Wow, where to start. Considering that the cartoon is based on the EA video game, I didn't go into the viewing expecting a strict adherence to the initial influence, Dante Alighieri's 14th century epic poem Inferno, but I was sort of hoping for the general story to crop into the plot. I suppose in a way it does, at least in the barest conceptual terms. Reading the back of the case I saw that the story follows a character named Dante, a knight back from the crusades, who follows his betrothed, Beatrice, to hell after she is murdered and her soul claimed by Satan (based on a deal she made to bring Dante home safe from his battles.) In hell Dante happens upon a guide, Virgil, who helps him descend through the nine levels of hell in order to win back the soul of his beloved Beatrice. Okay, so even though the story takes some liberties with the source, it doesn't seem to terribly stray, at least I didn't think so until I stuck the DVD in and hit play.
Again, Wow. Adaptation is rarely faithful, but the Dante's Inferno cartoon is about as far a stretch as can be mustered without just cribbing the title. Again, considering that the original poem was used to form the familiar framework for an action based video game, I can totally see past this, but it's no excuse for how base and pedestrian the final story was handled. The writers and artists of this cartoon anthology (as well as those who designed the core story elements from the game) have managed to put together a disjointed and boring escapade though hell in which the main character is almost impossible to get behind. The action and violence is borderline stupid, and represents the mentality of an angry twelve year-old boy. In his initial decent into hell, Dante and Virgil board a ferry (a variation of Charon, in which he IS the ferry itself) to cross the river Acheron, much like in the poem. When Charon disgustingly orders Dante off because he is a mortal, Dante defies him, first battling a horde of winged demons, and then murdering Charon (who is a boat and a concept mind you), piercing his giant head with his newfound demon blade and then forcing the ferry to impale itself on the jagged rocky shores on the far side of the river Acheron. We're treated to a repeat of this process as Dante makes his way through the various circles of hell, battling with the "gate keepers" (Cerberus who guards the 3rd level of Gluttens, a series of sirens in the second level Lust, etc.), and again, dispatching all who cross his path. So Dante in the cartoon, instead of taking a life-changing introspective journey through the bowls of hell, is dismantling it level by level. You can totally see the video game mechanics working themselves out on screen.
The flick is animated by a series of different directors and artists much in the stylistic vein of films like the The Animatrix and Batman Gotham Knight (Two-Disc Special Edition) cartoons. Unlike those films though, Dante's Inferno isn't comprised of disparate short stories, but instead is one continuous narrative. Because the artistic style changes drastically in the hand-offs from one animation house to the next, the flow if the film becomes completely disrupted and awkward. Dante's character design changes a lot from one interpretation to the next, going from a short-haired well built guy to a long-haired thin man. Similarly the poet Virgil shifts between a wraith-like svelt goth to a stocky literally wooden figure. The animation itself is mostly well-done, though there is an overabundance of CG camera movements that give the flick a very cheap visual feel.
All in all I think this cartoon is an utter waste of time. Faithfulness to the original poem aside, the cartoon feels like watching a video game, which is pretty much only fun when you're actually playing the game. The violence and gore is insanely stupid with only a few glimpses of creativity (the sirens in the level of Lust are quite disturbing), and I'm not even bashing the fact that it's present, it's just dumb. The film reeks of being deeper and more interesting than it really is, making up for this with endless disturbing imagery that's so constantly in-your-face that it makes for a numb viewing experience. Before wasting your time on this, I'd recommend watching Hellraiser first for a much more interesting take on hellish (literally) action and suspense, and to see how disturbing imagery and concepts can be worked into a much more satisfying story.
Anime lovers will probably enjoy this Dante's Inferno, especially those who like the more adult theme film. Literature purists will probably not even have this on their radar, but if they did , they'd likely be disappointed with how loosely it interprets the original story. This is a decent, modern re-imagining of Dante's classic tale. It was not always easy to follow and the pacing was off in spots, but the visual eye-candy, exotic levels of hell and more action than you … more
Dante Alighieri's DIVINE COMEDY, and more specifically THE INFERNO, has had a tremendous influence upon our culture. It's been over a decade since I read this poem, but when I heard that there was a video game coming out that was based on THE INFERNO it really intrigued me. It wasn't so much the game itself, but the idea of what the main storyline would be in the game. Since I don't have a PS3 or an XBOX 360, I was able to get an idea of what the story the game-developers created by watching the … more
When I first got this video, I was pretty excited. Both my husband and I play video games. I have been thinking about getting him Dante's Inferno, so the companion movie seemed like a good treat. Instead it was 88 minutes of our lives that I will never get back. There are many reasons that I disliked this movie, but I will highlight the worst offenders. #1: There are 6 different directors and 6 different animation styles. Instead of having this be artsy, or fun you are left … more
Pros: The occasional creative design Cons: It's based on a video game! From Electronic Arts, of anyone! The Bottom Line: How am I giving out so many one-star ratings lately? The Electronic Arts logo which appears in the opening credits didn't leave me brimming with a sense of hope. Understand that as a reviewer who is known primarily for his work in the games section, I was already aware of the fact that a video game based on … more