HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Angels and Demons
HTS Overall Score:86
Well, with Dan Brown’s newest adaptation, “Inferno” heading to the screen it’s pretty obvious that both “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons” would be getting a new special edition just before the theatrical date of “Inferno”. It’s interesting going back and re watching these films after at LEAST a 7 year break in between them (I think the last time I watched either of the two films was in 2009 when the Blu-rays came out). These two films have been released, rereleased, and released yet again under the “mastered in 4K” line that came out a couple years ago from Sony (the Blu-ray equivalent of the “Superbit” line from the DVD era). Both have been on my shelf for the last 7 years and I hadn’t taken the time to pull them off and compare against these new editions until now. While “The Da Vinci Code” did not hold up nearly as well as I remember, “Angels and Demons” doesn’t suffer NEARLY so much. It still has more than its share of cheesy moments and has issues with clues that the audience guesses way before the main characters. But the tighter narration and the shifting of the main focus to the Illuminati rather than some ancient “heresy” of the church makes for a more entertaining thriller.
In Switzerland a giant particle accelerator has gone online and created the much famed “anti-matter”. However, scientist Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) comes in and finds her colleague murdered and the anti-matter vanished. Simultaneously, Symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks once more, this time without the strange vocal patterns he carried in “The Da Vinci Code”) is called in to the Vatican after several cardinals have been kidnapped in the wake of the current pope’s death. His purpose is to help ward off the threat of interference in the new election from an ancient enemy that has once again resurfaced. The Illuminati. It seems that the Illuminati forces have stolen the anti-matter and used it to create a bomb. A bomb which they are threatening to detonate in the election conclave of cardinals if their demands aren’t met.
With the help of Vittoria and Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor), Dr. Langdon once more has to follow a series of ancient clues to try and track down the Illuminati before it is too late. That may be easier said than done though, as the impending election has the public’s eye drawn towards the Vatican and the illuminati assassins have kidnapped the 4 cardinals and threaten to unleash the apocalypse. An apocalypse that can only be avoided if Langdon can decipher the ancient texts that the illuminati are using as a trail of bread crumbs along the path to their final goal.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=82617[/img]We never reviewed the original Blu-ray release of “Angels and Demons” here, and that one came with both the theatrical cut (which is present on this 4K and Special edition Blu-ray) as well as an extended cut. Unlike the extended cut for “The Da Vinci Code” (which was over 25 minutes of heavy bloat) the differences between the theatrical and extended cut are fairly minimal and only about 7 minutes’ worth of material. Still, it would have been nice to have this remastered version including BOTH cuts on the disc, but like the first movie, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it as the theatrical cuts were the superior editions of the film.
“The Da Vincie Code” bordered on comedy for a large portion of the run time, and definitely has not aged very well after 10 years. “Angels and Demons”, on the other hand, is a much better all-around film and easily surpasses its predecessor. The inclusion of the Illuminati as the villain instead of the church itself helped ease the ire of the religious minded folks (even though I am very devoutly Christian I didn’t really get that outraged at the “heresy” in “The Da Vinci Code” but I do understand why so many took offense). It was still penned by the same writers and the same Director (Ron Howard), so the general feel of how things unfold stay mainly the same between the two films. This is basically a biblical style of “National Treasure”, just without Nick Cage and a treasure at the end of the rainbow. Instead we have blood, death and secret societies working to take control of the Papal authority.
The acting is very similar as well (same director and actors will do that), but Ewan McGregor is the standout character in “Angels and Demons”, playing the Camerlengo who is desperately trying to find out who killed his beloved mentor and friend, the pope. McGregor has always been a fantastic actor when he wants to be and he plays quite the character here. Tom Hanks is going through the motions (as he has done for quite some time), but even going through the motions Hanks is leagues better than most actors and his portrayal of Robert Langdon is more than palatable.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, disturbing images and thematic material
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=82625[/img]And once again the benefits of 4K resolution once again show that even older releases (although 7 years really isn’t THAT old) can benefit from the increased resolution of the new UltraHD format. The HDR capabilities of the new disc allow for some fantastically deep and rich blacks that show up even inkier than I could have possibly imagined on my display, and the luscious reds of the cardinal’s uniforms are almost emblazoned in your eye with blood red textures. Fine detailing on wood textures seem to show the most detail increase, showing the individual wood grains and lines that I couldn’t really see before on the 1080p encode. Blacks no longer have the intermittent banding issues (one of the benefits I’ve really noticed on the 4K releases) as well as the increase in fidelity during the deep shadow bits underground. An all-around fantastic looking 4K release. Once again I must reiterate. A 4.5 out of 5 4K rating is NOT the same as a 4.5/5 Blu-ray rating. Each one is weighted to be rated against the quality differences of the two formats.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=82633[/img]Brand new to this release is the inclusion of a full on Dolby Atmos track. The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is, and has always been, a fantastic audio experience, but never be satisfied with great when you can have the best. At least in the audio world. The Atmos experience is not AS incredible as I’d have hoped it would be, but it does open up the soundstage a bit and create some instances where the overheads get some workout. Especially with the helicopter scene at the very end with the Camerlengo. LFE is punishing and heavy duty, with several moments of intensity that really shook my walls with some serious force. The surrounds are a little more precise this go around and I noticed a shifting sense of directionality that wasn’t present in the DTS-HD MA track. Still, It is hard to give it a perfect 5/5 rating as the increases in fidelity and directional use with the object oriented encoding are fairly minimal in the grand scheme of things, and while I am rating it the same star rating as the Blu-ray, I would say that it IS the superior track if you have the equipment (or at least want a 7.1 experience if you don’t have full Atmos gear yet.
• All-New: Legacy of Langdon: Interviews with Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, Dan Brown and Brian Grazer about Angels & Demons
• All-New: First Look at Inferno
• Deleted / Extended / Alternate Scenes
• 7 Featurettes
• Theatrical Trailers
Superior to “The Da Vinci Code” in ever regard, “Angels and Demons” is a fun little thriller that works as a mystery and a conspiracy theory film at the same time. There are some cheesy moments and the audience definitely will pick up on the clues way before the characters in the film do, but it is enjoyable in its own right and well worth watching. The new remastering makes an already pretty film even prettier to look at and if you pick up the 4K combo pack you get the benefit of full 4K resolution AND an upgrade Atmos track as well. A fun watch for sure.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer
Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: Akiva Goldsmith (Screenplay), Dan Brown (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), Catalan, French, French Canadian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai DD 5.1
Runtime: 139 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 11th 2016
Buy Angels and Demons On 4K UltraHD Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Angels and Demons On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Fun Watch
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