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(2009), PG-13 [Hard PG-13*] (2hr 15min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
January 14, 2010
January 15, 2010

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.


(2009), PG-13 [Hard PG-13*] ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy
Production (US): Columbia Pictures, Imagine Entertainment
Distribution (US): Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Director(s): Ron Howard
Producer(s): Dan Brown, John Calley, William M. Connor, Brian Grazer, Todd Hallowell, Ron Howard, Ute Leonhardt, Kathleen McGill, Marco Valerio Pugini, Louisa Velis
Screenplay by: David Koepp, Akiva Goldsman
Novel: Dan Brown
Cinematography/Camera: Salvatore Totino
Music: Hans Zimmer
Film Editing: Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill
Casting: Janet Hirshenson, Jane Jenkins, Michelle Lewitt
Production Design: Allan Cameron
Art Direction: Alex Cameron, Keith P. Cunningham, Luke Freeborn, Marc Homes, Giles Masters, Dawn Swiderski
Viewed on Sony Pictures Home Entertainment DVD, Theatrical Edition

This analysis is sponsored by the generosity of E&HP.

With a final score of 56, Angels & Demons earned a place one point from the bottom of the scoring range earned by PG-13 movies in the comparative baseline database (55 to 67 out of 100), making it a hardcore PG-13. That score places the content of the film only two points above the top of the range of scores earned by R-rated films (54 and below out of 100). While the content found by the Wanton Violence/Crime (W) and Murder/Suicide (M) investigation areas, each earning an area score of zero out of 100, are each clearly equivalent to the same content areas typically found in some of the more gruesome R-rated films, the overall magnitude of content is not R-13 like its 2006 brother The Da Vinci Code but is definitely hardcore PG-13.

The hardcore PG-13 equivalence instead of another raw R-13 equivalence is because of the relatively high scoring in the four other investigation areas offsetting the low investigation area scores. While Wanton Violence/Crime and Murder/Suicide (M) are each unequivocally equivalent to typical R-rated programming, Impudence/Hate (I) and Offense to God (O) found content to be PG-equivalent and Sexual Immorality (S) and Drugs/Alcohol (D) found content to be strong G-equivalent -- an unusual scoring configuration to say the least. But just two more uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary or one more murder or one intimate sexual encounter or the like would have made a R-13 out of this PG-13.

For your information below is a comparative of Angels & Demons and its brother, The Da Vinci Code:

The improvements of this 2009 version are obvious over its 2006 brother in the morality of content found by Impudence/Hate (I), Sexual Immorality (S) and Offense to God (O). While the content in Murder/Suicide (M) in this 2009 version is considerably more invasive than in the 2006 version, it is not enough to counter the improvements in the I, S and O investigation areas. The decrease in assaults on morality and decency in the I, S and O investigation areas in the 2009 version is corroborated by the improvement in the influence density figure. This is significant to the "feel" of the film since both films are, for all practical purposes, the same length (138 minutes for the 2006 version and 135 minutes for this 2009 version).

The Illuminati are at it again. According to the story, after being forced underground by La Purga (torture and murder of four scientists)(a) by the Catholic Church centuries ago, the grudge-driven forces of the Illuminati are trying to destroy the Catholic church as retribution for past atrocities upon the Illuminati. At least that is what is conjectured by Vatican City Police, the Swiss Guard and Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) of Harvard University. Vatican City police, according to the movie, are responsible for everything that goes on inside the Vatican City Walls. The Swiss Guard are responsible for the security of the Pope and the Apostolic Palace inside Vatican City.
(a) The heinous acts of La Purga apparently never happened in real life.

The Illuminati -- the "enlightened", again according to the story, was formed centuries ago as a group of scientists, physicists, mathematicians, astronomers and the like gathered to publish their works and theories. Unfortunately their scientific works contradicted the official position of the Catholic Church of the day. By less than honorable means the Church drove the Illuminati underground. Only now is the Illuminati resurfacing ... with a vengeance.

Modern scientists have found a way to generate antimatter, a.k.a., the God Particle since antimatter seems to have the potential for providing evidence of the moment of Creation (Moment? I thought it took 6 days.) The antimatter is generated by using a particle accelerator, the LHC (Large Hadron Collider on the border of Sweden and France), to bombard a target material with protons (hadrons include protons) using the LHC to focus the protons on the target. The main problem with antimatter is when it touches matter the two annihilate each other with cataclysmic energy release - a big bang. The antimatter is therefore stored in a magnetic bottle that keeps the antimatter from coming into contact with matter. A battery is used to provide the power to keep the antimatter suspended in the magnetic bottle away from matter.

