Ron Howard’s adaptation to Dan Browns inferno would add another level to hell and we can’t help but agree. Inferno proves that even hell and plagues can be made boring.
While despite criticisms I felt the book was pretty good. And though Brown’s increasingly repetitive plot put me to sleep the book did prove quite a page turner and food for the mind. The movie does exactly the opposite. Inferno grossed $34.3 million in the United States and Canada and $185.7 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $220 million, against a production budget of $75 million. It ended up opening to $14.9 million and marked the fourth straight domestic disappointment for director Ron Howard.
While, it stays faithful to the original plot in the opening and only a few minor changes are made in dialogue, it all goes downhill from there. As for the characters they were far from the books description. Sienna was not the blond haired witty actress I had imagined but a curly haired brunette with a disappointing lack of convincing emotions. And while the appearance may not matter so much, it was a definite put down for the fans of the book (like me) who had imagined the characters in their mind.
Sinskey was not the silver haired sharp and cutting head of the WHO, Brown had created but a softer and meek personality. Langdon’s stunning heaps of random information which is made tolerable with his charisma in the book , is completely lost in the movie. It’s not the ‘ I know something about that ’ knowledge , but blandly memorized and delivered . It’s cringe worthy and completely robs Langdon of his chief weapon- his brain! In a desperate ploy to add some content , moments are added between Sinskey and Langdon and it spoils more than it helps.
Irfaan khan , acting as the provost adds a little bit of salt and pepper with his witty asides and seems to have sunk into his character. As for me, he was the only reason I didn’t switch off the TV.
The movie was so fast paced and rushed that it almost doesn’t give enough time to realize how ludicrous the plot is and how little sense it makes.
In a half hearted attempt to create some excitement amnesia is introduced with the provosts secret company and the background of the world destroying virus. In reality, the movie ignores all of this and continues with Browns significant features. Langdon (again) is travelling with some woman, displaying ounces of knowledge about random ancient artists and scientists which we can’t even pronounce, solving cryptic puzzles like a boss, reciting history word to word, remembering a gazillion lectures he had given and as always manages to be completely action ready in his Harris tweed, turtleneck and loafers. Only this time with retrograde amnesia. Never before has the world’s fate been at such dependable hands.
As for the ending, the movie messes it up completely. The book ends with Sienna double-crossing Robert and going after the virus herself. However, Sienna then turns out to be good, with the intention of destroying the virus, not releasing it as she earlier wanted to The virus in the book is already released by the time Sienna and Robert get to it, and, with little hope of curing the virus, the characters decide to let it run its course. In the movie, Robert is able to stop the virus from being released into the world and Sienna somehow manages to die. While some say it was an attempt to brighten the original bleak ending it turns out to be a confusing and rosily washed which leaves it quite bland.
In all (due) respect to the book (I actually liked it ) the movie remains a disappointing film only for people, who have never read the book. And even for them, Inferno would be a movie to watch for free on TV when no other show runs.