|Angels and Demons|
|Directed by||Ron Howard|
|Produced by||Ron Howard
|Written by||David Koepp
Dan Brown (book)
Nikolaj Lie Kaas
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Editing by||Daniel P. Hanley
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)||May 14, 2009
May 15, 2009
|Running time||146 minutes|
|Preceded by||The Da Vinci Code|
Angels & Demons is a 2009 American film adaptation of Dan Brown's novel by the same name. It is the sequel to The Da Vinci Code, even though the novel Angels & Demons was published first and takes place before the novel The Da Vinci Code. Filming took place in Rome, Italy, and the Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California. Tom Hanks reprises the lead role of Robert Langdon, while director Ron Howard, producer Brian Grazer, composer Hans Zimmer and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman also return.
Under the watchful eyes of Father Silvano Bentivoglio and Dr. Vittoria Vetra, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) initiates the Large Hadron Collider and creates, in three vials, suspended particles of antimatter larger than any that have ever been detected before. Immediately afterwards, someone kills Father Silvano and steals a vial.
The Roman Catholic Church mourns the death of Pope Pius XVI in Rome. Vatican City prepares for the papal conclave which will elect the next Pope. Camerlengo Patrick McKenna assumes temporary control of the Vatican while faithful members of the Church crowd into Saint Peter's Square, waiting for a successful vote. The Illuminati kidnap the 'preferiti' (the four most likely candidates to be elected pope) before the conclave enters seclusion. They threaten to kill one every hour and then destroy the Vatican in a burst of light at midnight. A stolen security camera shows the missing antimatter vial, which will catastrophically explode when the vial's battery dies and the magnetic containment field fails.
The Vatican summons symbologist Robert Langdon from Harvard University and Vittoria Vetra from CERN to help them solve the Illuminati's threat, save the four preferiti, and replace the vial's batteries. Langdon listens to the Illuminati message and deduces that the four cardinals will die at the four altars of the "Path of Illumination." However, no one knows where these altars are located.
Vetra calls for Father Silvano's diaries from Switzerland, hoping that they contain the name of the person with whom Silvano discussed the antimatter experiment. Langdon also demands access to the Vatican Secret Archives to see the original copy of Galileo Galilei's banned book. Using the clues from this book, Langdon, Vetra, Inspector General Ernesto Olivetti, and Lieutenant Valenti of the Vatican Gendarmerie Corps race to the first church (Chigi Chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Popolo), only to find the first cardinal, Cardinal Ebner, dead, suffocated with dirt, eaten by rats and branded with an ambigrammatic word "Earth". They verify the second altar's location (Saint Peter's Square) and arrive, only to witness the death of the second cardinal, Cardinal Lamassé, his lungs punctured and his body branded with an ambigrammatic word "Air". While Vetra studies Silvano's diaries, Langdon and the Vatican officers locate the third church (Santa Maria della Vittoria) and try to save the third cardinal, Cardinal Guidera, from burning to death, but the assassin appears and kills everyone but Langdon. The cardinal succumbs to the flames, his body branded with an ambigrammatic word "Fire".
After escaping, Langdon convinces two Carabinieri officers to race with him to the last church of the "Water" altar, but the assassin murders them and drops the fourth cardinal, Cardinal Baggia, weighted down, into the Fountain of the Four Rivers. However, Langdon saves the cardinal, who tells him the location of the Illuminati's lair: Castel Sant'Angelo. Carabinieri, Vatican Gendarmerie, and Swiss Guard officers converge on the location to search for the antimatter vial. They discover the van used by the assassin along with the bodies of the two Carabinieri officers at what appears to be a dead end. They leave to search the castle but Langdon and Vetra stay to search and discover a hidden passageway to the Vatican. As they search further, they discover a brand with two crossed keys, the Papal symbol. Realizing the brand is meant for Camerlengo McKenna, they try to call him to warn him but are confronted by the assassin who spares their lives since they are not armed and he has not been paid to kill them. He reveals that his contractors were from the Catholic Church. The assassin escapes and finds a vehicle containing his payment, but is killed by a car bomb upon starting the engine.
Langdon and Vetra discover that the final victim of the plot will be Camerlengo McKenna. After arriving at the Vatican via a secret passage, they and some Swiss Guards enter the Camerlengo's office and find him in the floor branded with the Vatican's symbol on his chest and Commander Richter near him with a gun. The Guards promptly kill Richter to save the camerlengo. During the confusion, the dying commander gives Langdon a key to his office. Then the camerlengo, Langdon, Vetra, and the Swiss Guards discover the location of the stolen antimatter vial. By the time they find it, the battery is about to expire, the deadly explosion just minutes away. The camerlengo seizes the vial and uses a helicopter meant for escape from the Vatican to fly above the church. He then activates the autopilot and escapes with a parachute. After several seconds, the bomb explodes and the camerlengo lands, now considered a hero by the crowd and even as the best candidate to be the new Pope by the College of Cardinals.
