Angels and Demons is a 'busy' sequel

PUBLISHED: 11:58 15 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:11 07 September 2010

Though The Da Vinci Code made $758.2 million worldwide and currently is No. 27 in the all-time box office list, star Hanks (pictured) and director Howard have remarkably little to live up to with their sequel to The Da Vinci Code. Like Matrix Reloaded or

Though The Da Vinci Code made $758.2 million worldwide and currently is No. 27 in the all-time box office list, star Hanks (pictured) and director Howard have remarkably little to live up to with their sequel to The Da Vinci Code.

Like Matrix Reloaded or the last Indiana Jones, it's an example of that strange modern phenomenon, the unloved blockbuster.

This is my first experience of Dan Brown (it's odd to see a movie where, by reputation, the plot synopsis in the press notes is likely to be a superior piece of prose to the actual book) and you can certainly see why he's so popular.

Within the first 10 minutes he's killed off a Pope and whipped us off to the Large Hadron Collider for the theft of some anti-matter. The race against time plot around Rome is fevered nonsense but all the intrigue is backed up with loads of scientific and historical research and that's an intoxicating mix.

The Da Vinci Code was slammed as being slow and plodding so this time the film is breathlessly busy, always on the go. But it is in such a rush you miss out on any excitement or interest there is in working out the codes. The film's like a fund-raising Comic Relief stunt - an expositional fun run where actors jog around Rome quoting long tracts about Catholic history.

So given that you can't win with a Dan Brown movie you have to commend all concerned with making the best of it. Hanks isn't great as Harvard symbologist Langdon but I kept imagining Harrison Ford in the role and how hectoring and grating he would be. Director Howard complains that the Vatican did everything to hamper their shoot around Rome but this part virtual, part studio, part location vision of the Eternal City is faultlessly rendered and looks fantastic.

Director Ron Howard Starring Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor,

Ayelet Zurer, Stellan Skarsgard and

Armin Mueller-Stahl

138 mins

Three stars


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