Angels and Demons

by Rick Grant
Grade: A- Rated PG-13 138 min
Director Ron Howard upped the pacing for this second film starring Dan Brown’s protagonist, Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon. The faster pacing creates the tension of a intrigue mystery film, featuring Tom Hanks and as French astrophysicist, Dr. Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zuere) racing all over Rome to find the terrorist bomb.
The terrorist group turns out to be an ancient enemy of the Catholic Church, The Illuminati that ultimately wanted to destroy the Vatican and all the Cardinals in line for the Popehood. They plan to blow up Vatican City.
Dr. Vetra had witnessed her colleague’s body after an assassin stole a canister of antimatter from the large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. It was the 17 mile cyclotron’s first experiment. Funny, in real life, the LHC fizzled out on its debut start up with numerous problems. It will not be back on line until September.
Of course, the suspended explosive antimatter was the bomb that the so called Illuminatti had stolen. If the antimatter came in contact with matter, it would explode like a 10 megaton nuclear bomb. The Vatican police sent a representative to recruit Hanks to help them tack down the terrorists holding the antimatter canister.
Dr. Vetra has the new batteries that would continue the antimatter suspension for enough hours to get it back to the LHC. The old batteries were running out setting up a countdown to disaster.
So, the hectic chase was on to find the location of the canister and to save the Cardinals being held captive. Of course, Langdon knew more about the ancient symbols and history of the Catholic Church than anyone and he uses that knowledge to find clues to trace the location of the bomb.
Meanwhile, Langdon and his ad hoc posse find the bodies of the murdered Cardinals. They were arriving just minutes behind the assassinations. Each murder was symbolic, and the Cardinals were branded on the chest with an Illuminati symbol.
Ewan MacGregor portrays the influential Cameriengo, Patrick McKenna. When the Pope died he was the interim Pope until the Cardinals voted in a new Pope. When the voting body of Cardinals was kidnapped and threatened with death, Cameriengo McKenna had gained new powers.
Director Howard wove the scenes together flawlessly and allowed his lead actors Tom Hanks and Eyelet Zurer to develop their characters on site motivation as the story unfolds. One of Dr. Langdon’s previous hurtles was trying to get into the Vatican’s underground archives vault to complete his latest book. They turned him down numerous times. But due to the circumstances, he finally is allowed access to the vault. There he finds key clues to solving the mystery of the location of the antimatter bomb.
Time is running out as the antimatter suspension canister’s battery runs down. Howard skillfully develops the tension as Vatican City is evacuated. Hanks plays Dr. Langdon with many subtleties and facial expressions.
Happily for the viewers there is no hint of romance between Langdon and Vetra, which would have ruined the momentum of the film. Besides, there was not time for making whoopee, the two eggheads had to save Vatican City from being wiped off the map in 13 hours.
This movie represents filmmaking at its best, showcasing a thrilling story, a stellar cast, and Howard’s artistry at creating a quality film that will attract the masses.