Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dante's Inferno Anime Review

Dante's Inferno: An Animated Epic
Anchor Bay (Starz/Manga Entertainment)
Movie - 88 mins. - 1 disc
$9.98 (2010)
$19.97 (2010) Blu-Ray
ISBN 013138249180
English Audio - English/Spanish Subtitles
Directors - Shukou Murase/Yasuomi Umetsu/Mike Disa/Victor Cook/Jong-Sik Nam/Sang-Jin Kim/Lee Seung-Gyu
Studios - Production I.G/Film Roman/Dong Woo Animation/Manglobe/JM Animation/Moi Animation/Digital eMation/BigStar/EA Pictures

Synopsis: Dante returns from the Crusades to find his beloved Beatrice, his father, and servants gruesomely slain my a mystery attacker.  Beatrice dies in his arms and her soul is dragged down to hell by Lucifer himself.  Dante is unable to stop her abduction and rages at the gates of hell.
Dante and Beatrice before he leaves for the Crusades
He is approached by a wandering spirit named Virgil who offers to guide him into hell.  Calling upon his faith, Dante is able to break through the gates of hell and Virgil follows along with him.  They attempt to cross the River Styx on Charon's ferry boat, but Charon attacks them.
Dante talks to Virgil while they walk through hell
The pair descend through the nine circles of hell:

  1. Limbo - filled with virtuous pagans and unbaptized babies.  Here Dante learns a tragic secret Beatrice had kept from him.  Dante must overcome the demonic King Minos who judges the damned and chooses the circle they will reside (and be tormented) upon.  
  2. Lust - where the damned are endlessly flung upon the winds of passion and know no rest.  Dante must battle through a horde of succubi before revealing a startling sin which begins to shake Beatrice's faith in him
  3. Gluttony - the damned are eaten by Cerberus, the three-headed hell hound.  Dante must best Cerberus to reach the next circle
  4. Greed - the greedy damned are boiled in molten gold, crushed in money presses, and crushed by mountains of gold coins.  Here Dante must defeat a familiar face trapped in the bowels of hell
  5. Anger/The City of Dis - Dante and Virgil enlist the aide of a demonic giant to gain access to the city in pursuit of Lucifer.  More disturbing flashbacks of Dante's time during the Crusades unnerve Beatrice
  6. Heresy - here the damned burn eternally.  Dante meets an old enemy before descending to the next circle
  7. Violence - Dante faces the Minotaur and enter the Forest of Suicides.  Here Dante learns a startling secret of his mother.  Later he journeys to the Abominable Sands and comes face to face with his fallen comrades from the Crusades.  They ain't happy to see him
  8. Fraud - Virgil departs leaving Dante to stop Lucifer from marrying Beatrice.  Dante reflects upon his sinful behavior and realizes he is the cause of his own undoing
  9. Treachery - Dante faces Lucifer alone under the crushing weight of his own failings.  Can Dante possibly save Beatrice's soul and stop Lucifer's perverted reign from spreading outside of hell?  

Surrounded by succubi Dante gets a glimpse of what lies beneath
their attractive facades
Pros: Some nudity, action-packed violence, decent animation, some extras: EA game trailer and animatics, inexpensive
Lucifer holds Beatrice's soul captive
Cons: Superficial story, six different animation styles - Dante and Virgil look completely different each time, not a very good adaptation of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy (of which Inferno is the first chapter), Dante is not a likable character by the end of the movie
Virgil lights the way for Dante as they traverse hell
Mike Tells It Straight: Dante's Inferno is based on a hack-n-slash video game of the same name - this was my first clue the animated adaptation would probably suck.  It was 88 minutes of brainless violence with some weak attempt at moralization of the main character.
Beatrice corrupted by Lucifer's influence and Dante's sins
Too many different animation styles!  Six was too many and the shift of style was abrupt although most styles were fairly decent.  The story was 'loosely' based on the classic first chapter of the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.  Turned it into a pure testosterone- and gore-fest.
Dante wields the power of his faith and a really big axe!
The only redeeming quality may be to get viewers interested in checking out the original literature.  Hell is a fascinating concept which shaped the perceptions of Christians throughout history and even today.  If you're looking for mind-numbing violence, some nudity, and really liked the video game then this movie will be a good pick.  Looking for a good plot with some characterization?  You better run like a bat out of hell (or fly)!

TO BUY and Recommendations: