Inferno Freezes Over; Film vs. Book


Erik Calderon, Staff Writer

The blood waters surround everyone while the orchestra plays.  The underground water cistern is the perfect breeding place for a virus, and on this night, at the eleventh hour, everything is in place to release the virus that will wipe out the population.  Dr. Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) not only predicts mass extinction of the human race, but is also the leader of a group that has hatched the perfect plan to carry it out.  Deep in the caves of the old water reservoirs of Turkey, the perfect place to incubate and inoculate the virus, the virus awaits the strike of midnight, to release itself and infect the crowd that is there for the concert.  Dr. Langdon (Tom Hanks) and Dr. Sinskey (Sidse Babett Knudsen) fight desperately to find and contain the virus, with one minute left.

The film, directed by Ron Howard, stars Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy and Irrfan Khan and is based on the book written by Dan Brown.  Inferno is the fourth book from the Robert Langdon series and the third film to be made.  The film is 121 minutes long, was shot on an Arri Alexa with a budget of $75 million in Turkey, Italy and Hungary.  The film is about Harvard professor of Symbology, Robert Langdon and his quest to solve the riddles left by Dr. Bertrand Zobrist about Dante’s journey through hell in order to stop a deadly virus from being spread all around the world.

The book, the film, which is better?  Very seldom do you find that the film is better than the book, and in this case I was disappointed, hoping that the film would shine.  The Da Vinci code was one of those films that shined alongside the book.  This film fell short.  The main plots for both go hand in hand, but again, the director, Ron Howard, changes many aspects of the subplots that pretty much spoils the story line.  The motivations of the characters are so well developed in the book, that one small change on top of only having 2 hours to tell the story, really diminishes the impact of what is happening.  The film felt more like a made for TV show.  The lighting, along with the score contributed heavily to this “TV” feel.  At times the score didn’t even come close to eliciting the emotions of the scene.  And, on top of that the acting and casting felt a bit out of place.   Robert Langdon and Elizabeth Sinskey have a relationship, but you can clearly tell that there is no on screen chemistry between the two.  And the whole build up of the relationship between Langdon and Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) in the book, is completely absent in the film.  The book does such an incredible job building these two characters up, that the relationship has an incredible impact on the story and their motivations.

To be honest with you, at times, I had a very hard time keeping my eyes open throughout the film, though, when I was reading the book, I had a hard time putting it down.

Yes, “The Book is Always Better,” is my motto, though there have been some instances when the film was just as stunning.  If you have to watch this film, I’d say, “wait till it comes out on DVD,”  but, definitely, read the book.  Dan Brown is amazing with the pen.  And the numbers don’t lie, the three films have generated over $1 Billion in sales.