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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Angels & Demons 3-disc [Blu-ray]

 

(Ron Howard, 2009)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Sony

Video: Sony Pictures

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 2:26:15.683  / 2:18:37.852

Disc Size: 46,885,741,438 bytes

Feature Size: 35,209,445,376 bytes  / 33,299,324,928 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.14 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Thicker Blu-ray case

Release date: November 24th, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3774 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3774 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio French 2225 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2225 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, French, none

 

Extras:

Disc 2

Featurettes (all in HD):

•"Rome Was Not Built in a Day"
•"Writing 'Angels & Demons'"
•"Characters in Search of the True Story"
•"CERN: Pushing the Frontiers of Knowledge"
•"Handling Props"
•"'Angels & Demons': The Full Story"
•"This Is an Ambigram"


• Theatrical Trailers (HD)

 

Blu-ray Exclusive
•"The Path of Illumination" (interactive - travel to St Peter's Square, Piazza Del Popolo, Saint Maria Della Vittoria, Piazza Navona or the Pantheon)
• Cinechat
• MovieIQ - choose with either theatrical or extended cut play
• Digital Copy
• BD-Live

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Tom Hanks reprises his role from the 2006 film 'The Da Vinci Code' as Harvard symbologist and religious expert Robert Langdon, who works alongside Vittoria (Ayelet Zurer), the beautiful daughter of a murdered Italian physicist, to unravel the clues behind her father's murder and prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican by resurgents of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati, the most powerful underground organisation in history.

 

After the murder of Italian physicist Leonardo Vetra, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon's (Tom Hanks) investigation with Vetra's daughter (Ayelet Zurer) leads to a secret society, the Illuminati, and a quest for the world's most potent -- and deadly -- energy source. Ron Howard directed the crime thriller, which is based on The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown's novel and co-stars Ewan McGregor and Stellan Skarsgård.

 

 

The Film:

A "popular and progressive" pope has just died. The cardinals have been summoned to elect his successor. Four of them, the preferati, the favorites to be next pope, have been kidnapped. They will be executed in succession at 8, 9, 10 and 11 p.m., until the battery on the anti-matter vial runs out of juice at midnight and the faithful will see more than a puff of white smoke above the Vatican. I don't recall if the Illuminati had any demands. Maybe it just wants revenge.

In that case, why hide the vial at the end of a trail that can only be followed by clues discovered or intuited by Professor Langdon? Why not just blow up the place? What is the purpose of the scavenger hunt? Has it all been laboriously constructed as a test of Langdon's awesome knowledge? Are the Illuminati trying to get even after Langdon foiled Opus Dei, another secret society, in "The DaVinci Code"?

I don't know, and, reader, there is no time to care. Langdon uses his knowledge of Illuminati symbols to follow the trail though four Rome churches. He has uncanny luck. He spots and correctly identifies every clue, even though they're very well-hidden. Just as well, because one dungeon overlooked or one statue pointing the wrong way, and he loses. For his companion, Langdon has the beautiful and brilliant Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) from CERN. Her father was murdered in the anti-matter theft. Her purpose is (a) to explain that the battery will indeed run down, (b) request her father's secret journals from Geneva, although they are never read, and (c) run along everywhere with Tom Hanks, to provide him with urgent conversation.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

 

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

This first Blu-ray disc has both the Theatrical and, 7.5 minute longer, Extended cut of the film seamlessly branched.

 

The image quality of Angels & Demons on Blu-ray from Sony is pretty much perfect. There is some consistent background grain - it's a thick, heavy appearance - popular in many 1080P transfers these days. Colors look a shade overly vibrant (it's hard to believe Armin Mueller-Stahl's eyes are that blue - but, heck, maybe they are). If there is manipulation - this would be the only area that would be notable.  The image has a pristine quality probably evolving right from the immaculate art direction with religious objects looking noble, graceful and sometimes textured.  Close-ups are tight and controlled but depth is minimal. This Blu-ray has a very solid theatrical feel and I cannot pinpoint any definite flaws. It looks very impressive. 

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Aside from a lossless French DUB, the only track available is a robust DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3774 kbps. Hans Zimmer gives us a Bernard Herrmann-esque offering with plenty of rich bass power. Like the video there is nothing to complain about - the raging track doesn't drown out dialogue and effects are crisp and very well separated. The Gregorian Chant sounded wonderful. There are English and French subtitles optional and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

 

Extras :

On a second Blu-ray disc are a pile of, about 10 to 20-minutes each, HD featurettes. I actually liked the ones less directly relational to production - "CERN: Pushing the Frontiers of Knowledge" started to drift over my head but was fascinating to view and I also liked the shortish "This Is an Ambigram". There are also some HD Trailers and Previews of other films. This package has all the appropriate Blu-ray bells and whistles with "The Path of Illumination" allowing an interactive travel to St Peter's Square, Piazza Del Popolo, Saint Maria Della Vittoria, Piazza Navona or the Pantheon. It's pretty cool. After pressing 'Play' you have the immediate option to opt for Movie IQ which, if chosen, includes a small icon while the film runs which you can access to have filmic details and information displayed on screen. This only works if your player is connected to the Internet - ditto for the cineChat feature which allows you to chat to friends as the film runs.


There is a Digital Copy for those who might bother to watch this on a portable device (are you THAT busy?) and the disc is BD-Live functional (untested at this time).

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I was expecting to hate this - but I didn't. I enjoyed the pace and let myself get swept up by the dizzying factoids spilling over like an industrial strength popcorn machine. I think the only way to enjoy this is to give over to it - to some degree. Howard is an old hand now at crafting and pacing a film and his competence borders on impressiveness. This is an entertaining film - no question - and the Blu-ray is a grand achievement with exceptional A/V and an abundance of supplements for those who may wish to indulge. There is much here to enjoy and in a year of too-many poor films - surprisingly, this is one of the highlights.   

Gary Tooze

November 21st, 2009

 

 

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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