Also staring are Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgard, Pierfrancesco Favino, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, and Armin Mueller-Stahl. The film is produced by Imagine's other half, Brian Grazer, along with Ron Howard and John Calley.
Set in the heart of the Vatican City, which was really a 30 million dollar set in Hollywood Park, the story takes place during a time of great upheaval for the Catholic Church. Despite the fact that the story revolves around the Conclave, the chosing of a new Pope and the horrific deaths of several of the perferred ones, there isn't that much religiousity in the story. While it's predecessor, The DaVinci Code, upset many with its religious take, this film is pure intense excitement.
The Illuminati, a secret society created during the time of the church's antagonism to and persecution of science, has reportedly been resurrected. Having kidnapped four cardinals in high consideration to be the new pope, the preferiti, the society threatens that one will be killed each hour and finally, Vatican City, itself, will be ignited in a huge flaming bomb.
It is up to Langdon and Ventra, with the assistance of the Swiss Guard and the Camerlengo ( Ewan McGregor). who has control of the holy office while the new pope is being chosen, to find the cardinals before they are killed and to find the anti matter, which will go off at midnight, unless it is stopped.
Going through the Vatican archives and reading original works that gives him clues as to the whereabouts of the churches where the cardinals are about to be slain, Langdon speeds from one church in Rome to another, finding the arrows and clues based on the four elements. The ticking time bomb is the anti matter, which if not carefully taken care of, will explode at exactly midnight.
Those who were there at the filming say that the fireworks when the anti-matter was exploded into the universe were quite a sight to see. The filming of it barely does it justice.
In the end, Langdon and Ventra discover, at the last minute, who the real culprit is and save the church from distruction and ruin.
There are some who say that the Illuminati still exist and have infiltrated high offices and positions around the world ready, at a moment's notice, to control the world just as the Catholic Church once controlled them.
It's an edge of the seat ride even for non believers. The who will amaze you at the end. Even when you believe you have the answer, the writers have twisted it again. The film is enchanced by the music - done by Hans Zimmer and Bob Badami, the special effects by Angus Bickerton, costume by Daniel Orlandi, and the photography done by Salvatore Totino. Production design was Allan Cameron. Those who have worked in the industry know that among the most important but least noticed are the film editors who in this film were Dan Hanley and Mike Hill. Executive Producers were Todd Hollowell and Dan Brown, Associate Producers were Kathleen McGill, Louisa Velis and William M. Connor.
The film, rated PG-13, closely follows the book but, nevertheless, has some twists and turns of its own.
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