On a side note; bombardment with accelerated protons is not too far fetched since particle (the proton is one of many subatomic particles) accelerators are real. I worked for one such project - the Indiana University Cyclotron. It was a D-isochronous configuration used to collide charged particles - protons - with target material to research the composition of matter. Where the questionable rationale enters is whether a beam of charged protons can generate antimatter from bombardment of matter. Protons, with a positive 1 charge, are composed of two u quarks each with a positive (+) 2/3 electrical charge and one d quark with a negative (-) 1/3 charge which, when combined into a unit bundle, result in a +1 charge -- a proton [(+4/3) + (-1/3) = +3/3 = +1]. Each quark is supposed to have an antiquark (antimatter) of opposite charge and ... Such is far outside the scope of this report. Suffice it to say anything can happen in the movies.

At any rate, they who are thought to be the Illuminati are planning to kill four Cardinals and blow up Vatican City using a stolen canister of the antimatter. But is it really the Illuminati or is it someone or something else behind the carnage?

Professor Langdon, with the help of Dr. Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) and the Il Camerlengo, Fr. Patrick McKenna (Ewan McGregor) of Vatican City, is to put all the pieces together to discover the location of the antimatter bomb. His expertise, his erudition is in Symbology. Dr. Vetra is one of the lead scientists developing the antimatter. Father McKenna, the Il Camerlengo to the Pope, is Chamberlain to the Pope and favorite of him as well as the adopted son of the Pope who died shortly before the threat by the Illuminati. With the Pope dead, the Il Camerlengo becomes acting Pope.

The first evidence that the Illuminati are behind the murderous plan is an ambigram of the Illuminati delivered to Professor Langdon by officer Claudio Vincenzi (David Pasquesi) of the Vatican City police with a message that four Cardinals were kidnapped earlier that day; that the Cardinals will be publicly executed one each hour beginning at 8:00 PM. Ernesto Olivetti (Pierfrancesco Favino), Inspector General of the Vatican City police hopes that Professor Langdon can learn the identity of the perpetrator(s) from the Illuminati ambigram. (b) An ambigram is a word design that reads the same upside down or backwards such as Michael T. Lavin's "chump" and the DeLorean Motor Company logo shown here. Print this page and rotate it 180° and you'll see.

As Professor Langdon and Olivetti discuss preparations to get things underway Commander Richter of the Swiss Guard (Stellan Skarsgård) informs Professor Langdon and Inspector General Olivetti of another discovery made in connection with the threat to murder the four Cardinals: antimatter! the Illuminati intend to destroy Vatican City and inherently much of Rome with the antimatter stolen from the LHC.

Professor Langdon has until a few minutes before midnight to reveal the murderous path of the Illuminati since the battery holding the antimatter in suspension in the canister will die a few minutes before midnight. But to complicate matters is the Illuminati threatening to kill four kidnapped Cardinals, the Preferiti (the favorites to be named the next Pope, the four pillars of the Church) one each hour before midnight starting at 8:00 PM. So, individual murders at 8:00 PM, 9:00 PM, 10:00 PM and 11:00 PM then mass murder at midnight. What a plan!

The "plan" is intricate and time-consuming. It has to occupy over two hours of film time. Angels & Demons is a well thought-out story that will not let you check your brain at the door. Subplots are seamlessly woven together to provide a tapestry of intrigue and murder. And who better to operate the loom than Tom Hanks, the penultimate character of The Da Vinci Code brother to this film. With a new supporting cast, Hanks embodies his image of sage wisdom and care-wear on the cover art for the video above.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
This is a very violent film, mom/dad. Its content includes gore, killing, mutilation by branding and blood spewing out of a hole in a man's chest. A man is suspended with chains above a pyre and burned to death ... slowly. Attempted murder by suffocation and by drowning. The film is not a Saturday night with the family movie. the instances of Violence of varying intensity are far too many to summarize here. Please look to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section (the heart of the CAP Analysis Model) for a complete accounting of each instance of violence. As you do, remember God's Word about feeding your children with such matter in Prov. 16:29 and 1 Cor. 15:33 for just two of many examples of Scripture against violence and its proselytizing influence.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 75 out of 100
Seven times someone, mostly of the clergy, utters some form of the three/four letter word vocabulary. While a number of demonstrations of hate and/or hateful behaviors appear occasionally through the film, all of them appear in association with violence that trumps the hate and are thus incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime investigation area. [Col. 3:8]

