Action Adaptation

'Inferno' Blu-ray Review: Dan Brown book adaptation avoids sequel Hell

January 31, 2017Ben MK

Once again reprising the role he played in 2006's The Da Vinci Code and 2009's Angels & Demons, Tom Hanks' third outing as the protagonist of author Dan Brown's bestselling series of books finds the the Harvard symbology professor thrust into yet another mystery-solving, race against the clock. This time, however, the stakes are higher than ever, as Langdon must stop the release of a deadly virus designed to wipe out half the Earth's population.

Teaming up with a feisty doctor named Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), Langdon embarks on a journey that will take him from Florence, to Istanbul, to Vienna, as he deciphers the cryptic clues left behind by the virus' creator, Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster), a billionaire scientist with controversial theories about how to solve the planet's overpopulation problem. There's just one catch, though: Langdon is also suffering from retrograde amnesia, a condition which adds a whole new level of difficulty to what would otherwise be a rote and familiar challenge.

Directed by Ron Howard and scripted by David Koepp, what follows is nonetheless a fairly standard, by-the-numbers thriller. However, that's not to say that Inferno doesn't manage to at least remain terrifically entertaining throughout, thanks in no small part to the committed performances of Hanks, Jones and the rest of its talented cast, which also includes X-Men: Days of Future Past's Omar Sy and Westworld's Sidse Babett Knudsen.

The film's highlight, though, has got to be Life of Pi's Irrfan Khan, who plays a man named Harry Sims, the leader of an organization engaged in a parallel pursuit of the virus. And though the character itself isn't particularly interesting, Khan seems to be having some genuine fun in his role; and the dry, quippy humor that he brings to the movie helps inject a sense of fun that's sorely missed as Inferno builds to its hokey, all too predictable climax.

Inferno debuts on Blu-ray with a superb and razor-sharp 1080p transfer that represents one of the best-looking releases on the format. Shot digitally, the image nonetheless retains a pleasing, film-like texture, and is full of fine detail, from the historic architecture of Florence, Venice and Istanbul, to the artwork and antiquities on display in the Palazzo Vecchio. Likewise, colors are robust and striking, such as the rich, red hues that characterize a gush of blood in one of Langdon's visions, and contrast and black levels are exemplary, as seen in the plethora of dark suits and vehicles that appear throughout the film. As for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix that accompanies the picture, it conveys both the dialogue and the dramatic score with crystal clarity, bolstered by the sounds of gunshots, screams, roaring motorcycle engines, wailing police sirens and an underwater explosion.

Sony's single-disc Blu-ray release includes an UltraViolet digital copy and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Extended & Deleted Scenes (27:19) - Seven scenes ("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 (5:35) - Director Ron Howard and star Tom Hanks talk about Dante's vision of Hell and bringing it to life on-screen through in-camera and visual effects.
  • Inferno Around the World (13:34) - A featurette about the movie's international cast (Felicity Jones, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ana Ularu, Ben Foster, Omar Sy and Irrfan Khan) and exotic filming locations.
  • A Look At Langdon (6:21) - A character piece that focuses on Robert Langdon's backstory and the trials and tribulations he's put through in the movie.
  • This Is Sienna Brooks (5:48) - A profile of Felicity Jones' character.
  • The Billionaire Villain: Bertrand Zobrist (5:13) - A profile of Ben Foster's character.
  • Ron Howard, A Director's Journal (10:02) - Director Ron Howard talks about chronicling the film's production using Twitter and Instagram, and shooting in Venice, Florence and Budapest.

Inferno is available from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as of January 24th, 2017. The Blu-ray features English, Japanese and Portuguese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and French, Spanish and Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, Chinese Traditional, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai subtitles. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 1 Min.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on October 26th, 2016.

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