Let me start the Blu-ray review by saying that this film is yet to be released in the US and is due for release on November 24th. This review should give you some idea of what you should expect as Sony will be releasing this film worldwide. The European Blu-ray is region locked to region B.
Angels & Demons is Ron Howard’s follow up to The Da Vinci Code. The Da Vinci Code was released in 2006. The films are based on Dan Brown’s award winning books which have sold millions of copies worldwide. Whilst Angels & Demons was originally supposed to be a prequel to The Da Vinci Code, director Ron Howard has used it as a sequel and I feel this works better as it gives a chance for Robert Langdon’s character to progress.
Both films have always divided opinion among critics and audiences. Also the films and books have upset the Catholic and Christian Churches. Whilst filming Angels and Demons they where not allowed to film in the Vatican or Churches so huge sets had to be made in at the Sony Studios and green screens where also used. When the film was released it divided reviewers, scoring high and low scores. Angels and demons did excellent at the box office none the less. The film grossed $478 million worldwide. So let’s find out why it grossed so much and how the Blu-ray fairs out.
Angels & Demons starts out at the European Organization for Nuclear Research which initiates the Large Hadron Collider and captures three vials of antimatter. Immediately afterward, someone kills Father Silvano and steals one vial antimatter. This is where the story really begins where as The Da Vinci Code went from location to location, Angels & Demons takes place in one location over 12 hours and makes it easier to follow. The film is usually being shot in and around Rome and as mentioned before all the action takes place here.
Meanwhile The Roman Catholic Church mourns the death of the Pope in Rome. Vatican City prepares for the College of Cardinals’ papal conclave, which will select the next Pope. Reporters, nuns, priests, and other faithful members of the Church crowd into Saint Peter’s Square, waiting for the white smoke from the conclave, signalling a successful vote. The worlds eyes are on Rome & the Vatican but the Illuminati, a 400-year old, underground secret society, kidnap the four most likely candidates before the conclave enters seclusion. The Illuminati threaten to kill one every hour, beginning at 8:00 pm, and then destroy the Vatican in a burst of light at midnight. A stolen security camera shows the missing antimatter vial, which will catastrophically explode when the vial’s battery dies and the magnetic containment field fails.
The Vatican seeks the help of Robert Langdon to help them solve the Illuminati’s threat. Langdon listens to the Illuminati message and deduces that the four cardinals will die at the four altars of the Path of Illumination. Where I would like to continue the story and tell you more about it, this is not possible without giving too much of it away and ruining the surprises in the film. This is the sort of film you need to re-watch and pick up on things you may have missed in the first viewing.
The film will take you along an exciting path with plenty of twists and turns along the way to finding out who the illumanti are and why they kidnapped the four priests and who is behind this illumanti threat. The only person who can solve this is Robert Langdon and he is assisted by the beautiful Vittoria Vetra to solve this crime and story. You will see some great character development and learn some more about Robert Langdon’s past and this picks up nicely from The Da Vinci Code in many ways. I think the films story follows the book nicely and your always not going to get a direct copy of this so its always nice to see the directors view on this. I think some more detail could have gone into the detailing of the film. But we do get both versions on the film on the disc. I personally like how this has been used as a sequel instead of a prequel and Ron Howard has used this to a advantage.
The film hits Blu-ray on a BD50 disc with a MPEG-4 1080p encode. I have to say Sony have done a great job with disc. For such a recent release you expect a quality encode and that’s what Sony have given us. The detail is sharp and the colour is bright and detailed also. Some of the scenes of Rome are of the highest quality so these get some top marks in my book. If I had to make a complaint about the video it would be that you can make out where they have used a green screen in the huge Vatican scenes with the crowd, as the Blu-ray transfer is that good it brings out a lot of detail. There is also healthy grain present in the codec used by Sony.
Angles & Demons hits this Blu-ray disc with a 5.1 DTS HD soundtrack. Again hats off to Sony on this soundtrack for the film. It’s nice to hear Hans Zimmer’s score in full HD sound which flows along with the film very nicely. The score is best heard in parts when the drama is starting to pick up and the bass kicks in. This helps to the viewing of the film as you feel like your going along with the ride. The audio dialogue is also important to a film like this where talking is a major part and this does not disappoint. The dialogue is clear and sounds in the background can be heard clearly. The quiet scenes when there is a lot of talking is good as well, you can make out conversations between characters in the film very clearly. I have always been a fan of DTS audio and Sony has not let us down here.
With Angels & Demons we are getting a whole host of extras on the film so let’s take a look at what we are getting.
Extended & Theatrical Versions of the film- both versions of the film are included on this disc with extended containing 7 minutes of extra footage.
Movie IQ-For people with a BD live player this pops up with facts during the movie and gives you more of a insight into things.
The Path of Illumination- This is a behind the scenes videos which is also a interactive feature
Rome Was Not Built In A Day & Angels & Demons: The Full Story- I have stuck these two together as on documentary because that’s what they basically are. This gives you an insight into how the film was made and interviews with cast members.
CERN: Pushing the Frontiers of Knowledge- This gives you a real insight into the actual real Hadron Collider.
Personally I like the extras we are getting on the disc some people will argue that we are not getting enough for a release like this. I honestly think we should have more extras on this film. I’m sure Sony will be saving them for a re-release of the film at some point. All in all I think we have a good amount of extras with the disc. The extras that stand out for me are Rome was not built in a day and Angels & Demons; these extras give a great insight into the film and are a very good in depth look at the making of. With this I have given the extras a 3/5.
I’m a huge fan of Dan Browns books and I’m a keen follower on Robert Langdon’s adventures as well. Ron Howard has done a excellent job directing this movie and Tom Hanks has made Robert Langdon’s role his own. Ewan McGregor is my only negative thing to say overall he does great job acting in Angels & Demons but I can’t find him believable as a priest and the role he plays in the whole film. Also some of the story could have been explained a bit better but the film has enough ups and downs and twists to keep you interested and following the plot.
The Blu-ray disc comes with both the Theatrical and Extended cuts which is always an added bonus for a great film like this. The Blu-ray disc has a beautiful encode and lives up to expectations and has left me waiting for the follow up to Angels & Demons with The Lost Symbol. This may not be up everyone’s alley but I feel the film has a little something for everyone a great thriller with an excellent story and some great characters as well. Angels & Demons picks up where The Da Vinci Code left off so this film get my highest marks and should have a place in your Blu-ray collection.