Sexual Immorality (S) - 95 out of 100
If it were not for the closeup of detailed statue nudity there would be no sexually immoral content to this film. Remember, if God speaks darkly of nakedness repeatedly throughout the Bible, even to the point of warning priests to not climb steps to the altar wearing robes lest they expose their nakedness to the people below, what makes nudity in "art" okay. That there is art nudity in the Sistine Chapel or even in some Bibles does not make such display okay. Art nudity in churches and in some Bibles are put there by man, not God and after the Bible was canonized. [**] I remember from long ago a cartoon showing two young women waiting for their dates by a large statue of nudity with the caption "I'll bet they thought we said we'd meet them by the "Big Clock." From that point on I knew that statue nudity arouses immoral thought as well as actual nudity. "Art" does not trump God's Word. Period.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 90 out of 100
Four instances of smoking cigarettes were the only issues of drug/alcohol content. So what's the big deal? The big deal is the harm cigarettes cause to the body which is not our own. [1 Cor. 6:19 - 20] The "big deal" is also the influence of example to our youth. Not only has God warned us of influencing our youth to sin [Luke 17:2], the American professional health community has informed us of the clear and present influence on youth to experiment with tobacco caused by the influence of seeing it demonstrated in and as entertainment. As youth we learn more by example than by edification whether that example be at home or on the big screen. Y'see, a bad influence does not have to be real to influence badly.

Offense to God (O) - 73 out of 100
A Vatican police officer utters God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and others utter His name in vain without the four letter expletive five times. [Deut. 5:11] The quintessential bad guy utters "They make me a sinner", discarding his own poor choices as if he is not accountable for his own sin.

Murder/Suicide (M) - 1 out of 100
Murder is rampant in this film. At last 16 men are murdered in one way or another. In addition, the Il Camerlengo sets himself ablaze in an act of cowardice when faced with prosecution. God warned us long ago about murder [Ex. 20:13]. So strong is the warning that God made a Commandment of it. And, yes, suicide is murder -- murder of the self.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blasphemia: impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty], filthy communication [aischrologia:foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth. **"Nakedness" (display of nudity) is spoken of as dark, restricted, undesirable, shameful, etc. 47 times in the KJV from Genesis to Revelation. For example, Ezek. 16:36 "Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thy filthiness was poured out, and thy nakedness discovered through thy whoredoms with thy lovers,..." thus associating display of nakedness with ill repute. What makes display of nudity okay in entertainment/art if it is not okay in flesh? God even advised the priests not to climb the steps to the altar lest the wind expose their nudity to the people below in Exodus 20:26 "Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon." The display of nakedness, even accidental or the tease of it are not good in God's eyes.
  • 1 Cor. 6:19 - 20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" will not work with Him.]
  • Ex 20:13 Thou shalt not kill. ["Kill" is ratsach {raw-tsakh'}: to slay, to murder, to assassinate.] (NIV) You shall not murder. [Suicide is murder of the self.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Angels & Demons (2009) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • views of dead bodies, repeatedly
  • gore - a disembodied human eye forcibly removed from its host
  • gore - head of victim of eye removal
  • abduction and confinement of four Cardinals with extended references to the act and views of the victims in confinement
  • threat to kill, repeatedly
  • willingness to sacrifice hundreds
  • reckless driving with endangerment, repeatedly
  • rats eating human flesh, repeatedly
  • murder victim gore
  • mutilation by branding, repeatedly
  • public chaos resulting in death
  • bloodied victim gore
  • mutilated man gore
  • blood spewing out of hole in chest during attempted Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • blood pooling on street bricks
  • attempted murder by suffocation
  • violent acts of desperation
  • gunfire but not to kill
  • human decay gore
  • man hanging above pyre with branding gore, repeatedly
  • man on fire while alive
  • gunfire to kill, repeatedly
  • reckless vehicular endangerment
  • fall with thud of body
  • floor made of human skulls
  • gunfire injury gore with blood and self injection
  • threat with firearm to the head
  • assault on police, repeatedly
  • action violence, repeatedly
  • rescue peril
  • more branding gore
  • firearm to force control
  • planning to kill many throughout
  • gunfire killing, repeatedly
  • chaos with many injuries from explosion
  • death resulting from lie
  • injury gore
  • threat with branding iron
  • branding of self
  • replay of killings
  • treachery and deceit throughout

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 75 out of 100
  • seven uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • official lies by the Church

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 95 out of 100
  • closeup of detailed statue nudity

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 90 out of 100
  • smoking, four instances

    Offense to God (O) - 73 out of 100
  • One use of God;'s name in vain with the four letter expletive and five without it
  • "They make me a sinner"

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 1 out of 100
  • at least 16 murders by gunfire, mutilation and fire

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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