Angels & Demons is the second installment of Ron Howard’s The Da Vinci Code. The film is based on the award winning books by Dan Brown. The books have captured the people’s imagination and the same time has caused some controversy. And the films haven’t stayed too far behind either. Angels & Demons continues the effect left by the first film, The Da Vinci Code, and capitalizing in the box office. Originally the story of Angels & Demons was supposed to be the prequel to The Da Vinci Code; however, for the films this is not the case. So let’s jump into the review and see 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 (Carmen Argenziano) and steals one vial antimatter. 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, signaling 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 Vatican seeks the help of Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) to help them solve the Illuminati’s threat. Now Langdon and Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) race against time to solve the puzzle before a catastrophic event takes place before their very eyes.
I was never exposed to Ron Howard’s work, this including both The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, so I have some difficulty noticing the book to film comparison, however, I must say the film adaption is interesting and very engaging at times. The film takes the viewer through many impressive sights in Rome, I am not sure if the intention of the filmmaker was to capture the essence of this historic city, but it did. I guess what most intrigues me about the film is the amount of detail used the content available to research in order to effectively insert it into the film. Most puzzles are genuinely mixed with historical facts and fiction all coming together well. This time around it’s easier for the viewer to follow the film as is not as hectic as the first film it’s just a slower pace.
Obviously you can’t have an enjoyable film without a good casting giving good performances. Angels & Demons features a good cast who offer good performances, the writers offer a good dialog, and the story is very interesting. The character of Robert Langdon is developed a bit further which is a good sing for future films. There was plenty of twist and turns that are sure to keep you on your seat. One more thing that I may add is that if you have never read the novels there’s a better sense of mystery behind the culprit in Angels & Demons. Also, just some quick facts Sony was not allowed to film in Vatican City so for most of the film they were forced to build huge sets in order to recreate the majority of the scenes found on the film. I must say that the level of detail found through is magnificent some CGI was used on St. Peter’s Square, but I don’t feel that it suffers visually. The film is very entertaining and if you like The Da Vinci code you are most likely to enjoy Angels & Demons as well.
The film arrives to Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 2.40:1. For some time now Sony has been delivering simply stunning video quality in all their releases and Angels & Demons definitely does not disappoint. The colors are vibrant, the reds, the blues, the yellows will come out of your screen when called forth. There are some particular scenes where the red and yellow tints is very vibrant. The fine details is always there from the facial textures to the textures on the various monuments shown in the film and even garments used by the pope himself, all showing some great detail. There is some nice shadow detail. There is some small amount of grain present and in the darker scenes it becomes more apparent.
Angles & Demons arrives on Blu-ray disc with a 5.1 DTS HD soundtrack. Again hats off to Sony on this soundtrack for the film. First of all before going onto more detail, Hans Zimmer score has never sounded this good, it resonates through your ears. It’s simply that good. The film is dialog heavy and it relies less on the big booms and bangs that other action films offer. However, the dialog is clean, clear and crisp. As the film moves forward more usage for the other speakers become noticeable. Several scenes with explosions make you feel like you are right in there as its occurring, the bass kicks in nicely and the rears help create a good soundfield. This is simply a superb audio track.
Unlike the UK version of this film, the American release will feature more supplements and personally I like the amount of extras included since they offer an inside look into the making of the film. However, there could be more based on the fact that this film has so much background and controversy. At the end of the day the supplements included should keep the regular viewers happy.
Extended & Theatrical versions of the film – Both versions of the film are included on this disc with extended containing 7 minutes of extra footage.
Rome Was Not Built In A Day – This gives you an insight into how the film was made and interviews with cast members.
Angels & Demons: The Full Story – This is similar to ‘Rome Was Not Built In A Day’ it features more insights and interviews with the cast.
Writing Angels & Demons – Dan Brown talks about the challenges he and his screenwriters went through in order to adapt the novel into the film.
Characters In Search Of The True Story – The actors share their anecdotes and challenges to bringing Dan Brown’s characters to life.
CERN: Pushing the Frontiers of Knowledge – This gives you a real insight into the actual real Hadron Collider. This is a very interesting featurette worth the watch.
Handling Props – The screenwriters discuss the difficulties bringing Dan Brown’s props to life.
This Is An Ambigram – See the inspiration behind Dan Brown’s leading character.
The Path of Illumination – This is a behind the scenes videos which is also an interactive feature.
CineChat – Talk to your buddies while watching the film.
Movie IQ – For people with a BD live player this pops up with facts during the movie and gives you more information about the film.
This Blu-ray offers a very nice looking video transfer and an equally great sounding audio quality. The film offers some interesting twist and turns that should keep you in your seat. The story is great featuring a great cast who deliver. The filmmaker captured the essence of a city that is riddled with history around every corner. If you enjoyed The Da Vinci code then this is come as highly recommended it is easily up to par or one step above.