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May 12, 2009

http://www.upi.com/Entertainment_News/2009/05/12/Angels-Demons-soundtrack-released/UPI-
99161242158318/

'Angels & Demons' soundtrack released

(L-R) Director Ron Howard and actor Tom Hanks, actress Ayelet Zurer, producer Brian Grazer attend a press conference for the
film "Angels & Demons" in Tokyo, Japan, on May, 7, 2009. (UPI Photo/Keizo Mori)

NEW YORK, May 12 (UPI) -- Sony Classical Tuesday released the original motion picture
soundtrack of its upcoming Vatican-set movie "Angels & Demons."

The album features an original score by Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer and
solos by Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell.

The movie, which is a follow-up to the blockbuster "The Da Vinci Code" is slated to open Friday
with Tom Hanks reprising his role as mystery-solving Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon.

"Joshua played like an angel with his violin framed by the contrasting starkness of the
electronics," Zimmer said in a statement. "He added such beauty and grace to the music, and
such depth to the characters. He is an extraordinary artist."

"There's nothing formulaic about the way Hans thinks about the score," film director Ron Howard
said, adding that Zimmer's music always "suits the sound that the film calls for."
May 2009

Angels and Demons *** 1/2

HANS ZIMMER
Sony Classical 88697-52096-2
9 tracks - 54:20

To anyone who thought Hans Zimmer’s score to The Da Vinci Code was extreme and overdone, just wait until
you hear the music for the manic, operatic Angels & Demons, Ron Howard’s prequel to the popular but
critically scorned 2006 hit. The chorus works so hard in this score that I’m surprised it doesn’t receive a
bigger credit than Joshua Bell, whose violin solos are brilliant but hardly the star of the album. Zimmer
should have hired the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for this project; then again, considering the subject matter,
maybe that wouldn’t have been such a good idea.

Of course, this may all be a part of Ron Howard’s vision, with the director interpreting these Robert Langdon
novels (there’s a third on the way) as sort of a cinematic Ring cycle. Since most of the villains in the films are
located in Vatican City, maybe Zimmer is just following orders to amp it up to 11, to paraphrase Spinal Tap.
However, the composer has been heading in this direction for a long time now, with his contributions to the
Pirates of the Caribbean and Batman series, as well as anything involving Ridley Scott.

The soundtrack is quite compact compared to The Da Vinci Code, but it starts with a bang with the relentless
“160 BPM.” In fact, the first half of the CD is non-stop adrenaline. Even when there are quieter moments (like
those involving Bell’s violin interludes), there’s always a portentous Gregorian chant or low orchestral
rumbling present to warn you that you should lower the volume on your iPod in preparation for the next
aural assault—unless auditory nerve damage is your goal. Given the album’s all but constant tension, I was
totally surprised that the longest cue on the CD, “Science and Religion,” is an extended piece of uninterrupted
meditative music, as if in the middle of all these thrills and chills, someone dropped in a 12-minute Terrence
Malick short. And the penultimate cue, “Election by Adoration,” is the only moment on the entire CD where
there seems to be any shred of (gasp) optimism.

Am I complaining? Not really. Zimmer is a master of the “wall-of-sound” approach. If this was all he was
composing, it might get tiresome, but Zimmer can also deliver something warm and intimate as The Weather
Man or The Holiday. If you liked The Da Vinci Code like I did, you’ll love Angels & Demons. There are a few
hints of the earlier score in this one (mostly in “503,” the album’s beautiful final cue), but the musical link
between the two is more out of a shared intensity than out of themes or motifs. —Cary Wong
May 14, 2009

The Return of Film Music


http://bluecoupe.com/2009/05/return-of-film-music.html

By Tony Buchsbaum

I was afraid film scores were dying. Movie after movie, I craved robust, thoughtful, melodic
scores—and instead ended up with blood pouring from my ears. Even old standbys, the James
Bond film scores, have under-delivered. The series' current composer, David Arnold, who held
such promise early on, now creates scores that are utterly forgettable, devoid of any real
coherence, save for the occasional melodic tease or muscular chase set-piece. Even if they work
in the film—and I'm not at all sure they do—they certainly don't work as independent listening
experiences. And say what you will, I like to listen to film scores afterward.

So when I heard that Hans Zimmer was composing the score for the new Angels & Demons
movie, I tried to temper my anticipation. He did a pretty great job with his work on The Da
Vinci Code, and I was, to be frank, afraid he'd muck this up but good, or simply retread his old
work to the point of being, well, pointless.

But all my fears were for naught. Zimmer's score for Angels & Demons is nothing short of
brilliant. It builds on the melodies he introduced in his Da Vinci Code score, bringing them a
new sense of foreboding, a fresh humanity, and a manic propulsion. It's a combination I just
adore.

The CD's opening track, titled "160 BPM," starts the experience off with a bang, forcing you to
hold on for dear life. This piece for orchestra and choir is like the bastard child of "Tubular
Bells," used to such great effect in The Exorcist. But there's far more color here, and a
fearlessness that brings the music to life. Zimmer—with stunning confidence—juxtaposes
unrelenting power with memorable melody in a perfect six minutes. As excited as I was to see
the film, this managed to up my excitement into the stratosphere.

From here, Zimmer upgrades his themes from Da Vinci, layering on new ideas and weaving
things together in beautiful ways. What I call his realization theme, heard so beautifully when
Robert Langdon assembles the symbological pieces of the puzzle, is given exquisite new life
here, especially in the last track, titled "503." At a point in history when film composing seems
to be little more than an afterthought, here is a score than wakes the whole room up again.
This is film music that does what it's supposed to do: It both grounds and enhances the
film...and makes for a fantastic listen on its own.

I hope Angels & Demons is only the start of a summer bursting with great film music—and that
when the chill of fall comes, the art isn't just alive again, but truly thriving.
FILM MUSIC MAGAZINE
May 25, 2009

http://www.filmmusicmag.com/?p=3124

CD Review: Angels & Demons


By Daniel Schweiger •

Composer: Hans Zimmer


Label: Sony Classical
Suggested Retail Price: $12.99
Grade: B+

From the surging orchestra of CRIMSON TIDE to the southwestern rock groove of BROKEN
ARROW and the bat-flap percussion of THE DARK KNIGHT, few composers have changed the
sound of action scoring like Hans Zimmer and a “team” that’s included such musicians as Ramin
Djawdi, John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams. Largely ignoring the kind of specific “hits” that
such old school composers as Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner and Alan Silvestri have used since
scoring time immemorial to underline each explosion, body blow and gun shot, Zimmer and crew
have always heard excitement as part of a bigger picture, incorporating orchestra, pop grooves and
ethnic percussion in a state-of-the-art way that’s evolved the sound of such 1980’s synth maestros
as Harold Faltemeyer and Giorgio Moroder to the next level. It’s an approach that might be
amorphous at times, but has an undeniable, melodic beat that makes the work of Zimmer and his
compatriots as highly listenable, and enjoyable as the best pop song. It’s excitement with a groove,
action scoring as a big, destructive dance number.

In ANGELS AND DEMONS, that booming tune involves blowing up the Vatican with a black hole,
not to mention assassinating the pope and generally putting the hurt on the Catholic religion. I’ve
remembered some exciting papal elections. But rarely this exciting. And the often ludicrous,
religioso-conspiracy fun of ANGELS AND DEMONS is what makes this latest entry in the Zimmer
cannon especially interesting, for the composer and company are applying an approach usually
meant for nuclear terrorists to men of the cloth, and an agnostic hero who always seems to have
bigger ties to the man up there. Subsequently you have Latin choruses, church bell percussion and
Liturgical mass rhythms going at it at volume 11 with an excitement that’s almost unholy. If
Zimmer’s score for the first Langdon adventure THE DA VINCI CODE had an almost beatifically
calming quality, then ANGELS AND DEMONS is religioso thrash, suspense that not so much
threatens the Vatican’s destruction as the Apocalypse itself.

