Plot: What’s it about?
The weirdest things remind me of movies. When I think of The Da Vinci Code, I think of a bus stop that I drive by every day and I recall seeing the poster for it. This was in 2006, of course, but for some reason whenever I think of any of the Robert Langdon films, I think of that bus stop. Odd, isn’t it? That said, this isn’t 2006 and we’ve now arrived at the “final” chapter of these films. I’ve been a passing fan and have always meant to read the novels by Dan Brown, but I’ve just simply never gotten around to it. Maybe I’ll have to do that one day when my “to be reviewed” pile isn’t 10 deep! It’s been seven years since Angels & Demons graced the screen and now the end of the world is near (or at least it would seem). Tom Hanks once again teams with Ron Howard and dons the moniker of Robert Langdon. Felicity Jones, who you might recognize from Star Wars: Rogue One, is along for the ride this time. Let’s go to hell!
Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) has been shot and is suffering from bullet wounds. He manages to escape the hospital by his physician, Sienna (Felicity Jones), but is being pursued by a female killer (Ana Ularu). Trying to regain his memory as well as some basic functions, Langdon and Sienna jaunt off across Florence, Venice and Istanbul to try to avoid, well, death and to foil a demonic plot. What plot? Well billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) has committed suicide and he believes that there are too many people in the world. His last act is to unleash a plague that would lower the world population, thus solving the problem. So it’s up to Langdon to stop the plague, save the day and, seemingly, the world. The end (in as many senses of the phrase).
There aren’t many films that have one person save the world and we can believe it. Ok, maybe Superman or something of that nature, but a Harvard professor? That’s a bit of stretch. Hanks does fine in his role and one thing that can be said about the man is that he’ll never mail in a performance. He’s so consistently good that when he’s in a bad film (like this), it’s hard to dislike it. Felicity Jones is good in her part as well, but let’s face it – she’s just the eye candy for the much older Hollywood leading man. Howard’s direction is a bit all over the place as was the production. Looking at this film is a crash course in European travel, so if you’re too cheap or scared to travel abroad – maybe this is what you need? I doubt we’ll see Langdon in another film and I don’t even know if there are any other novels with him as the lead. As much as Hollywood likes trilogies, it might have been best to quit while they were ahead.
Video: How’s it look?
In somewhat of a departure from the other “Langdon” films, Inferno is presented in a 1.85:1 HEVC HD image that looks rather startling (in a good way). As we might expect with a new to 4K (and otherwise included, Blu-ray) film, there’s little to detract from the detail, color and everything else. That said, Hanks isn’t getting any younger and both the Blu-ray and 4K version showcase this. This isn’t 2006 and Hanks’ long, flowing locks are now short and his hair a stark contrast from what they were like in the recent Sully. Still, if the destruction of the Earth and mankind as we know it doesn’t look its best here, then I don’t know what else to say. It’s a nice-looking transfer with HDR getting top billing and strong contrast, razor sharp detail and beautiful, brilliant color. What more could you ask for?
Audio: How’s it sound?
Some studios seem to embrace the new Ultra HD/4K format while others just see it as an opportunity to sell the same movie…again. Fortunately, Sony is one of the former and seem to give a little more to those that pony up the extra cash for the 4K version. Also included with this set is the Blu-ray, which features a very nice DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack, but those that choose the 4K version (and, let’s face it, if you bought it – why wouldn’t you?) will be treated to an even more robust Dolby Atmos soundtrack. It expands on the already impressive DTS track, but as we might expect, has a bit more “atmosphere” to it (no, that reference will never get old). Things sound a bit more robust, and the sound encompasses you all the more. Vocals are rich and strong, pure and crisp. It’s an impressive addition, but sadly it can’t make the movie any more palatable.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Extended & Deleted Scenes – Clocking in at nearly 30 minutes, we’re treated to an additional 7 scenes that included an extended opening and ending among others. While these were nice to have, I liked the way the film was presented to begin with.
- Visions of Hell – Author Dan Brown, along with selected cast and crew, discuss the theme of the film.
- Inferno Around the World – A look at the very diverse cast in the movie as well as some shooting locales.
- A Look at Langdon – An examination of Robert Langdon through the trilogy of movies that Hanks has played him in.
- This Is Sienna Brooks – A new movie, a new lead actress who’s 30 years younger than Hanks. In this installment we get a look at Felicity Jones’ character.
- The Billionaire Villain: Bertrand Zobrist – While we’re at it, let’s take a lead at the antagonist in the movie, too!
- Ron Howard, a Director’s Journal – It’s hard to believe that Ron Howard ever gets mad with his “aw shucks” mentality. That said, he discusses the finer points of the film, some of the themes, casting and shooting locations.
The Bottom Line
If you were a fan of the first two films, odds are you saw this one. It failed to ignite at the box office and I think that’s the last we’ll see of Robert Langdon (but I’ve been wrong before). Still, the movie both looks and sounds amazing, so if you are a fan – this won’t disappoint on a technical level.