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Title: Angels and Demons

Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :3stars:

HTS Overall Score:83

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.

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

Video :4.5stars:
“Angels and Demons” has always been a gorgeous looking Blu-ray and this new mastering from a FULL 4K DI makes it look just that much better. I have to admit that I haven’t seen the “Mastered in 4K” Blu-ray that came out in 2013 to compare against, but it definitely is a smoother and cleaner looking picture than the old 2009 release. Colors are bright and vivid, with lots of teal for the grading intermingled with the flickering yellow candle light amongst the Italian structures. Black levels are very important for a film that likes to go cavern diving and the banding is kept to an absolute minimum and no signs of other digital artifacting to mar the image. Fine detailing is exquisite on the statues and ancient structures, while the facial details are just as perfect. An all-around almost perfect looking transfer.

Audio :4.5stars:
Once again the Dolby Atmos track is reserved for the 4K edition, but unlike “The Da Vinci Code”, “Angels and Demons was already encoded in 5.1 DTS-HD MA and this appears to be a port over of that already fantastic sounding audio mix. Dialog is crisp and clean, with little bits of echoes occurring in the underground vaults, or the ricochet off the stone walls of a bullet during the assassin’s encounter with the Vatican police. Surrounds are heavily used throughout, ranging from the intense Hans Zimmer score (which is very tastefully a remake of many Catholic chants and tunes), to the roar of cars racing through city streets. LFE is pretty intense, with big wallops of bass accompanying some of the more intense moments in of the film.

Extras :3stars:

• 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

Overall: :4stars:

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.

Additional Information:

Starring: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer
Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: Akiva Goldsmith (Screenplay), Dan Brown (Novel)
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Catalan, French, French Canadian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai DD 5.1
Studio: Sony
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 138 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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