Inferno (2016) (Blu-ray)

Inferno is the third in a trilogy of films based on Dan Brown best bestsellers. Like the first two films, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, Inferno stars Tom Hanks as art historian and cryptologist Robert Langdon, who supposed to be genius material and perhaps he is, but why does he have to be so dull?

As the story begins, Langdon (Hanks) wakes up in a Florence, Italy hospital. Dazed and having suffered a head injury, Robert is struggling to put together present memories as well as the events of the last three days. Almost immediately after he wakes up, a police woman attempts to kill Robert. As luck would have it, his physician Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), a puzzle enthusiast, knows who Robert is and helps him escape and brings him to her apartment, where he discovers that in the pocket of his coat is a vial used to transport lethal pathogens.

Through a series of Dante inspired clues, Langdon discovers a plague virus created by billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), to cure overpopulation by wiping out half the population. However, in his search to locate the virus, Robert has the police, a compromised World Health Organization and a mysterious person with questionable intentions on the hunt for him.

Director Ron Howard has a little bit of everything happening in the first half hour of the film. Horrific imagery, disjointed flashbacks, heavily lit shots. There are moments where it really looks gorgeous, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that Howard was trying a little to hard. Perhaps he is trying to convince the audience (maybe even himself), that this story is relevant. In my opinion, Howard’s last truly great film was Frost/Nixon nine years ago, so he could really use a hit.

As it turns out, that first act of artistic chaos is the best Inferno has to offer. Once Langdon calms down, the story deflates. There are a few things that are supposed to be surprises that pop up along the rest of the way, but most viewers will see them coming.

If we’re lucky, this will be the last Robert Langdon book made into a film, as these adventures seemed to have run their course. While Tom Hanks is usually highly watchable, he seems utterly bored here and his Langdon, as in the other two films, seems utterly devoid of any discernable personality traits. Felicity Jones does what she can to try and inject some life into the proceedings, but is constrained by a do-nothing script. Ben Foster does make for a strong, Bond-like villain, so there’s that.

Hopefully, after Inferno, Ron Howard and Tom Hanks are content to walk away from this franchise that clearly has nothing interesting left to offer. Give this a look if the completist in you demands you finish off the trilogy, if not, don’t feel badly about skipping it.

Shot digitally and presented in the 1.85 aspect ratio, The 1080p presentation looks excellent. While slightly flat, details are superb throughout. Close-ups reveal strong depth and facial features such as pores, slight skin blemishes and hair are clearly visible. The intricate brick and stone work around Florence really shines here, almost becoming a character in itself. Color saturation looks appropriate. Black levels are even and dark, while flesh tones look natural. The image provides an excellent level of clarity with no evidence of digital anomalies.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack is also excellent. Highly immersive, we are treated to a solid amount of movement about the soundfield. Ambient sounds from the street, hospital room and other locations is highly effective without ever crowding the dialogue. Heavier effects are well handled by the fronts, while musical clarify is impressive and given plenty of space to breathe. Dialogue is clean, clear and concise. Fans of the film should be very pleased with this mix.

English, English SDH and Spanish subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

  • Extended & Deleted Scenes (HD, 27:19, total) Extended Opening – Langdon’s Visions of Hell, Langdon and Sienna Flee the Hospital, Zobrist’s Full Length Overpopulation Speech, No Police, Chase Through Boboli Gardens, Sims Races to Florence, and Extended Ending – Life Pulls Us Apart Again.
  • Visions of Hell (HD, 5:35) Cast and crew, as well as author Dan Brown, discuss the story’s darker narrative and themes, including a discussion of Dante, whose stories and imagery play a pivotal role in the film.
  • Inferno Around the World (HD, 13:34) A look at the film’s casting process and its diverse and international flavor.
  • A Look at Langdon (HD, 6:21) A look at Tom Hanks’ character and his evolution throughout the trilogy of films.
  • This Is Sienna Brooks (HD, 5:48) A closer look at Felicity Jones ‘ character.
  •  The Billionaire Villain: Bertrand Zobrist (HD, 5:13) A closer look at the film’s main protagonist.
  • Ron Howard, a Director’s Journal (HD, 10:02) Howard discusses his use of social media, locations, various scenes, working with the cast and more.
  • UV Digital Copy.

Inferno (2016)
3.4 Reviewer

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