While Ron Howard’s first film based on a Dan Brown novel, â€œThe Da Vinci Code,â€ was met with a lukewarm reception in 2006, the second film in the series, â€œAngels and Demons,â€ is a nonstop thrillride from start to finish that is sure to appease anyone still sour about the last film.
Part â€œIndiana Jones,â€ part â€œNational Treasure,â€ â€œAngels and Demonsâ€ is the kind of â€œwho done itâ€ mystery film that comes along once every 10 years. Continuing after the events of â€œThe Da Vinci Code,â€ Dr. Robert Langdon, played once again by Tom Hanks [Big, Forrest Gump] is ironically called upon this time by the Vatican to help them find four missing members of the church and an experimental energy source that has the potential to destroy the entire holy city. Aided by uber sexy Ayelet Zurer, [Vantage Point, Munich] who helped design it, the two tackle Vatican City in quest of the explosive and the people responsible.
On the surface, it seems like the scene is set for a very similar adventure, but this time around, things are very different. For example, unlike the father/daughter relationship it felt that Hanks had on-screen with Audrey Tautou in â€œThe Da Vinci Code,â€ Zurer [who is seven years older than Tautou] and Hanks are a much more convincing pair and play off of each other in ways that Hanks and Tautou could have only dreamed of. Going as far as to pretend for a few minutes of the film that they are man and wife, the two are excellent as a pair and turn in more than solid performances, utilizing the full spectrum of emotions and making themselves extremely believable.
That in a sense is what makes the film so enthralling.
Helping them along the way are a slew of other actors that round out the action and give â€œAngels and Demonsâ€ the kind of multifaceted edge most films don’t have. Ewan MacGregor [Big Fish, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace] turns in a remarkable performance as Camerlengo Patrick McKenna that alone will force you to continue watching. One may even go as far to say that this is MacGregor’s best performance since â€œBig Fish.â€
Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd [Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Good Will Hunting]and Nikolaj Lie Kaas also turn in solid performances in their own right, which again make for so many interesting scenes and easily create a motif that the sometimes flat â€œDa Vinci Codeâ€ just never had.
However, having talented actors on screen, that are seemingly tailor-made for their roles is only one part of the enjoyable stew Howard has conjured up. The sense of time and pacing is always present and sewn together with a fine hand, keeping everything moving quickly and full of action. For a feature that is nearly two and a half hours long, â€œAngels and Demonsâ€ flies bye nearly as fast as an episode of â€œTrue Bloodâ€ and keeps you guessing throughout.
Despite the fact that some may feel that the film requires too much of your attention to truly appreciate it, as this is not the type of film you’d willingly take a restroom break during, is it asking too much for a moviegoer to pay close attention to the development of a carefully crafted plot? Simply put, anyone who wishes to go to the movies for an excursion, rather than truly appreciate a film, should look else where. Serious moviegoers, should look no where else, as â€œAngels and Demons,â€ is a far better film than its predecessor and one worth watching.
Because of this, it’s easy to see that even an older and established director like Howard can learn from his mistakes and garner some old tricks, making this film a good choice before the slew of summer blockbusters hit theaters.
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