Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic reminds me of Deadspace: Downfall, where a company profits off a successful (or hopeful) video game franchise and releases a movie in conjunction with the release. Beatrice, the love of Dante’s life, has been viciously murdered. Dante can do nothing but witness as her soul is captured by demons as it begins its ascent to heaven, only to be dragged to the pit below. From there he must go through the stages of hell to return things to normal. Simple plot, simple story, loads of action, yup we got a winner here. Dante’s Inferno is an engaging animated adventure.
Dante’s Inferno is also made me think. About evil, morality, the nature of god, all that stuff. It is thoughtful and smart, with a story that makes sense. A lot of the animes you watch make no sense whats so ever, but this made perfect sense all the way through. This film is interesting because it’s all about point of view. Dante is in his own hell. Beatrice is in her hell, and even the devil has a point of view here. He feels betrayed by God. He thinks god is the true evil, because it made him, then punished the devil… but God made evil knowing it would rebel. If you are relying on a the exact same sequences that happened in the game in the movie/vice versa, you will be disappointed. However, the movie does provide a better background on the Lucifer/Beatrice wager and what Dante did to get himself into that trouble.
Maybe if I did not play the game, I would bump this rating up one notch. However, even the dvd case says this is a companion piece, so it’s hard to not draw up differences between the movie and game. It is delightful to watch this animation and listen to the recitation by Italian artists who put so much passion into it. However, going back to my previous paragraphs point, religion obviously plays a crucial role in this film, and the religious themes found within are likely to offend many, particularly the comments and views on the church. Additionally, the animators have breathed life into the picture by keeping things fresh. The film’s true strength lies in its depiction of the nine circles of hell.
Though its ending is pretty underwhelming compared to the rest of the film as a whole, and the final animation style comes off as too cartoony compared to the styles that came earlier, this is still a worthwhile endeavor regardless, even if you have little desire to play the video game. There is enough shocking violence and bloody gore for all to enjoy. This is one of the strongest straight to video efforts I have seen in a long time and it gets my definete stamp of approval. It toys with Christian folklore and images of Hellish torments with reckless abandon. Any film that has balls and is brave to chart new territories deserves a slot in any animated collectors library.