HTS Moderator , Reviewer
HTS Overall Score:78
Back in 2006 Ron Howard’s adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel, “The Da Vinci Code” blasted onto the scene with all sorts of fanfare and angry mobs. Christians and Catholics were angry that it portrayed the church in a bad light, fans of the book were angry that it wasn’t as good as the novel, and some people were just angry that it wasn’t that good of a movie (I have to admit that it’s a horribly dated film and one that’s almost a guilty pleasure). A few years later “Angels and Demons” came out, and while it was a much more entertaining and less serious work than “The Da Vinci Code”, most post shunned the film (I personally find it to be the best of the three, but that’s just me). Now, 7 years after “Angels and Demons” Ron Howard is trying a third time to bring Dan Brown’s hokey mysteries to life with the help of Tom Hanks yet again. This time it’s the creakiest and least logical of all three films, but it also is the least “religion” oriented of the three as well. Instead of a film about conspiracy theories and religious sects trying to keep order in a modern day, it’s about a guy who is kind of nuts and wants to blow up the world.
You’d think that this would act as an entertaining premise, but sadly it just ends up being a rather run of the mill plot line mired down by the increasing labyrinth that is a Dan Brown mystery. We’re put right into the heart of the action, with cryptologist Professor Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) waking up in an Italian hospital without any sort of memory. Supposedly he’s suffered a head trauma and can’t seem to remember anything for the last 48 hours. When an assassin strikes at the hospital, Langdon is force to go on the run with only the aid of the well-meaning (and also extremely well versed in Dante’s inferno mythology) Italian doctor, Sienna, who had been taking care of him in his coma (played by a gorgeous Felicity Jones). On his trail is a cadre of people, who want whatever is locked inside the professor’s head, the least of them being the afore mentioned assassin. W.H.O. agents and double agents compete for his head, while a mysterious organization is also rabidly interested in what the good professor knows.
It seems that a wealthy billionaire has decided that the world is just TOO populated. Soon we’ll be at the breaking point and the overpopulation will drive us extinct. Not exactly an unknown theory, right? Well, this billionaire (played by a wonderfully hammy Ben Foster) has created a super virus that, much like the black plague, will wipe out large portions of the world’s population and slow the coming apocalypse for thousands of years. So, that leaves Professor Langdon and Sienna struggling to piece together just what has happened to the good doctor, and WHERE the virus is before it can be unleashed on the world (and supposedly reach all 4 corners within a few days). Simple, right?
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=88874[/img]I’m intentionally keeping my description of the plot for “Inferno” rather vague and generalized. The reason for that is because much of the entertainment for the movie is based upon figuring things out and watching them unfold. With the introduction of Robert Langdon’s insomnia, we have to piece things together slowly, and nothing that we see can be trusted as people, events and places are deemed misleading due to the professor’s faulty memory. It’s kind of like watching the old “untrustworthy witness” scenario as whatever is spoken (or in this case shown) can’t be trusted due to faulty memory. While you won’t be angry while watching “Inferno”, you will be a bit annoyed. Not because it paints any one religions in a bad light (actually, the only mention of religions is the Dante’s Inferno references, and that’s only because our looney bin billionaire fashioned his virus after reading the book and calling it the “inferno virus”), but rather because it’s so confusing and twisted in the way the movie tells its story. The twists, turns and leaps in logics are less likely to incite awe inspiring gasps (not the series strong point), but rather eye rolling and chuckles at some of the serious stretches used to get to the inevitable conclusion.
“Inferno” is the most action oriented of the three films, and Ron Howard has also closed the scope. We’re going to multiple countries for sure, but everything feels so confined, and without the giant overarching plot of the church we don’t have access to nearly as many artifacts and ancient structures as we have in the last 2 entries of the franchise. Dialog is stilted and weak, with Felicity Jones and Irrfan Khan bearing the brunt of the good acting. Hanks is pretty much dozing his way through the film, and really doesn’t seem to be putting much energy into the character of Langdon (though he was never a wildly exuberant character to begin with). Sadly there’s only about 5 minutes of Ben Foster scattered throughout the film, but he is such a dynamic and enthralling persona that you really wish HE had been there in place of Felicity Jones for the final act.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of action and violence, disturbing images, some language, thematic elements and brief sensuality
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=88882[/img]Shot with a mix of Arri Alex and Red Epic cameras, “Inferno” was taken at a 2K master and then put onto Blu-ray with stellar results. Just like the previous 2 films, “Inferno” is a fantastic looking Blu-ray with a very clean and clear digital image. The colors are nice and deep with dark overtones that take place underground or in the darkness without any major artifacting. Blacks are deep and silky, with good shadow detail during the underground instances and the brighter lit bits are phenomenal. There doesn’t seem to be much color grading besides a hint of teal, and the facial tones maintain a good neutral look to them. Contrast is well balanced and the overall look of the digital image is very pleasing. Facial detail is excellent, and even long shots across the European cityscape shows very little, if any, softness to speak of. An exemplary 1080p encode to be sure.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=88890[/img]The Dan Brown mystery series Blu-rays have always had a healthy audio mix, and “Inferno” is no different. Sadly, Sony has put the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track on the Blu-ray and left the superior Dolby Atmos track to be housed ONLY on the 4K UHD disc. However, the 5.1 mix is nothing to laugh about and poo poo. A very aggressive mix, it sports plenty of deep throbbing bass and a propensity for great immersion within the 6 speakers. Surrounds are in constant use with the exciting score pushing the movie along as well as the chattering of footsteps in a museum hall, or the screeching of tires as a band of men prepare to kidnap professor Langdon. LFE is not just contained with the score, but also acts a good compliment to the rest of the track with ancient doors slamming shut, gunfire blasting at full power and the rumble of a train underway. Vocals are crisp and clean, and I found no imbalance between the mains and the center channel at all. Another top notch encode from Sony.
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• Six Featurettes:
- "Ron Howard, A Director's Journal"
- "A Look at Langdon"
- "The Billionaire Villain: Bertrand Zobrist"
- "This Is Sienna Brooks"
- "Inferno Around the World"
- "Visions of Hell
If you’ve enjoyed the first two of Dan Brown’s novelizations come to film, then I don’t think you’ll be too disappointed with “Inferno”. It’s very much in line with the previous two movies in entertainment value, but it does act as the weakest link in the trilogy. I actually like the movies as a sort of guilty pleasure now and again (with “Angles and Demons” being my favorite), so I had hoped that “Inferno” would show a more matured take after Ron Howard had done two test tries with the previous films, but it really is just more of the same. The audio and video for this Blu-ray are nothing short of amazing, but the extras are a tad thin. Long story short. If you enjoyed the previous two films, then it’s definitely worth checking out. If you’re not a fan of the series, or haven’t seen the two prior films then I would definitely rent the movie first.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy
Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: Dan Brown (Novel), David Koepp (Screenplay)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish DD 5.1
Runtime: 122 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 24th, 2017
Buy Inferno On 4K Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy Inferno On Blu-ray at Amazon
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