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 Demon 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.
Most of the set’s extras appear on Disc Two. The prime attraction on Disc One stems from two separate versions of the film. It includes both the theatrical cut and an extended version of Demons. The former runs two hours, 18 minutes and 37 seconds, while the latter goes for two hours, 26 minutes and 15 seconds.
How do the two differ? I’ll be damned if I know. While I saw Demons theatrically, I don’t remember its details well enough to spotlight what differences show up in those added eight minutes. I can say that I feel both editions fare about the same; the extended version works just as well for me.
Over on Disc Two, we find a collection of featurettes. 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 and 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 and 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 it 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 and 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 final 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 piece.
Exclusive to the Blu-ray Disc, an interactive feature called The Path of Illumination takes us through various locations featured in the movie. It sends you to those spots where we can learn various historical, cultural and filmmaking facts. Some of this info comes from short video clips – narrated by Howard – while most of them provide text. The historical/cultural material dominates; you’ll learn much more about those areas than about the creation of the flick.
And that’s fine with me. We already get a lot of movie notes elsewhere, so it’s good to find more about the history in this feature. It’s not the deepest feature of its sort, but it still boasts a good array of information and proves to be stimulating.
A few ads open Disc One. We get clips for Blu-ray Disc, Julie and Julia, and The Da Vinci Code. These also appear in the Previews area along with promos for Year One, Casino Royale, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Whatever Works, and It Might Get Loud. No trailer for Demons shows up anywhere.
As usual, we get a Digital Copy of the film here. As usual, this allows you to put the movie on your computer or portable viewing thingy. As usual, I don’t care.
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.