Angels & Demons appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the film looked excellent.
At virtually all times, sharpness excelled. Only a smidgen of mild softness ever impacted on wide shots, as the majority of the movie demonstrated rock-solid clarity and definition. Jagged edges and shimmering failed to occur, and I witnessed no signs of edge enhancement. Print flaws weren’t a factor; the movie always remained clean and fresh.
Demons went with a mildly stylized palette that favored earthy hues. Anticipate lots of deep browns and rich reds here. The colors were consistently full and dynamic. Blacks appeared deep and dark, while shadows displayed good clarity and smoothness. Overall, I really liked this consistently positive presentation.
With its action orientation, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Demons also worked well. The movie boasted a wide and involving soundfield. This showed up during scenes both loud and quiet. During the former, music offered nice stereo presence, and various environmental elements displayed quality localization and involvement.
The bigger sequences added more pizzazz to the package. These used all five channels in a satisfying manner, as the action scenes created a lot of useful material. While not as dazzling as something more aggressive like Transformers, the mix used the speakers in a way that gave real life to the proceedings.
In addition, audio quality was strong. Music appeared vivid and full, with crisp highs and rich lows. Speech was concise and natural; no issues affected the lines. Effects appeared to be accurate and lively. Those elements lacked distortion and they boasted nice low-end during their louder moments. Overall, I felt pleased with the mix.
How did the 2016 Blu-ray compare to the original 2009 release? Both picture and audio appeared virtually identical to me. If any changes came with the 2016 disc, I couldn’t discern them.
Whereas the original Blu-ray placed all the extras on a second disc, the 2016 Demons places everything on the same platter as the movie. This means we lose the film’s 146-minute “Extended Cut” and get only the 138-minute theatrical version. That seems like a shame, but I can’t say it’s a huge loss, as the longer edition of the film didn’t stand out as superior.
Though not integrated into the film, we do get all 11 of the Extended Cut Scenes on their own. This collection runs nine minutes, 23 seconds and lets us see the added material.
These tend toward brief additions. We get more of the backstage machinations in the church as well as a little more of Langdon in action. The extra scenes neither help nor harm the film.
Most of the remaining extras repeat from the prior Blu-ray. Rome Was Not Built In a Day goes for 17 minutes, 30 seconds and provides remarks from director Ron Howard, executive producer/2nd unit director Todd Hallowell, costume designer Daniel Orlandi, production designer Allan Cameron, visual effects supervisor Angus Bickerton, editors Mike Hill and Dan Hanley, composer Hans Zimmer, Double Negative 3D supervisor Graham Jack and actors Ewan McGregor and Tom Hanks. “Rome” gives us a general overview of the flick, as it looks at sets and locations, visual effects, costumes and visual design, editing, sound design and music.
As implied by the title, the show mostly concentrates on elements related to the recreation of Rome for the flick. With less than 18 minutes at its disposal, “Rome” bites off a little more than it can chew, as it rushes through the various production areas in a rather rapid manner. That said, it manages to convey quite a lot of good information, and it keeps us interested.
Adaptation issues come to the fore in Writing Angels & Demons. This 10-minute, nine-second piece features Howard, Hanks, producer Brian Grazer, author/executive producer Dan Brown, and writers David Koepp and Akiva Goldsman. “Writing” discusses the differences between Code and Demons as well as aspects of the script and adaptation.
I like the parts of “Writing” that get into the book’s origins/development and a few changes, but there’s not much real substance to the featurette. We learn a little about the film’s production but not enough to make it particularly memorable.
Next comes Characters in Search of the True Story. In the 17-minute, 10-second program, we hear from Howard, Hanks, Brown, Grazer, McGregor, and actors Ayelet Zurer, Pierfrancesco Favino, Stellan Skarsgard, and Armin Mueller-Stahl. “Search” digs into cast, characters and performances.
At times “Search” feels like a promotional featurette, as it often just tells us basic story/character notes. We get a couple of intriguing thoughts about differences between the novel and the movie, but otherwise this is a fairly ordinary piece.
We get info about facts behind the fiction with CERN: Pushing the Frontiers of Knowledge. During the 14-minute, 52-second program, we find notes from Howard, Hanks, CERN Director of Research Dr. Sergio Bertolucci, Head of Communications Dr. James Gillies, Operations Group Leader Dr. Mike Lamont, and research physicist Dr. Rolf Landua.
This show gives us details about CERN, the leading lab that researches particle physics, and some of the scientific principles featured in the movie. At times, “Frontiers” gives us useful facts about the flick’s science. However, too often it feels like a promo reel for CERN.
Handling Props lasts 11 minutes, 35 seconds and features Howard and property master Trish Gallaher Glenn. Mostly via notes from Glenn, we learn about various physical items that appear throughout the film. This gives us a nice glimpse of the details we otherwise might not notice.
More behind the scenes details emerge in the nine-minute, 46-second Angels & Demons: The Full Story. It provides remarks from Hanks, Howard, Brown, Orlandi, McGregor, and stunt coordinator Brad Martin. “Story” zips through shooting in Rome, sets, costumes, stunts and cinematography.
Much of this info already appears elsewhere, so don’t expect much fresh info in this promo piece. The details about costumes are the most interesting, and some good footage from the shoot appears, at least.
For the next featurette, we locate This Is an Ambigram. It goes for four minutes, 46 seconds as it offers statements from Howard, Brown, and Wordplay author John Langdon. We learn about ambigrams and their use in the movie. This is a quick but enjoyable segment.
In addition to two trailers for Demons, we get Legacy of Langdon, a preview for Inferno, the next Robert Langdon film. This runs four minutes, 10 seconds and offers info from Howard, producer Brian Grazer, author Dan Brown, and actor Tom Hanks. We get a quick overview of story/characters, cast and performances and sets/locations. Expect nothing more than a superficial puff piece.
As I mentioned earlier, this disc drops the movie’s Extended Cut, and it also loses an “interactive feature” called “Path of Illumination”. Though not a great component, “Path” gave us some good material, so it goes missed.
Perhaps I enjoyed Angels & Demons due to the exceedingly low expectations I felt after the dull Da Vinci Code, but I don’t think so. I’ve now seen it twice, and I think it offers a fairly lively, taut little adventure. The Blu-ray gives us very good picture and audio along with a decent set of supplements. Even if you didn’t care for Code, Demons deserves a look.
And if you choose to watch Demons, I’d recommend that you get the original 2009 Blu-ray. The 2016 release drops an extended cut of the film and a decent interactive feature while it adds nothing more than an advertisement for another movie. The original Blu-ray remains the strongest edition.
To rate this film, visit the original review of ANGELS & DEMONS