Howard and Hanks on Point This Time With ‘Angels and Demons’

tom_hanks_in_angels_and_demons_wallpaper_2_1280While Ron Howard’s first film based on a Dan Brown novel, “The Da Vinci Code,” was met with a lukewarm reception in 2006, the second film in the series, “Angels and Demons,” is a nonstop thrillride from start to finish that is sure to appease anyone still sour about the last film.

Part “Indiana Jones,” part “National Treasure,” “Angels and Demons” is the kind of “who done it” mystery film that comes along once every 10 years. Continuing after the events of “The Da Vinci Code,” 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 “The Da Vinci Code,” 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 “Angels and Demons” 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 “Big Fish.”

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 “Da Vinci Code” 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, “Angels and Demons” flies bye nearly as fast as an episode of “True Blood” 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 “Angels and Demons,” 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.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 13054 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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