This 4K mastered release of Angels & Demons is certainly an upgrade over its Blu-ray counterpart, HOWEVER, it’s not a huge one nor something worth the $15 price point for a release that didn’t bother porting over the features (even if they were placed on a second disc). Still, if you have the proper equipment you’ll see a good difference.
Sony | PG13 – 138 min. – $19.99 | May 14, 2013
Directed by: Ron Howard
Writer(s): Dan Brown (novel); David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman (screenplay)
Cast: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgard, Pierfrancesco Favino
Theatrical Release Date: May 15, 2009
Features: UltraViolet Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 41.8 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
Note: This portion was taken from my original theatrical review written in 2009. No updates have been made.
Angels & Demons, the sequel to 2006’s The Da Vinci Code, was originally slated for a 2008 release but due to the writers’ strike, it was delayed. Many, myself included, felt The Da Vinci Code was a bloated and boring adaptation to a controversial international best seller that told the story that Jesus took on a wife and his bloodline still existed. However, where there was extreme interest in Da Vinci, such controversies were basically non-existent with Angels & Demons.
Is A & D a better movie than the original? Not that it was too hard to do, but yes. It is still an expositional talk-fest as Harvard symbolist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is summoned by, of all people, the Vatican as four cardinals have been kidnapped on the eve of a conclave (the pope had just died). The party responsible is the Vatican’s old nemesis, the Illuminati, a group long dormant and out for revenge threatening to kill each cardinal in a painful and public way every hour. Now Langdon and physicist Vittoria (Ayelet Zurer), whose colleague was murdered at the opening of the film, race around Vatican City. Oh, and that physicist was murdered to steal some anti-matter that if becomes unstable would make a major boom-bam-boom at the stroke of midnight…
Assisting on the race against time are Camerlengo Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor), Commander Richter (Stellan Skarsgård) of the Swiss Guard and Inspector Olivetti (Pierfrancesco Favino) of the Vatican police.
** Note: This section may contain spoilers. **
The movie isn’t particularly interesting as it seems the characters were more invested in the events than the audience ever was and as many flaws The Da Vinci Code had, it at least had a more layered plot and an international flair (Paris to England to Scotland), neither of which Angels & Demons contained. Instead, 95% of the movie takes place in Vatican City and it’s a fairly linear story with an even more predictable ultimate villain as director Ron Howard, plus in large part screenwriters David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman and author Dan Brown, don’t disguise him that well. Howard and company painfully point to a couple characters which then in turn pointed to that character we should least expect.
** End Spoilers **
In any case, Angels & Demons isn’t as bad as the original primarily because of Tom Hanks’ charisma, which is the only reason. Like no other actor, Hanks is a man who could read the phone book and we would all lean forward with fascination, even if the story in this case was less interesting than a phone book. Good news is, while the first half of the film is quite slow and even partially confusing especially during the development of the anti-matter (don’t ask), it picks up pace as our intrepid characters run around Vatican City while within the Vatican, Catholic politics erupts as a new pope must be selected (and the leading candidates have been kidnapped).
The supporting cast is decent enough, though nobody particularly stands out. Ewan McGregor is a fine actor and plays his role nicely, but he lacked the substance compared to someone like Alfred Molina or Jean Reno; Stellan Skarsgård is, as always, suspicious enough but not very effective and Ayete Zurer as the solo female character is surprisingly duller than Audrey Tatou.
I guess if anything in this film impressed me; it was the recreation of St. Peter’s Square, a location critical to the film’s plot. Much how set designers were able to recreate Louvre Museum for certain shots. But that’s as far as it goes for the film. It’s a movie that when it was all done I could care less about. It’s not particularly awful or even boring, but it also wasn’t very good. It’s a movie that I probably will forget within a few days.
Sure, Angels & Demons may not be as much of a bore as The Da Vinci Code, it still has plenty of problems especially with a plodding storyline and still quite a bit of exposition.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0/5
Due to disc space, or lack thereof, none of the features from the original Blu-ray were ported over. However, there is an UltraViolet Digital Copy download code.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
Sony has released Angels & Demons onto Blu-ray using the 4K Master providing for a higher-quality video transfer. I will say, this transfer does look fantastic showing incredible detail throughout and good contrast that, from my memory, does match the film’s theatrical presentation. Now, it should be noted the original Blu-ray release also had great video so it’s neither a huge jump nor one that will be noticeable for those with smaller televisions, but it’s still a fine transfer
AUDIO – 5.0/5
Getting a nice bump, the disc’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA features high levels of audio from the beginning with the over-the-top score (which I like and own) giving a boom to the theater room. The dialogue levels are well balanced and the general action sequences showcasing that home theater experience.
OVERALL – 3.75/5
Overall, this 4K mastered release of Angels & Demons is certainly an upgrade over its Blu-ray counterpart, HOWEVER, it’s not a huge one nor something worth the $15 price point for a release that didn’t bother porting over the features (even if they were placed on a second disc). Still, if you have the proper equipment you’ll see a good difference.