Dan Brown’s ‘Inferno’ Not To Be Confused With The Prequel to ‘Rogue One’ (Movie Review)

InfernoThe Da Vinci Code book was one of those that come around every so often that make non-readers take note of and spend time doing something they normally wouldn’t…they READ.  Yes, I’m one of those suckers too.  While I love to read I often have this problem in life called no time.  By the time I snuggle up with a book it’s like I have taken a large dose of Tylenol PM.  A book, good or bad, usually puts me right to sleep just like a classic X-Files episode does calming my hectic nerves.  Dull reading material is prone to giving me narcolepsy during the middle of the day.  However, every once in awhile that magical manuscript does come along that wildly captivates and fascinates my imagination.  It ceases to let go of me as it manages to keep me engrossed, excited about and invigorated over throughout the read.  Those are the books that I can’t inexplicably put down and just want more of.  The Da Vinci Code was one of these so called “magical” books for me.  It kicked off mad fervor for author Dan Brown.  I fondly remember those moments like they were yesterday.

I had heard about The Da Vinci Code through a circle of friends I ran with, but more importantly it was everywhere I looked at the time.  The supermarkets were lined with copies and every channel I clicked on in my basic cable lineup back then was promoting it.  I did what I normally did not do at all back in 2003.  I bought a book.  Even worse, I bought a book at the dreaded Wal-Mart every rags on because it was 5% off the normal published price.  I brought The Da Vinci Code home that evening and tore through it like I just opened an Atari 2600 in my youth on Christmas morning.  My fascination with the manuscript didn’t end there.  For the next week that book went everywhere with me and I read as many pages as I could every chance I got whether I was at work, in the gym or at home.

I was enthralled by the story of The Da Vinci Code and the subject matter within to say the very least.  When I reached the end of the book I couldn’t even explain my level of disappointment and sadness.  When I read that final page, my head sunk low and I silently thought now what.  My life had been so full of vigor that entire week and I owed it all to this book that I no longer have any pages left to read in.  But wait!  What’s this?  There’s another Robert Langdon adventure to read about!  I bet you can’t guess what my next book purchase was soon after?

You need to stay with me for just another paragraph here as I’m still reliving my past.  When this book became a smashing hit in 2003 and Dan Brown became a household name there was talk of a film adaptation.  I could not wait to feast my longing eyes on that.  However, years went by and nothing other than hearing about it in production.  Then in 2006 we received the first trailers and that mullet was in all our faces.  Why did they have to give Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) such a bad haircut?  I’ll never know, but I did know this.  I was excited to give The Da Vinci Code a chance on the big screen.  However, it was just okay.

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Next up was Angels & Demons on the big screen and while I liked it my fascination with our protagonist here inexplicably ended.  I have not read 2009’s The Lost Symbol and nor have I even thought about entertaining 2013’s Inferno.  Quite honestly I have no reason why either other than pure ignorance, but here we are and Inferno has made it to the big screen.  So that’s what we’re all gathered  here to talk about today regardless of my long Da Vinci Code intro up above.

Inferno is billed as a mystery thriller film and is once again directed by Ron Howard.  The screenplay, written by David Koepp, is obviously adapted from the 2013 Dan Brown novel of the same name.  It should also come as no surprise that Tom Hanks reprises his role as our protagonist Robert Langdon.  However, this time around he’s joined by Rogue One‘s Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Foster and Irrfan Khan.  And just like the other films, the cast of this flick globe trot around to places of magnificence and cultural/religious significance.  In other words, this film makes you want to travel overseas and see these historical places.  So let’s shed some light on what Inferno is all about.

Ben Foster portrays a billionaire hellbent on saving the world.  He believes man’s biggest problem is themselves and he developed a plague to be the cure all solution to control the population problems Earth is projected to have.  His philosophy is why put off what we can achieve now with a little pain.  Now here’s where things are a bit helter-skelter and unorthodox in this film.  Our protagonist wakes up in a hospital with little to no memory/recollection of why he is there, what happened and where his treasured Mickey Mouse watch is.  Here’s where Felicity Jones enters the picture as a doctor who will seemingly do anything to protect her patient, Robert Langdon in this case, from the men and women looking to do him harm, capture or even kill him.  Thus the pair go on the run all the while Robert keeps having hellish flashbacks and slowly starts remembering nightmarish events.

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So needless to say there are various peeps after Robert and his new sidekick.  They want the knowledge and artifact that Robert possesses, even though he doesn’t even fully understand how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together yet.  That’s the fun factor of these films as they travel all around Europe to figure out all the clues and what they all mean.  It’s sort of like a treasure hunt with the only exception here is thatthe the treasure at the end of the road here is a deadly, world destroying virus.  That’s not all though as the filmmakers have a few twists up their sleeves and what I like about this one is no one is who they really seem to be and that’s all I’ll say on the matter.

The reason for my title choice up above is while I loved watching Felicity in her role here I really can’t take her seriously because all I hear when I look at her and that hair is “I’m a Rebel.  I rebel.”  That’s kind of sad huh?  Rogue One has not even premiered yet and I already have her typecast.  When is Tom Hanks ever bad in anything?  We won’t go there.  In retrospect I actually have no qualms with this cast.  Now I know this isn’t saying a whole lot, but for me Inferno is the best of the three Robert Langdon films.  The reason being is we still have a race to beat the clock kind of thriller with a likable, bankable, familiar face.  Howard manages to keep the pace moving and not get bogged down into the traps and pitfalls that The Da Vinci Code film did.  At least that’s how I feel about it.  The nightmarish dream sequences were just icing on the cake.

Inferno is not going to win any awards nor make it on anyone’s Top 10 list of most treasured films this year, but I could think of far worst 2016 movies to waste your time on.  If you’re a fan of the fictional character of Robert Langdon, enjoy anything Tom Hanks stars in or just want an advance look at what to expect from Felicity Jones in December’s Rogue One, Inferno is recommended to check out.  If you’re still disappointed form last week’s Jack Reacher effort, then maybe you should take their own advice and “never go back.”  The choice is yours, but I like treasure hunting, even when it comes to viruses, so I look forward to checking this one out again if for nothing else than its peril/high stakes, familiar faces and pretty foreign scenery.



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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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