5 of 5 Stars rating for the movie version of Dan Brown's book Angels and Demons. This book is considered to be the #1 book in the Robert Langdon series as it was written before Da Vinci Code. However, with sales & marketing, most people assume Da Vinci Code is #1. A&D happens before the Da Vinci code. However, Ron Howard & team decided to make A&D happen after DVC in the timeline with several references to DVC. BTW, The Lost Symbol is considered #3 in the series happening after both DVC and A&D.
The story opens at CERN with a group of scientists trying to create anti-matter in large quantities. There are references to finding the "god" particle. We soon learn that one of the scientists is killed and his eye used to gain access to the secure room with the anti-matter. One large container (magnetic enclosure container) was stolen.
Flash forward to Robert Langdon's apartment where a Vatican police officer approaches Langdon to come to Rome to help with an investigation. Well, it is an active case with four kidnapped Cardinales who are to be killed one each hour leading up to midnight when a (anti-matter) bomb will destroy the Vatican. At this time, the current Pope has died (humm, maybe murdered?) and traditional efforts are happening to pick the new Pope. Oh, the four Cardinales are the four leading contenders for the role of new Pope. Why Langdon? Ah, the people claiming to cause this are the Illuminati of which Langdon has been working on a book about them.
Langdon performs some quick research in the Vatican Archives to learn where to start the search for the Cardinales. As with Da Vinci Code, Langdon's search is lead by symbols and history. As he chases each of the four victims, he is too late for most.'
The cool thing about this story is that it takes place within 12 hours of real-time. It is fast paced, exciting, good action with Langdon becoming more of an Indiana Jones with some of the action. The Langdon character is deeply and richly described and is likely to become iconic much like Jones.
As before with Da Vinci, Dan Brown's deep research and crafting of historical facts and locations to meet his needs for the story is impressive. It is interesting to note that all of the Vatican scenes were created in LA as they couldn't get permission to film. Scenes of other locations around Rome were shot on-site. The detail and richness of the sets and costumes is amazing! Tom Hanks as Langdon is wonderful and he is well on his way to being an icon. I can only hope that Howard/Hanks are working on the Lost Symbol.
I highly recommend Angels and Demons it is now on my favorites list. I specially recommend the Blu-Ray 3 disk set with an entire disk of behind-the-scenes materials.