Angels and Demons – DVD Review

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I remember getting chills during the trailer for this movie. I was very excited that this second installment was on its way to theaters and I was in no way disappointed by the results. Director Ron Howard has crafted a movie that could stand alone without The DaVinci Code, which makes sense considering Angels & Demons was Dan Brown’s first book featuring Robert Langdon (played in the films by Tom Hanks).

I figure DaVinci Code was made first due to the controversial nature of the novel. Controversy, as we know, breeds interest, which in turn can become sales in the world of media. As a result, The DaVinci Code became a bestselling book and a successful film, despite panning by critics.

One of the main differences between DaVinci and Angels & Demons is the pacing. Angels & Demons moves much faster and has a ticking clock attached to its story that makes all the talking and explaining needed take place on the go.

I have read both books and, as we all know, the books are almost always better than the film adapted from them. But Angels & Demons manages to retain the core of the novel’s storyline while deviating enough to create a plot and moments that are more filmic in their scope. As a result, the film works. Compared to DaVinci Code, I think it works slightly better due to the pacing and structure of the story.

If you hated DaVinci Code, you’ll probably feel the same way about Angels & Demons. If you enjoyed the National Treasure or Indiana Jones movies, this is in a similar vein. I would also recommend it to anyone who enjoys movies with codes, puzzles, twists, turns, and surprise endings.

Now, on to the special features. The edition I have is a three-disc special edition that includes an extended version of the film, two discs of bonus features, and a booklet. There are several versions of the film that are around, including Blu-ray, a single disc, and two-disc set.

Let’s explore each disc.

Disc #1

Extended Version of the film with 25 more minutes of movie.

Rome Was Not Built in a Day

Writing Angels & Demons

Characters in Search of the True Story

CERN: Pushing the Frontiers of Knowledge

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Disc #2

Handling Props

Angels & Demons: The Full Story

This is an Ambigram

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Disc #3

The Illuminati

Science vs. Religion

A Visit to Vatican City

Following the Path of Illumination

I’ll be honest, they could have put the four featurettes on the third disc on the second due to how short they are. I know it’s supposed to be a special extra for the three-disc edition, but the first three are less than 3 minutes each, and the fourth featurette is under 15, so they could have easily fit onto the second DVD without any problems.

Since many consider Angels & Demons to be superior to The DaVinci Code, we’ll have to see if the latest Robert Langdon adventure, The Lost Symbol, can eclipse either of these at the box office. For now, enjoy Angels & Demons and have some fun!

One thought on “Angels and Demons – DVD Review

  1. Now I may be an old cynical rooster, but putting “National Treasure” in the same continent as “Indiana Jones” is a stretch. Literally and figuratively, of course. With that jab at Nicolas Cage out of the way, this review has gotten my interest and awoken a sleeping giant, so I will have my say before I go back to sleep.

    Feelings of resentment that happened with “The DaVinci Code” over controversial Christian topics would understandably transfer over to this movie (same character, set in the Vatican, etc.) I could see people going into this movie feeling like Dan Brown is going to take another dump on Christianity. But fret not, the movie itself is too fast-paced to have the characters sit down and talk about why Langdon hates the Catholic Church aside from the occasional jab. However, the movie was very critical of the structure of the Church, which itself plays an important role within the plot.

    Compared to the last movie in terms of puzzles and codes, it was greatly toned down and alienating. When watching “Angels and Demons”, it felt like I was watching the 1960s Batman show, where the Riddler would throw out a riddle and Robin would immediately answer it (no matter how complex the answer.) For example, the Riddler says “What has yellow skin and writes?” to which Robin replies “A ball-point banana!” The answer is correct, of course, but did you guess that? Of course not, you’re not a superhero! And if you are, why aren’t you fighting crime right now?

    In that same way, you’re also probably not a Vatican tour-guide. Once they get a riddle/clue, Langdon and Friends spend a second of screen-time pondering it before saying/yelling out some Italian name and break out into a sprint. They could have said anything in that time (“The Pope’s hat! Take us to the Basilica!”) and it wouldn’t matter to the casual viewer. This part of the movie would really only be enjoyable to people who actually know all of these locations or are interested in learning about them. Of course, for those people who do know, they’re hitting themselves in the forehead and thinking “Why didn’t I guess that? Haha!” and having a proper good time.

    The ticking-clock was there, and the pace was good, but it was not translated as well as it could have been. With the movie, it feels as though they make it with time to spare, whereas in the book they would always be there just a minute before. There was no persistent intensity that made you feel rushed (at least, for a good portion of the movie.) Naturally, not all things can be transferred over. The movie had its fair share of plot-related elements that it left out.

    That being said, it’s all fun and games. There’s no real reason to not see it, since it does have action, drama, and you learn a thing or two about Vatican City and the structure of the Catholic Church. There’s something in there for everyone, including this cynical, old rooster. Now I will go back to sleep so I can dream of Valhalla once more.

    841 out of 1000 stars.