Inferno 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
I had to go back and read my reviews of THE DA VINCI CODE and ANGELS & DEMONS to confirm, but I was right in my thinking that all of my problems with INFERNO were the same issues I had with the first two films in the series. Once again, director Ron Howard has ignored everything that was interesting about the story and instead focused on the “drama” of Robert Langdon running away from bad guys. The problem, of course, is that when you strip away all the interesting facts and trivia from Dan Brown’s novels, you’re left with a clumsy, poorly developed pseudo-action movie, which is exactly what INFERNO turned out to be.
What you thought about the first two films will probably be duplicated here since this follows the same basic plot outline as before. The only slight twist this time is that we pick up with Langdon (Hanks) in the hospital, where he’s suffering from amnesia after being hit/shot in the head. His ER doctor, Sienna (Jones) saves him from a would-be assassin and together they go on the run from bad guys while trying to solve the mystery left for them by the eccentric billionaire Zobrist (Ben Foster). They quickly learn, or at least guess, that Zobrist had developed a doomsday device that could kill 90% of the world’s population if it’s released in the atmosphere. So Langdon and Sienna race against time to save the world.
We’ve seen this kind of thing before, where Langdon has to team up with a beautiful, younger woman to solve puzzles and discover hidden clues throughout history in order to stop bad guys and save the world. INFERNO plays out pretty much like you’d expect, but I’d argue that there’s even less interesting facts and tidbits from Langdon here than in previous installments. Dante’s ‘Inferno’ is a fascinating book and the history of the author is even more interesting, but anything we learn about him is barely superficial. We don’t necessarily need Langdon to teach us a history lesson at every turn, but we needed more cool facts to distract us from the botched action movie we ended up watching.
Once again, Hanks delivers a top notch performance, but that usually goes without saying. Ron Howard usually gets good performances from his actors and INFERNO is no exception. And with Ron Howard at the helm, the script is going to get very efficient direction. This isn’t an action movie and Langdon isn’t an action hero, but the film moves along at a nice pace so the audience never gets bored (which was a problem with the first two films). Each film has gotten about 15+ minutes shorter, which tells me Howard has felt pressure to condense these stories. I think that’s a step in the right direction, but I don’t think he cut out the right things.
I think everyone involved is missing the point of Brown’s novels. Brown is not a good writer, nor is he good at structuring stories. What he is good at is taking little known historical facts and wrapping a story around them. But people (at least me) read his books for the fun historical puzzle solving, not for the adventure story. INFERNO continues the series by barely keeping the franchise above mediocrity.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: INFERNO is another recent example of taking a great Blu-ray release and upgrading it to a great 4K release. This 4K UHD has noticeable details and color definitions throughout, giving us a stunning visual presentation that makes things so clear, it almost gives the film a pseudo-3D effect. And this might sound bad, but the added 4K clarity really showed the age on Tom Hanks, which just made me feel old. But other than exposing Hanks’s age, you’ll see added details in all of the international settings. Ron Howard always does a good job of brightly lighting his settings and that added lighting helps the definition of the 4K release greatly. This is a nice looking 4K release, but to be fair, the Blu-ray is also fantastic.
Audio: The Dolby Atmos track is a nice upgrade from an already good DTS track found on the Blu-ray.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film, which has the following special features:
Deleted and Extended Scenes (27:20): Seven scenes total, most of which are of the extended variety. None of them would have fixed the film’s problems since most of these focused on the action in the film.
Visions of Hell (5:35): Everyone shows up to talk about how much darker this film is compared to the others.
Inferno Around the World (13:35): This featurette, highlights the diverse cast.
A Look at Langdon (6:20): The hero of Dan Brown’s books gets his own featurette, which looks at his evolution throughout the series.
This is Sienna Brooks (5:45) and The Billionaire Villain: Bertrand Zobrist (5:10): Felicity Jones and Ben Foster’s characters gets their own mini-featurettes.
Ron Howard: A Director’s Journal (10:00): Ron Howard gets ten minutes to talk about filmmaking, INFERNO and the cast.