Marking another musically successful teaming with director Ron Howard that began with the
patriotic marches of BACKDRAFT, the composer and director are again hell-bent on making a
score the most exciting thing ever, even when the participants onscreen aren’t as hyped up as the
filmmakers themselves seem to be. Just as Zimmer turned the interview between David Frost and
Richard Nixon into the nation-altering event it wasn’t, the composer is cranking away with
excitement when people onscreen seem barely seem phased that the Vatican’s going to implode in
twelve hours. And just as in FROST / NIXON, Zimmer’s forced momentum generates a lot of
suspense when the film necessarily isn’t. Of course he’s working here on a much broader canvas.
And it’s true of how DEMONS reflects on THE DA VINCI CODE as well- a more successful film
than where Zimmer’s music had to cover gobs of truly interesting, and revelatory dialogue that de-
constructed Christianity itself.

Now more than ever, it’s important for Zimmer’s way of swathing long chunks of film time with
undulating melody to pay off, especially as what’s being said inspires sideways glances instead of
revelation. Responding to the biting (and in my opinion undeserved criticism) that the otherwise
financially successful DA VINCI CODE got, everything about ANGELS AND DEMONS is about a
race against time- of course with long patches of revelatory dialogue that it doesn’t seem that these
people should really have the time to stand around talking about. And the result is Zimmer’s CODE
sound on steroids, adrenalin that makes this score no less interesting or mesmerizing than the first.

While there are new themes aplenty, what makes ANGELS AND DEMONS rock is that Zimmer
isn’t adverse to bringing back every seeming theme from THE DA VINCI CODE as well, especially
its SUSPIRIA-like bell motif. His decision wisely gives the listener a musical, and visual recall to the
kind of film they’ll be in for. And it’s a through line that has the sense of not being too different,
even as Zimmer’s score constantly seems to swing into new, interesting directions. Better yet,
there’s a real, balls-out inspirational majesty to the score, a sense of religious reverence in spite of
a plot that hasn’t exactly pleased The Church. Imagine a kid trying to pay attention to the rituals of
Sunday Service, while relentlessly tapping his foot under the pew, and you’ll hear the idea.
All of this doesn’t mean that Zimmer doesn’t frequently underplay what’s frenetically occurring in
spurts on screen- a decision that doesn’t pay off any better than in the highlight cue “Science and
Religion.” A cosmic explosion has just occurred. Yet the composer goes against it with gorgeously
subtle melody, choral voices and the truly blessed violin playing of Joshua Bell. His scoring is
about what’s going inside of peoples’ heads as they’re witnessing the best effects that money can
buy, the feeling of a true god-like event occurring. It’s a standout cue among Zimmer’s holy cannon
of action cues. But this isn’t the only moment of interior reflection that conjures the majesty of St.
Peters Cathedral, and the inspirational meaning of a new pope to so many in “Election by
Adoration.”

But most of the time, there are plenty of notes going off in ANGELS AND DEMONS to suit this
follow-up’s shift into more typical suspense. And all of the next-gen technology that’s sent Zimmer’s
sound into the popular stratosphere is given a workout, one that’s far more interesting than the
overwhelming darkness of his Batman scores of yore, especially when this subject lets Zimmer use
a pipe organ and chorus of the Vatican, as opposed to the nerve-splitting dissonance of The
Joker’s string and sample sustain theme. Even with another “sequel score” such as this, Hans
Zimmer continues to do unique things. He might be a heretic to some for his Martin Luther-ism of
what used to film scoring. But when you listen to his undeniable gift for melody and technology
ascend to the heavens here, there’s no denying that this composer and his team of acolytes have
been touched by something greater. They might not be trying to individually brush stroke every
painting in the Sistine Chapel where ANGEL’s all-important Papal conclave takes place. But damn
if they haven’t tossed a glorious bunch of colors to coat its ceiling with.
http://www.filmtracks.com/titles/angels_demons.html

Filmtracks Recommends:

Buy it... if you consistently adore Hans Zimmer's predictably masculine choral bombast and
propulsive bass ostinatos on pulsating strings or synthesizers regardless of their marginal
variation.

Avoid it... if you expect refreshing originality or anything as compelling as the "CheValiers de
Sangreal" performance of the common title theme from the previous score.

