The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13/Unrated
Feature running time: 138/146 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English/French DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Starring: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgard, Pierfrancesco Favino, Armin Mueller-Stahl
Directed by: Ron Howard
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Written by: David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 24, 2009
"They have come for their revenge"
In Ron Howard's thrilling follow-up to The Da Vinci Code, expert symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) follows ancient clues on a heart-racing hunt through Rome to find the four Cardinals kidnapped by the deadly secret society, the Illuminati. With the Cardinals' lives on the line, and the Camerlengo (Ewan McGregor) desperate for help, Langdon embarks on a nonstop, action-packed race through sealed crypts, dangerous catacombs, and the most secretive vault on Earth!
After the currently seated Pope unexpectedly passes away, the four cardinals slated for consideration as his successors are kidnapped. The Illuminati, an ancient brotherhood, once at odds with the church, and out of existence for generations, is believed to be responsible for the kidnapping of the cardinals. An experimental antimatter power source capable of leveling a small city should it become unstable is stolen from CERN and hidden in the underground catacombs beneath the Vatican. Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon and Scientist Vittoria Vetra from CERN are summoned to Rome to assist the Swiss Guard and protectors of the Vatican by examining the messages left by the Illuminati in the hope of locating the missing cardinals and the potentially destructive antimatter. The problem is that time is of the essence. Beginning at 8:00 PM one cardinal will be killed every hour and after the last the Vatican will be destroyed in a burst of light. The burst of light symbolizing the cataclysmic explosion caused by the antimatter once the batteries powering the vial it is contained in run out. With the pope deceased the Camerlengo, a papal court official assumes temporary control of the Vatican. The convening of the College of Cardinals (papal conclave) in order to select a new pope has the Catholic Church in a state of disarray. With the clock ticking Robert, Vittoria and the Swiss Guard race to try and locate the proposed locations where each cardinal is to be murdered while working against the impending destruction of Vatican city.
I haven’t read Dan Brown’s novels but enjoyed 2006’s The DaVinci Code on home video. I thought that its story as translated to film was cohesive and engaging but was paced a bit too slow and dragged at times. I didn’t see Angels and demons during its theatrical run but the majority of feedback I got from those that did was positive. Both the theatrical and extended cuts of the film are included here which is welcomed. I watched the theatrical cut for this review and enjoyed it. Unlike The DaVinci Code I thought the pacing was smoother and appreciated the level of suspense, action and engaging performances by the cast. Tom Hanks gives another strong turn in the Robert Langdon role. Stellan Skarsgard is one of my favorite character actors and did a great job of elevating the distrust of Commander Richter. I have to admit that for me the final act kept this from being a better film. Convenient contrivances involving Robert’s intervention followed by several unrealistic scenarios left me occasionally raising one eyebrow however all things considered it didn’t prevent me from having a good time with Angels and demons.
The rating is for sequences of violence, disturbing images and thematic material.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Angels and demons comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 mbps lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate 3.2 mbps.
This is a excellent high definition video presentation from Sony. Image depth during the brighter sequences is appreciable from nearly every camera perspective. Objects within backgrounds have definable structure/texture which makes them appear very lifelike and three dimensional. The video is crisp with natural looking, well balanced colors that give it a transparent and lustrous quality. Shadow detail is strong which enhances depth during dark segments that contain limited light. Blacks are deep, dynamic and stable which adds punch to sequences containing both light and dark elements. Contrast is strong which delivers bright punchy whites and vivid eye popping primary colors. The exterior shots of Rome and the Vatican exhibit excellent delineation, and long range acuity. Fleshtones are warm, creamy and lifelike. Resolution during a few of the darkened sequences softens a bit but not to a point where I found it to be problematic. I thought that at times this video presentation looked stunning and exhibited quality that rivals the best releases I have seen on Blu-ray.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is a good one that makes excellent use of the entire system platform. It is lead by Hans Zimmer’s rousing music score that sounds fantastic as it sets the tone that drives the story’s elements. This is a fairly active and at times dynamic surround mix that employ’s the subwoofer and rear channels to stimulate the senses and draw you into the film. This creates a believable and enveloping sound field that replicates the film’s various interior/exterior environments as well as the feeling of riding in an elevator or the rear of an armored truck. Low frequency effects have substantial weight and presence that occasionally fill the room with deep, punctuated bass. The front and rear soundstages combine perfectly as sounds emanating from both during panning and dimensionally spaced sequences are seamless. Dialogue and sounds within the recording are highly detailed and clearly articulated throughout the course of the presentation. I think it sounds great.
* CIH users should note that the subtitles fall within both the picture and letterbox area*
- Theatrical & Extended versions of the film with Movie IQ option
- BD Previews: Julie & Julia, The DaVinci code, Year one, Casino Royale, Close Encounters of the third kind, Whatever works, It might get loud
- BD-Live enabled
- (HD) Path of illumination – Interactive map feature
- (HD) Rome was not built in a day – 17 minute featurette
- (HD) Writing Angels and demons – 10 minute featurette
- (HD) Characters in search of the story – 17 minute featurette
- (HD) CERN: Pushing the frontiers of knowledge – 15 minute featurette
- (HD) Handling props – 11 minute featurette
- (HD) Angels and demons: The full story – 9 minute featurette
- (HD) This is ambigram – 4 minutes
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc
While not a perfectly executed thriller, Angels and demons succeeds in providing a suspenseful and well orchestrated film experience thanks in large part to its strong cast and apt direction. I enjoyed its fan friendly bonus supplements (which include Blu-ray exclusive content), and appreciated the inclusion of both the theatrical and extended cuts of the film. Its high definition presentation from Sony is praiseworthy and enhances the film’s experience on Blu-ray Disc. Highly recommended for fans but suggested as a rental to first time viewers.
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JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
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APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
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Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package