It's faster-paced than The Da Vinci Code if slightly monotonous, but in the latter stages a secondary character comes into his own and offers a few surprises, if you're not familiar with the novel. The dialogue is sometimes difficult to understand because the characters mumble too much, and some of the Italian accents are too thick to comprehend, but Hanks is reliable, Skarsgard convincingly suspicious and McGregor gives a good account of himself as the trusting novice keen to move the Church into the 21st century.

The CGI effects are superb, with one massive explosion that's very impressive. Certain stuffy critics will complain that the movie takes itself too seriously. Ignore them - it doesn't. It's put together with good old Hollywood know-how and is an enjoyable time-filler if you're in an undemanding frame of mind. Tosh to be sure, but entertaining tosh nonetheless.

Official Site
Angels & Demons at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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