Friday, October 28, 2016

Inferno [2016]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III) (2 Stars)  AVClub (C+)  Fr. Dennis (2 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
Los Angeles Times (K. Turan) review (C. Lemire) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review

Inferno [2016] (directed by Ron Howard, screenplay by David Koepp based on the novel [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by Dan Brown [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb]) while not awful, awful and honestly giving Viewers lovely tours of Florence, Venice and finally Constantinople/Istanbul _often_ feels like Austin Powers' Dr. Evil [wikip] [IMDb] meets The Da Vinci Code [2006] [IMDb]

This is because the while the plot is James Bond-ish in quality -- a crazed billionaire bio-technologist named Bertrand Zobrist (played actually _quite well_ but not to Javier Bardem-levels by Ben Foster) decides that he's going to invent a viral plague that would kill half-of-humanity in order to save the planet -- he decides to partially hide his plot EVEN FROM THOSE WHO WOULD PRESUMABLY CARRY IT OUT in riddles decipherable only by Dante enthusiasts (!)

Enter then Dan Brown's Harvard "Symbologist" Robert Landgon [wikip] [IMDb] (played again quite competently by Tom Hanks though even he must have found his role here increasingly preposterous) "to save the day" RATHER THAN more conventional "save the day heroes" like Ian Fleming's James Bond [wikip] [IMDb] or Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan [wikip] [IMDb] or even Steven Spielberg's / Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones [wikip] [IMDb].

Honestly only Austin Power's Dr. Evil [wikip] [IMDb] would be so stupidly esoterically weird as to HIDE his FIENDISH über-modern PLOT in ESOTERIC RIDDLES playing-on / riffing-off of Medieval texts:  HE ARGUABLY CONFUSES HIS OWN PEOPLE :-) who actually come to NEED poor Professor Langdon THEMSELVES to HELP THEM FIGURE-OUT WHAT THEIR EVIL MASTER HAD ACTUALLY WANTED THEM TO DO ;-) ;-)

But it is one heck of a ride ;-) ... and for a $10 (or so ...) price of admission Viewers do get to see some of the most beautiful (and fabled / history laden) cities in the world.  And yes, if it gets at least a few of said Viewers to pick-up Dante's Divine Comedy (and PLEASE DEAR READERS DON'T JUST FOCUS ON DANTE'S "INFERNO" ... PURGATORIO (especially the first chapters) and even PARADISO are true joys to Read / Bask In ! ;-) or learn about Marco Polo (who was a son of a 13th century trader from Venice and knew Constantinople as well as, of course, China) then this film would be well worth its being made.

Most of us CAN'T AFFORD to go to the places shown in this film, but through the wonders of Film (and wikipedia / the internet) we can choose to "travel" VIRTUALLY to these / other places, "for a while" ;-) and then ... blissfully "return home again" :-)
In this regard -- thanks Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, etc (and even Dan Brown) for helping us to want to stretch our minds a little and want to dream again ...

The film, if nothing else, was "one heck of a trip" ;-)

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