Filmtracks Editorial Review:

Angels & Demons: (Hans Zimmer/Various) One of the few entertaining aspects
of contemporary Catholic power is its inability to intelligently handle (or "spin,"
as it's called these days) what it perceives as pop culture attacks to its
sensibilities. Ron Howard's The Da Vinci Code grossed three quarters of a
billion dollars worldwide in 2006, a sum produced in part because of the
Zimmer popularity of novelist Dan Brown's original story, a magnificent marketing
campaign by Sony, and useless protests by the Catholics. When will organized
religious learn that protesting a pop culture film will only yield higher earnings for the studios?
The amusing part of the equation came when Howard decided to make Brown's prequel (or
sequel, depending on whether you follow the chronology of the books or the somewhat altered
one in the films), Angels & Demons, a few years later. Despite the fact that the plot of this
second film actually involves the defense of the Vatican by Harvard symbologist Robert
Langdon, the Catholics couldn't resist punishing Howard for The Da Vinci Code by refusing to
allow him adequate access to film Angels & Demons on location in Rome (reducing the time
of the shoot there to just two weeks and forcing special effects to render the rest). Howard
persevered, however, and in so doing managed to correct some of the problems with the
translation of Brown's previous narrative to the big screen. While The Da Vinci Code
attempted to infuse too much of the cerebral historical discussion into the plot to make it a
viable chase film, Angels & Demons represents a better balance of propulsive adventure and
intellectual contemplation. The villains of the second film are the Illuminati, a group of
progressives in Europe dating back several centuries who have determined that the time is right
to exact their revenge on the Vatican for once persecuting them. Their possession of an anti-
matter bomb, four kidnapped cardinals, and a mole inside the Vatican's inner circle force the
Catholic leadership to seek the help of Langdon to use the clues in the Church's history to avoid
an embarrassing and deadly elimination of St. Peter's Square and all of its faithful. While
nobody ever expected Angels & Demons to earn as much as its predecessor, its outstanding
production values gave Sony high hopes. And, right on cue, the Vatican belatedly declared the
film to be of no threat to its narrow view of the universe.

Nominated for a Golden Globe and a Grammy Award for his work on The Da Vinci Code was
composer Hans Zimmer. The score represented one of the few mostly solo efforts for the
composer in the 2000's, and it predictably divided listeners along familiar lines. It was a score
derived purely of Zimmer's comfortable foundations, glossing over the intellectual nuances of
the tale with emotional ostinatos of masculine bass that have come to define his career since
Batman Begins. Few can argue that the inspirational "CheValiers de Sangreal" cue from The
Da Vinci Code isn't among the highlights of the composer's career, but as with Pearl Harbor
and a handful of other scores, Zimmer has proven several times that his ability to generate
outstanding music doesn't always accompany the topics on screen as well as necessary. Not
only did the constructs and orchestration of The Da Vinci Code lack the intellectual depth to
match the script, but Zimmer's usual tendency to mix his scores with heavy bass and an
abrasive edge caused the recording to sound as though he had used samples when in fact it was
largely symphonic. The tables are turned in Angels & Demons, though the result is marginally
similar. In the time since The Da Vinci Code, Zimmer's popularity has continued to rise,
despite his role as mostly a producer and coordinator of his personal musical production house,
Remote Control. During the media circus involving The Dark Knight in 2008, the composer
announced that he would retire from film scoring for a while once done with Howard's
Frost/Nixon. Alas, 2009 has not only yielded Angels & Demons, but reportedly additional
projects on the horizon. Another awkward Zimmer statement recently came at the debut of
Angels & Demons, where he stated that he completely wiped his slate clean when conceiving
of the music for this film, using no material that had come before. At about the same time, he
contradicted himself in a joint interview with Howard, both claiming that the theme from
"CheValiers de Sangreal" clearly represents a musical identity for Langdon's journey and thus
serving as the backbone for this sequel score. The use of that theme in promotional material for
Angels & Demons is unmistakable as well. Ultimately, close examination of the score shows
that much from The Da Vinci Code does carry over, despite Zimmer's bizarre statement to the
contrary at the film's red carpet media frenzy.