Meanwhile, Langdon and Vetra use Richter's key to watch a security video showing that the mastermind behind the murders of the original Pope and the preferiti and the antimatter robbery, in fact, is the camerlengo and not the Illuminati. In the security video, while Richter tries to arrest McKenna, the priest brands himself with a seal that resembles Saint Peter's upside-down crucifixion and accuses the commander being a member of the Illuminati. Langdon shows the video to the College. After the camerlengo realizes his plot has been uncovered, he burns himself with oil from one of the 99 holy lamps inside St. Peter's Basilica.
The Vatican announces that the camerlengo died due to internal wounds suffered during his landing, while a news reporter reveals that the public is demanding that he be canonized. The College designate the Cardinal Baggia as the new Pope (who chooses to take the name Luke), and Cardinal Strauss as the new camerlengo. The new camerlengo thanks Robert Langdon for saving the Vatican and the new Pope, and as a mark of his gratitude loans Galileo's "Diagramma Veritas" to Langdon for his reference, requesting that in Langdon's will, he will ensure the document is returned to the Vatican after his death. Cardinal Baggia (now known as Pope Luke I) walks out on the balcony to the cheering crowd in St. Peter's Square.
In 2003, Sony acquired the film rights to Angels & Demons along with The Da Vinci Code in a deal with author Dan Brown. In May 2006, following the film release of the 2006 film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, Sony hired screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, who wrote the film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, to adapt Angels & Demons. Filming was originally to begin in February 2008 for a December 2008 release, but because of the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, production was pushed back for a May 15, 2009 release. David Koepp rewrote the script before shooting began.
Director Ron Howard chose to treat Angels & Demons as a sequel to the previous film, rather than a prequel, since many had read the novel after The Da Vinci Code. He liked the idea that Langdon had been through one adventure and become a more confident character. Howard was also more comfortable taking liberties in adapting the story because the novel is less popular than The Da Vinci Code. Producer Brian Grazer said they were too "reverential" when adapting The Da Vinci Code, which resulted in it being "a little long and stagey." This time, "Langdon doesn't stop and give a speech. When he speaks, he's in motion." Howard concurred "it's very much about modernity clashing with antiquity and technology vs. faith, so these themes, these ideas are much more active whereas the other one lived so much in the past. The tones are just innately so different between the two stories."
The filmmakers reduced the part of the story that occurs at CERN to being a short introductory sequence, and Langdon does not visit CERN at all. Also, the way in which antimatter is produced was changed due to advice offered by the scientists at CERN. According to these scientists, the technique described by Dan Brown in his book would have required two billion years to produce the necessary amount of antimatter. In the film the newly developed Large Hadron Collider (first run on September 10, 2008, i.e., it did not exist when Dan Brown wrote his book) is used to create the antimatter.
McGregor's character was changed from Italian to Northern Irish, to accommodate the Scottish actor. In the novel, the papal conclave attracts relatively little public attention. In the wake of the huge international interest in the election of Pope Benedict XVI, this was judged to be out of date, and the level of public and press interest is shown as much higher in the film.
The ending of the film was also changed significantly. In the novel, Langdon accompanied the Camerlengo on the helicopter. Also, the Camerlengo's relationship with the Pope was changed from being the biological son of the Pope to being his adopted son. Finally, the last of the kidnapped cardinals survives and is elected pope, with the Great Elector as his Camerlengo, rather than the Great Elector giving up his post and becoming Pope himself.
Shooting began on June 4, 2008 in Rome under the fake working title Obelisk. The filmmakers scheduled three weeks of exterior location filming because of a predicted 2008 Screen Actors Guild strike on June 30. The rest of the film would be shot at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles, California, to allow for this halt. Roman Catholic Church officials found The Da Vinci Code offensive and forbade filming in their churches, so these scenes were shot at Sony. The Caserta Palace doubled for the inside of the Vatican, and the Biblioteca Angelica was used for the Vatican Library. Filming took place at the University of California, Los Angeles in July. Sony and Imagine Entertainment organized an eco-friendly shoot, selecting when to shoot locations based on how much time and fuel it would save, using cargo containers to support set walls or greenscreens, as well as storing props for future productions or donating them to charity.
Howard hated that the Writers Guild strike forced him to delay shooting the film until summer. However, the quick shoot allowed him to refine the naturalism he had employed on his previous film Frost/Nixon, often using handheld cameras to lend an additional energy to the scenes.
