by Greg Vellante

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday October 28, 2016

Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones star in 'Inferno'
Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones star in 'Inferno'  

For the record, Ron Howard's "Inferno" is the first of his three Robert Langdon adaptations where I have not read the Dan Brown novel prior to the viewing the film. My sentiments haven't changed much, however.

I dug "The Da Vinci Code" on page, was lukewarm to it on screen. I loved "Angels & Demons" in the written form, loathed it in the cinematic. Now comes "Inferno," where Tom Hanks once again assumes the role of symbolist Professor Robert Langdon, this time caught up in a race against the clock to battle amnesia, forces after him for unknown reasons and a catastrophic plan to plague the world and eliminate half the population through contagion. I have not read the book, but the movie is garbage.

I'd imagine the book would be a pulpy page-turner like its predecessors, but the movie certainly isn't driving me to ever pursue it. A profoundly mediocre affair, "Inferno" schleps along at a snail's pace with silly revelations, absurd twists and stakes that are far too high to ever really feel consequential. If you think this movie's going to end with half the world's population being wiped off the face of the earth through disease, you're probably mistaking Ron Howard for Lars von Trier.

And if you find Langdon's exploits exciting, you're probably mistaking him as well for another professor known for his perilous adventures. Indiana Jones he is not; where Jones races away from rolling boulders, Langdon finds hidden text and images in paintings. Different strokes for different folks, sure, but Langdon's journeys seem far better suited for the page than the screen. There are only so many ways you can make image analyzation visually exciting.

"Inferno" isn't bad and isn't good, it just sits there, stagnant, waiting for something to propel it beyond the run of the mill. But it never transcends this, and populates itself with aggravating moments such as an aggressively over-edited first act and some of the most godawful ADR mixing I've seen in a studio film this year (there is one scene in particular that had me fuming).

Hanks is wasted throughout, contractually obligated to this overpoweringly uninteresting character. Much of the time, I fantasized about how much better "Inferno" would be were Hanks playing his recent SNL character, David S. Pumpkins, instead. Any questions?


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