One of the ironies of Ron Howard's remarkable career as a director is his collaboration with
both Zimmer and James Horner for his soundtracks. While Horner's tendency to rely on his
own, previous material is well documented, Zimmer has done much of the same during his
career. The material in Angels & Demons is derived, in its most basic form, from Crimson
Tide and The Peacemaker, two truly defining scores from the German composer. Also
referenced significantly here (to nobody's surprise, really) is Hannibal, another strong entry in
Zimmer's resume. Regardless of your opinion about Zimmer's methodology or the quality of
his regurgitated ideas, the fact that he has an extremely distinct sound that has become
predictable in blockbuster settings can't pass unnoticed. What does this mean for you? Well, it
means that you know ahead of time if you're the target audience of Zimmer's music for Angels
& Demons. As mentioned before, however, there are some alterations in how the composer
managed to journey to the same end, and perhaps some of these will influence your decision
about whether or not to explore this score's album. First, Zimmer enthusiastically employs the
violin of Joshua Bell, whose contributions to film music date back to the Oscar-winning The
Red Violin and most recently graced the score for Defiance by Zimmer's close friend, James
Newton Howard. His involvement in Angels & Demons does bring a classically intellectual
element to the equation, though his role is somewhat marginalized and not really worth
mentioning on the album's cover. Also to consider is the fact that the ensemble is different for
Angels & Demons; because of the accentuated role of science in the story, Zimmer reduced the
size of the orchestra to chamber levels and replaced the players with his own synthesizer
performances. Even more than the previous score, Angels & Demons is one dominated by
chorus. Its shifting choral tones, always passing duties from men to women with emotional
depth, defines its character. Organ effects are more pronounced as well. With the usual,
overbearing, and extremely heavy bass mix, the score therefore takes on the personality of a
prototypical Zimmer work despite Bell's tones (which are themselves held to lower violin
ranges). It should also be mentioned that Zimmer also relies on two additional writers
("ghostwriters," as the controversy allows) this time around.

In short, if you adore Zimmer's masculine choral bombast and propulsive bass ostinatos on
pulsating strings or synthesizers, then Angels & Demons is the score for you. Its menacing
choral chanting is its most memorable addition to the franchise, for it really doesn't
convincingly explore new thematic territory with any memorable distinction. The composer
excels, however, in employing the chorus' various parts in dueling layers in a cue like "160
BPM," maintaining extraordinary gravity in the soundscape. There is truly apocalyptic material
to be heard in Angels & Demons, and while it may not be the most intelligent or historically
sensitive treatment of the associated subject matter (outside of a mass-like environment as in
"Air"), it is a better match for this film that its predecessor. The role of the electronics, with this
change in mind, is quite pronounced, often merging the sound of the traditional organ with
pulsating electronic baselines and drum pad outbursts. Some of this chanting material seems a
bit aimless in the larger picture, but it suffices in serving its purpose for the thrill of each
moment. Enthusiasts of The Da Vinci Code will be curious about the usage of the existing
themes. Indeed, every idea (other than Richard Harvey's solo contribution) is reprised in some
form or another. The title theme that culminated in the discovery cue of "CheValiers de
Sangreal," as well as material from "The Cetrine Cross" and "Daniel's 9th Cipher," are all
present. The primary theme is touched upon at the outset of "God Particle" and in several
fragments before being explored significantly in "Election By Adoration" and "503." In the first
of those two later cues on the album, you can also hear Bell perform the religious subtheme
from "Daniel's 9th Cipher" in the previous score. There is no sustained performance of the
"CheValiers de Sangreal" theme by the full symphony for Langdon on the album for Angels &
Demons; the version you hear with Bell's performances seemingly laid over that previous
recording for the extended trailer and other promotional video material for the film is not
contained on this product, a major disappointment given its rather short, 54-minute running
time. The "503" cue is a different, less orchestral mix of that recording that is limp by
comparison. On the whole, Angels & Demons is therefore a score to appreciate for its
ambience rather than its thematic grace.

