For those who've seen the film adaptation of 'The Da Vinci Code,' you will be happy to know that Dan Brown's 'Angels & Demons,' is less talk and more action. Like 'Code,' 'Angels' is filled with such far-fetched story lines that you'll be instantly drawn in or dismiss this as another convoluted film from Ron Howard.
Back in the mix as the film's protagonist is Tom Hanks, who plays Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon. With his thorough knowledge of the church and its history, Langdon is taken aback when a Vatican rep asks for his help in locating the house of the Illuminati, an ancient, secret brotherhood that reportedly hates that the Catholic Church.
The pope has passed away, and while high-ranking church officials are in a conclave voting on the next leader, four cardinals are kidnapped.
With less than half a day to solve the mystery behind this attack on the church and possibly all of Rome, Langdon is aided by Italian scientist Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) and the pope's assistant, known as the Camerlengo (Ewan McGregor). Standing in their way are the chief of Vatican security (Stellan Skarsgard) and the eldest cardinal (Armin Mueller-Stahl), who refuses to interrupt the proceedings of the election.
While Hanks is top-billed, the main attraction of the film is its cinematography. Credit goes to Salvatore Totino and Allan Cameron for lacing the film with beautiful designs and sculptures. The film moves at a quicker pace than 'Code' but still has a running time of 138 minutes. Word to Ron Howard: We don't need to know everything from the book.
Hanks, who lost weight since we last saw him and is sporting a new hairdo, is fit and steadfast to trace to the city of Rome in search of possible victims and a time bomb. Zurer is a better complement to Hanks than Audrey Tatou.
Despite the out-of-this-world plot contrivance, the film has the feel of '24,' with its action-oriented style, thrills and intrigue. It's enough to entertain moviegoers, who get exposed to some insider knowledge about the Catholic Church.