Angels & Demons surpasses Da Vinci Code

Generally speaking, I think most people lower their expectations when going into a movie sequel.  All of us can probably name numerous franchises that never live up to the original in the series.  However, when the sequel not only lives up to the first but surpasses it, the sequel can raise the bar and raise our level of anticipation for a third. Recently, movies like “The Dark Knight”, “The Incredible Hulk” and “Toy Story 2” have all taken the lead from their predecessor, and made us hope the next maintains the new level of excellence.  I think “Angels & Demons” can now be added to that list.

~J. Chandler

I read the book of “Angels & demons” before I read “The Da Vinci code”.  Quite honestly, I enjoyed “Angels & demons” much more and therefore my hopes for the film were quite high.  I remember thinking that “The Da Vinci code” was a good film but seemed rather long, slowly paced, and I kept wondering why tom hanks was given the role of Robert Langdon and what in the world were they thinking about his hair.  They seemed to have taken the criticism from the first film and corrected their mistakes.  Tom hanks has slimmed down, been given a hair cut and is shown enjoying Langdon’s favorite past time of swimming with the physique to match.  This film clocks in at about 2 hours and 20 minutes; about the same length as the first film, but the pacing of this one is more taut and tightly paced.

Without giving away the entire plot, the story revolves around an ancient society called the “Illuminati” and their connection to the Catholic Church and a desire to destroy the church.  Robert Langdon is brought in to help uncover this plot due to a book he has written about the “illuminati” and his connection to the church from “The Da Vinci Code”.  This takes us on a race around Rome searching for clues to the location of a bomb threatening Vatican City and a time table that keeps the action constant.  This action is pushed forward and heightened by the brilliant score by Hans Zimmer.

The performances were outstanding, particularly from Ewan McGregor and Tom Hanks seems to have grown more comfortable in the role.  The two of them are the driving forces of this movie.  Tom Hanks is given much more to do in this film other than just looking for clues and symbols.  He uses that knowledge but is also put in some thrilling situations and given action sequences you might see in a Jason Bourne movie.  With the clock constantly ticking down and shown on the screen, we are kept on the edge of our seats hoping that the next clue is found in time before time runs out.

I’ll admit that I’m finding it difficult to write about this movie, but for no other reason than I don’t want to give too much away.  I felt this was far better than “The Da Vinci Code” as a movie and as a book.  Even though I knew what to expect next, I couldn’t wait to see how they were going to pull it off on screen.  I also like the fact that you didn’t need to see the first movie or any of the events that happened there in order to enjoy this one and know exactly what was happening or who Robert Langdon is as a character.  Go see this movie and hopefully you’ll be just as anxious for the next book and movie as I am.  Dan Brown’s new book, “The Lost Symbol”, will be released on September 15, 2009.

~J. Chandler

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