There are clear attractions and detractions contained in the middle portions of the album. There
are cues of electronic grinding and dissonant shrieks that are difficult to tolerate, including the
brazenly synthetic portions of "God Particle," "Fire," and "Black Smoke." Some of the action
interludes in these cues are too familiar from John Powell action ostinatos for The Bourne
Identity (and sequels) to consider fresh. On the other hand, there are ethereal portions of
Angels & Demons that explore the choir in higher regions and expand upon the most angelic
(though still slightly sinister) portions of Hannibal. The lengthy cues of "Air" and "Science
and Religion" are the highlights of this score, providing the album with its most engaging
intellectual moments (courtesy Bell's violin). It perhaps should not be surprising that the most
emotionally engaging parts of this score are those that sound the least like the increasingly tired
sound of Crimson Tide. In sum, Angels & Demons is a score that really does not require a
review of this length to provide an accurate recommendation. It may not intrigue you with
originality as much as Front/Nixon, but it will entertain with its predictable brute force. The
album is slightly disappointing, given the absence of resounding thematic representation, and
for die hard collectors, you can download an additional two-minute cue in MP3 form titled
"H20" (appropriately) that offers a troubled variation on the title theme but isn't worth the effort
for most casual listeners. Undoubtedly, given the track record on Zimmer, a fuller bootleg or
other form of release will eventually follow. The same fans desperately seeking expanded
presentations will be the ones to unlock Zimmer's five-note ambigram inserted as an in-joke in
the score. The commercial album does follow the composer's preference for longer suite-like
presentations, though in this case that actually helps to confine the best material to the two
aforementioned cues of strength (and especially the beautiful "Science and Religion"). The
extremely heavy bass mix continues to be a problem with Zimmer's scores. Why is it so hard to
cut back on the droning power in the studio and let the consumer crank it up if he or she
chooses? It's a weak three-star score for those tired of Zimmer's predictability, but a solid four-
star score for his ardent enthusiasts. The fairest rating exists on precarious footing somewhere
in between. ****
IF MAGAZINE
May 26, 2009

http://www.ifmagazine.com/review.asp?article=3237

© 2009 Sony Classical ANGELS AND DEMONS Original Soundtrack


CDs:
CD Review: 'ANGELS AND DEMONS' Original
Soundtrack
Hans Zimmer finds his calling again at composing religioso action music for this DA
VINCI CODE soundtrack sequel
Grade: B+
SRP: $12.99

By DANIEL SCHWEIGER, Soundtrack Editor


From the surging orchestra of CRIMSON TIDE to the southwestern rock groove of BROKEN ARROW
and the bat-flap percussion of THE DARK KNIGHT, few composers have changed the sound of action
scoring like Hans Zimmer and a “team” that’s included such musicians as Ramin Djawdi, John Powell and
Harry Gregson-Williams. Largely ignoring the kind of specific “hits” that such old school composers as Jerry
Goldsmith, James Horner and Alan Silvestri have used since scoring time immemorial to underline each
explosion, body blow and gun shot, Zimmer and crew have always heard excitement as part of a bigger
picture, incorporating orchestra, pop grooves and ethnic percussion in a state-of-the-art way that’s evolved
the sound of such 1980’s synth maestros as Harold Faltemeyer and Giorgio Moroder to the next level. It’s an
approach that might be amorphous at times, but has an undeniable, melodic beat that makes the work of
Zimmer and his compatriots as highly listenable, and enjoyable as the best pop song. It’s excitement with a
groove, action scoring as a big, destructive dance number.

In ANGELS AND DEMONS, that booming tune involves blowing up the Vatican with a black hole, not to
mention assassinating the pope and generally putting the hurt on the Catholic religion. I’ve remembered
some exciting papal elections. But rarely this exciting. And the often ludicrous, religioso-conspiracy fun of
ANGELS AND DEMONS is what makes this latest entry in the Zimmer cannon especially interesting, for
the composer and company are applying an approach usually meant for nuclear terrorists to men of the cloth,
and an agnostic hero who always seems to have bigger ties to the man up there. Subsequently you have Latin
choruses, church bell percussion and Liturgical mass rhythms going at it at volume 11 with an excitement
that’s almost unholy. If Zimmer’s score for the first Langdon adventure THE DA VINCI CODE had an
almost beatifically calming quality, then ANGELS AND DEMONS is religioso thrash, suspense that not so
much threatens the Vatican’s destruction as the Apocalypse itself.

