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March 12, 2018

Angels & Demons (2009) --- "The Illuminati Hates The Vatican. See How One Guy Tries To Save Rome."

Plot Summary
When Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon discovers the resurgence of an ancient brotherhood known as the Illuminati, he flies to Rome to warn the Vatican, the Illuminati's most hated enemy. Joining forces with beautiful Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer), Langdon follows a centuries-old trail of ancient symbols in the hope of preventing the Illuminati's deadly plot against the Roman Catholic Church from coming to fruition. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
      The Da Vinci Code (2006) introduced us to symbologist Dr. Robert Langdon and his skill for solving historical/theological puzzles but it was surrounded in a ton of controversy because it painted Catholicism as a shady cover-up by a group of sadists. On the other hand, Angels & Demons (2009) is a thrilling and fast-paced action film where the mystery intensifies by offering bigger puzzles and more drama. The Catholic Church considers this film to be harmless by the most likely because here, the church is displayed as being a collective of good men who are made to suffer for the sins of evil at the hands of a serial killer(s).

     As aforementioned, the pace of this film is fast, much faster than The Da Vinci Code but it is easy to tell that many things were trimmed down for a more reasonable running time. Although the pacing and the action blend together perfectly. The cinematography and special effects are great in this film. The filmmakers shot the film in Rome but much of the interior shots had to be recreated using visual effects, studios, and scaled models in the case of St Peter's Square and Basilica. The visuals of Rome are beautiful, the Vatican City archives are intriguing, and the catacombs below St Peter's Basilica are massive. The music is both dark and unforgettable, and it blends with the cinematography beautiful
     The character development is good but it’s obvious that they were scaled down for the film. Tom Hanks (The Post), once again does a good job of portraying symbologist Robert Langdon. This time he’s slightly agiler and since we are already familiar with his character, the film allowed for us to focus more on the story instead. Ayelet Zurer’s (Vantage Point) portrayal of Victoria Vetra is good, she fills the void that Audrey Tautou left after The Da Vinci Code (2006) but those are big shoes to fill. Although she works well with Hanks on screen. Ewan McGregor (Christopher Robin) is convincing as the quiet and knowledgeable Camerlengo Patrick McKenna. He portrays the character with a glint in his eye that lets you know that there’s more to his character then you might think. Armin Mueller-Stahl (Eastern Promises) as Cardinal Strauss is great. His portrayal is a bit misunderstood especially since his treatment towards McGregor’s character will cause you to chose sides early on.

     Overall, Angels & Demons (2009) is an improvement and entertaining second installment. The action, thrill, and puzzle chase have been amped up, which does well at keeping the audience’s attention throughout. While the character development is not the main focus of the film, the cinematography beautifully showcases iconic Italian landmarks. The story is good by intricately linking iconic people like Galileo, Michelangelo, and Bernini into the story. If you enjoyed The Da Vinci Code then there is no doubt that you will enjoy this film as well.

"And when you write of us... and you will write of us... May I ask one thing? Do so gently."
- Cardinal Strauss

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  7.5 of 10 stars
Worth Buying:  7.5 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar 
Angels & Demons (2009)
Brothers Grimm (2005)
Celestine Prophecy (2006)
Contact (1997)
Da Vinci Code (2006)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Godzilla (2014)
Gone Girl (2014)
Hannibal (2001)
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013)
Inferno (2016)
Interview with a Vampire
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
Megiddo: The Omega Code II (2001)
National Treasure (2004)
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)
The Omega Code (1999)
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

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