Judge David Johnson once traveled to the ninth level of Hell. You know what he found? Beets as far as the eye could see.
Go to Hell.
As they did with their last game (Dead Space: Downfall), the crew at Visceral Games and the all-seeing video game deity EA, present an animated film companion to their latest release.
Facts of the Case
You're familiar with the story: Dante Alghieri tours the various levels of Hell with his guide Virgil and the poetry is indeed epic. But this simply won't do for an M-rated actioner, so Dante becomes a disillusioned Crusader with a cross scarred on his chest and Hell becomes a series of battlefields for him to travel through while kicking the crap out of demons with his scythe.
If you've played the video game (which I'm currently wrangling with), the plot progression will be familiar. Dante's goal? To rescue his beloved, Beatrice, who's been targeted by Lucifer to be the next Queen of the Underworld.
Also, to hack apart any Inferno-dwelling jackass that gets in his way.
First off, about the game (consider it a bonus review). I like it and Visceral has done some interesting stuff with the obviously heavy Christian imagery that the original epic poem is sourced upon. Lucifer, God, Judas; the all-stars are well-accounted for and the satisfying hack and slash gameplay add up to fun, violent if not derivative action gaming experience.
Take away the combos, finishing moves, and interactive bloodletting and you're left with this: a loud, frantic and ultimately empty piece of hand-drawn storytelling which, minus the crutch of engaging button-mashing, falters.
There are still some interesting ideas, particularly when it comes to the twists on Christian theology and redemption and forgiveness and what-not—like in the game's narrative—but they're not enough to compensate for a whole mess of other problems.
It can't compete with the source material.
The animation stinks.
Dante's a dick.
What's Lucifer's plan again?
The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital, and a handful of animatics in the extras bin.
Dante's Inferno is primarily a marketing method for the video game. Not being able to control the mayhem takes away the biggest draw.
Guilty. Burn, baby, burn.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
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