Marking another musically successful teaming with director Ron Howard that began with the patriotic
marches of BACKDRAFT, the composer and director are again hell-bent on making a score the most
exciting thing ever, even when the participants onscreen aren’t as hyped up as the filmmakers themselves
seem to be. Just as Zimmer turned the interview between David Frost and Richard Nixon into the nation-
altering event it wasn’t, the composer is cranking away with excitement when people onscreen seem barely
seem phased that the Vatican’s going to implode in twelve hours. And just as in FROST / NIXON,
Zimmer’s forced momentum generates a lot of suspense when the film necessarily isn’t. Of course he’s
working here on a much broader canvas. And it’s true of how DEMONS reflects on THE DA VINCI
CODE as well- a more successful film than where Zimmer’s music had to cover gobs of truly interesting,
and revelatory dialogue that de-constructed Christianity itself.

Now more than ever, it’s important for Zimmer’s way of swathing long chunks of film time with undulating
melody to pay off, especially as what’s being said inspires sideways glances instead of revelation.
Responding to the biting (and in my opinion undeserved criticism) that the otherwise financially successful
DA VINCI CODE got, everything about ANGELS AND DEMONS is about a race against time- of course
with long patches of revelatory dialogue that it doesn’t seem that these people should really have the time to
stand around talking about. And the result is Zimmer’s CODE sound on steroids, adrenalin that makes this
score no less interesting or mesmerizing than the first.

While there are new themes aplenty, what makes ANGELS AND DEMONS rock is that Zimmer isn’t
adverse to bringing back every seeming theme from THE DA VINCI CODE as well, especially its
SUSPIRIA-like bell motif. His decision wisely gives the listener a musical, and visual recall to the kind of
film they’ll be in for. And it’s a through line that has the sense of not being too different, even as Zimmer’s
score constantly seems to swing into new, interesting directions. Better yet, there’s a real, balls-out
inspirational majesty to the score, a sense of religious reverence in spite of a plot that hasn’t exactly pleased
The Church. Imagine a kid trying to pay attention to the rituals of Sunday Service, while relentlessly tapping
his foot under the pew, and you’ll hear the idea.

All of this doesn’t mean that Zimmer doesn’t frequently underplay what’s frenetically occurring in spurts on
screen- a decision that doesn’t pay off any better than in the highlight cue “Science and Religion.” A cosmic
explosion has just occurred. Yet the composer goes against it with gorgeously subtle melody, choral voices
and the truly blessed violin playing of Joshua Bell. His scoring is about what’s going inside of peoples’ heads
as they’re witnessing the best effects that money can buy, the feeling of a true god-like event occurring. It’s a
standout cue among Zimmer’s holy cannon of action cues. But this isn’t the only moment of interior
reflection that conjures the majesty of St. Peters Cathedral, and the inspirational meaning of a new pope to so
many in “Election by Adoration.”

But most of the time, there are plenty of notes going off in ANGELS AND DEMONS to suit this follow-
up’s shift into more typical suspense. And all of the next-gen technology that’s sent Zimmer’s sound into the
popular stratosphere is given a workout, one that’s far more interesting than the overwhelming darkness of
his Batman scores of yore, especially when this subject lets Zimmer use a pipe organ and chorus of the
Vatican, as opposed to the nerve-splitting dissonance of The Joker’s string and sample sustain theme. Even
with another “sequel score” such as this, Hans Zimmer continues to do unique things. He might be a heretic
to some for his Martin Luther-ism of what used to film scoring. But when you listen to his undeniable gift for
melody and technology ascend to the heavens here, there’s no denying that this composer and his team of
acolytes have been touched by something greater. They might not be trying to individually brush stroke
every painting in the Sistine Chapel where ANGEL’s all-important Papal conclave takes place. But damn if
they haven’t tossed a glorious bunch of colors to coat its ceiling with.

Hear Hans Zimmer’s action sermon HERE


ANGELS AND DEMONS – A Lightweight Contender
18 May 2009

It’s much ado about nothing at Vatican City

By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Producer and author Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons is mostly ho-hum, more of a predictable and un-
inspiring stroll than the excited and frenzied pace of a true summer blockbuster. In the current maelstrom of
Science vs Religion, demons masked as angels, and the nightmare of cataclysmic destruction by the hand of
man – Angels and Demons comes up bloodless and ineffectual. The basic problem – it lacks soul. It lacks
dramatic tension. Among the cast, there is not one compelling relationship. Whether Vatican City and the
Catholic Church blows to kingdom come or a new age of enlightenment pushes toward the winner’s circle,
director Ron Howard never gets the story nor its entaglement of ancient symbols and modern weaponry
beyond lingering ambivalence.