Hanks interrupted filming of one scene in order to help Australian bride, Natalia Dearnley, get through the crowds to her wedding on time; Zurer recalled the bride told Hanks "Your hair is much better right now." McGregor said the Pope's funeral was the dullest sequence to film, as they were just walking across staircases. Then, "Someone started singing 'Bohemian Rhapsody' [and] it became the funeral theme tune."
When recreating the interior of St. Peter's Basilica, production designer Allan Cameron and visual effects supervisor Angus Bickerton recognized the 80 feet tall soundstages were only half the size of the real church. They rebuilt the area around and the crypts beneath St. Peter's baldachin, including the bottoms of the columns and Saint Peter's statue, and surrounded it with a 360 degree greenscreen so the rest could be built digitally. Cameron had twenty crew members photograph as much as they could inside the Sistine Chapel, and had artists sketch, photograph and enlarge recreations of the paintings and mosaics from the photographs. Cameron chose to present the Sistine Chapel as it was before it was cleaned up, because he preferred the contrast the smoky, muted colors would present with the cardinals. Although the chapel was built to full size, the Sala Regia was made smaller to fit inside the stage.
The Saint Peter's Square and the Piazza Navona sets were built on the same backlot; after completion of scenes at the former, six weeks were spent converting the set, knocking down the Basilica side and excavating 3 1/2 feet of tarmac to build the fountain. As there had been filming at the real Piazza Navona, the transition between it and the replica had to be seamless. To present the Santa Maria del Popolo undergoing renovation, a police station in Rome opposite the real church was used for the exterior; the scaffolding would hide that it was not the church. Cameron built the interior of Santa Maria del Popolo on the same set as the recreated Santa Maria della Vittoria to save money; the scaffolding also disguised this. The film's version of Santa Maria della Vittoria was larger than the real one, so it would accommodate the cranes used to film the scene. To film the Pantheon's interior, two aediculae and the tomb of Raphael were rebuilt to scale at a height of 30 feet, while the rest was greenscreen. Because of the building's symmetrical layout, the filmmakers were able to shoot the whole scene over two days and redress the real side to pretend it was another. The second unit took photographs of the Large Hadron Collider and pasted these in scenes set at CERN.
Hans Zimmer returned to compose the score for the sequel. He chose to develop the "Chevaliers de Sangreal" track from the end of The Da Vinci Code as Langdon's main theme in the film. The soundtrack also features violinist Joshua Bell. The soundtrack was released on May 12 of 2009. The tracks included in the soundtrack go as follows:
|1||"160 BPM"||6:42||A fast-paced (160 beats per minute, hence the title) track written in the unusual time signature of 7/8 employing many choral, percussive and orchestral layers. It is featured during the scenes at the Chigi Chapel, or Earth altar, as well as in the end credits.|
|2||"God Particle"||5:20||An opening violin solo of Langdon's theme by Joshua Bell leads into a heavily synthesized track that is named for the near-mythical Higgs Boson, a foundational element of Quantum Mechanics. It plays at the very beginning of the film, and during the antimatter creation scene.|
|3||"Air"||9:08||A lengthy, mostly-action suite that appears almost exactly as heard in the film during the scenes on St. Peter's Square in which the second cardinal is branded with the word "Air". The first party however, plays during the locking in of the conclave and the middle part when Langdon and Vetra discover that the Camerlengo has burned himself.|
|4||"Fire"||6:51||An action piece featuring demonic choral effects that plays during the scenes at Santa Maria della Vittoria, or Fire church.|
|5||"Black Smoke"||5:45||Plays during the scenes at the Castel del Angelo, though it is named for the black smoke that is sent from the Sistine Chapel when the cardinals do not reach a consensus.|
|6||"Science and Religion"||12:27||A long, emotional suite that heavily features Bell's violin, soft organ and choir, performing a variation of Langdon's theme, before moving into the climactic music surrounding the camerlengo's sacrificial flight in the helicopter. Its name derives from the central conflict of the film.|
|7||"Immolation"||3:38||A slow, plodding piece which plays during the Camerlengo's suicide.|
|8||"Election By Adoration"||2:12||A piece dominated by organ and solo violin, played at the end of the film when Cardinal Baggia is elected Pope.|
|9||"503"||2:14||A variation of the Chevaliers de Sangreal piece from the soundtrack for The Da Vinci Code for solo violin, organ and orchestra, played during the end credits. Its name derives from the numerical code leading to Galileo's Diagramma text.|
|10||"H2O (Bonus Track)"||1:52||A short track featuring a troubled variation of Langdon's theme, played when he rescues Cardinal Baggia from drowning in the Fountain of Four Rivers (hence the name).|
The DVD for the film for Region 1 was released on November 24, 2009 and a two-disc extended edition running 6 minutes longer. However a one-disc edition of the movie was already released on the 4th October, 2009 for Region 2. This film is rated PG-13.