At best, the performance by Tom Hanks as “Robert Langdon” – touted as the most exciting detective since
“Sherlock Holmes” – is bland and often annoying. His hair stylist, Linda D. Flowers, needs to pack up her
bottles of dye and straightening solution and get run out of town. Ayelet Zurer, as the token female interest
and keeper of the scientific flames of anti-matter, is equally unkempt and unappetizing. No problem with
celibacy for this team! Nor for the dueling duos behind the Vatican walls. Casting gurus Janert Hirshenson
and Jane Jenkins have gone out of their way to hire the most stereo-typical looking actors to stand in for what
is lacking in the screenplay and Mr. Howard’s floundering sense of keeping his performers on the same page.

The most unifying element of all is the original soundtrack of Hans Zimmer whose previous work
includes Frost/Nixon, The Dark Knight, and The DaVinci Code. Zimmer totally captures the
undercurrents of mystical fears, dark subterfuge, and the tension of time running out. Renowned
violinist Joshua Bell makes spectacular contributions to a score that is beautifully crafted, complex,
and emotionally charged.

Angels and Demons is a feast for the eyes. The overall photography and sweeping views of Vatican City,
especially the crowds gathered for the election of a new pontiff and all the pomp and circumstance within the
palatial settings are worth the price of admission. But it is the drama and special effects of the dreaded anti-
matter explosion – the “God Element” – that fall short and become painfully ridiculous.

One conclusion to the story is that if a loving deity was indeed observing the progression of destructive
forces, something prevented the full annihilation intended by its human creator. No one really wins, no one
really loses. Scientific conclusions remain intact as the Church hands Langdon an un-published treatise of
Galileo, hopefully packed with enough loopholes to foster another sequel.
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CD Review: Angels & Demons


Reviews — By Jim Lochner on May 19, 2009

One Pope is dead and someone is murdering the preferiti, the cardinals in line to
be the next Vicar of Christ. Add to the mix a canister of antimatter set to blow up
Vatican City and you have the recipe for suspense in ANGELS & DEMONS, the
sequel to THE DA VINCI CODE.

Ron Howard knows how to make slick, Hollywood films and ANGELS &
DEMONS does not disappoint in that department. The location shots around
Rome and recreations of the Vatican are visually splendid, rich with art and
architecture. Scripters Akiva Goldsman and David Koepp gloss over any religious
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trappings and wisely focus instead on the m ystery-thriller aspects of the story.
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Hans Zimmer also downplays the “holier than thou” religious overtones that
made THE DA VINCI CODE such a musical snore and ramps up the tempo with
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one of his most exciting scores in years. With its chanting chorus and churning,
pulsating syncopation, Zimmer’s music provides the dramatic heartbeat of the
film.

Another plus for the score is the addition of Joshua Bell as violin soloist. In tracks
such as “Fire” and “Election by Adoration,” Bell’s tone strikes just the right
balance between emotional catharsis and pious faith.

“160 BPM” starts the CD off with a bang. At 160 beats per minute (BPM, get it?), t

the music briskly accompanies our intreprid scholar (Tom Hanks) as he tries to
beat the clock before the first of the preferiti is assassinated. The track sets the
rapid pace for the rest of actions cues throughout the score.

The spectacularly preposterous climax of the film offers Zimmer the musical
highpoint of the score. The 12-minute “Science and Religion” cue plays out like a
heavenly tone poem, with Bell’s violin climbing ever higher as if the population of
St. Peter’s Square were seeing the very face of God.

Fans of Zimmer work will find echoes of the sonic landscape he provided for last
year’s THE DARK KNIGHT. And while the music focuses more on rhythmic and
motivic content than melody, the score provides a high level of excitement. After
years of meh regarding Zimmer’s work, I’m happy to report that ANGELS &
DEMONS is a fiendishly good score.