CBS News interviewed a priest working in Santa Susanna, who stated the Church did not want their churches to be associated with scenes of murder. A tour guide also stated most priests do not object to tourists who visit out of interest after reading the book, a trend which will continue after people see the film. "I think they are aware that it's, you know, a work of fiction and that it's bringing people into their churches." Grazer deemed it odd that although The Da Vinci Code was a more controversial novel, they had more freedom shooting its film adaptation in London and France. Italian authorities hoped the filmmakers corrected the location errors in the novel, to limit the amount of explaining they will have to do for confused tourists.
William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League, has not called for a boycott, but has requested that Catholics inform others about anti-Catholic sentiments in the story. "My goal... is to give the public a big FYI: Enjoy the movie, but know that it is a fable. It is based on malicious myths, intentionally advanced by Brown-Howard." A Sony executive responded they were disappointed Donohue had not created attention for the film closer to its release date. Howard criticized Donohue for prejudging the film, responding it could not be called anti-Catholic since Langdon protects the Church, and because of its depiction of priests who support science.
The official Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has called the film "harmless entertainment", giving it a positive review and acknowledging "The theme is always the same: a sect versus the Church, [but] this time, the Church is on the side of the good guys." Beforehand, it had stated it would not approve the film, while La Stampa reported the Vatican would boycott it. However, it also quoted Archbishop Velasio De Paolis as saying a boycott would probably just have the "boomerang effect" of drawing more attention to Angels & Demons and make it more popular.
In Samoa, the film was banned by principal film censor Lei'ataua Olo'apu. Olo'apu stated that he was banning the film because it was "critical of the Catholic Church" and so as to "avoid any religious discrimination by other denominations and faiths against the Church." The Samoa Observer remarked that Olo'apu himself is Catholic. Samoan society is, in the words of a BBC News article, "deeply conservative and devoutly Christian." The Censorship Board had previously banned the film The Da Vinci Code, for being "contradictory to Christian beliefs."
The film received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 36% of 236 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 5.1 out of 10. The site's general consensus is that "Angels and Demons is a fast-paced thrill ride, and an improvement on the last Dan Brown adaptation, but the storyline too often wavers between implausible and ridiculous, and does not translate effectively to the big screen." Among Rotten Tomatoes' "Top Critics" demographic, which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television, and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 30% based on 37 reviews. Metacritic has a rating score of 48 out of 100 based on 36 reviews.
Richard Corliss of Time magazine gave the film a positive review stating that "Angels & Demons has elemental satisfactions in its blend of movie genre that could appeal to wide segments of the audience." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film with 3 stars praising Howard's direction as an "even-handed job of balancing the scales" and claiming "[the film] promises to entertain." The Christian Science Monitor gave the film a positive review claiming the movie is "an OK action film." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film a 2.5/4 stars claiming "the movie can be enjoyed for the hell-raising hooey it is." Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal gave the movie a mixed review claiming the film "manages to keep you partially engaged even at its most esoteric or absurd."
Neil Smith from Total Film gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, saying: "some of the author's crazier embellishments are jettisoned in a film that atones for The Da Vinci Code's cardinal sin — thou shalt not bore." Kim Newman awarded it 3 out of 5 stars, stating: "every supporting character acts like an unhelpful idiot to keep the plot stirring, while yet again a seemingly all-powerful conspiracy seems to consist of two whole evil guys."
Overseas Angels & Demons maintained the #1 position for the second weekend as well even with the release of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian which opened at #2. The Da Vinci Code had opened domestically to $77.1 million, but the sequel's opening met Columbia Pictures' $40–50 million prediction, since the film's source material was not as popular as its predecessor's. Within more than a month, the film grossed $478,869,160 worldwide, making it the largest grossing film of 2009 until it was surpassed by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Of this $478 million, just over 27% of it is from domestic venues, giving the film unusually high worldwide totals, with over $12 million in Spain, $7 million in Brazil, $13 million in Russia, $14 million in Japan and $21 million in Germany. As of now, it stands as the eighth highest grossing film of the year with $484,725,866 worldwide.
Angels & Demons is a 2009 film directed by Ron Howard, based on Dan Brown's novel of the same name. The film follows Harvard Symbologist Robert Langdon as he attempts to stop a bomb threatening to destroy Vatican City on the eve of Conclave.