After the long wait for the newest installment in the Robert Langdon series, “Inferno” has finally arrived! Unfortunately for fans, this newest installment comes up short, especially in the plot department.
Starting off with Robert Langdon suffering from a head wound and subsequent amnesia in a Florence hospital, things start off quickly as Langdon is hunted down by wound-be assassins and escapes with his ER nurse, Sienna. Leading the assassins and the World Health Organization on a chase throughout Florence, the brief stop at Sienna’s apartment brings us the first clue to our art history fueled adventure in the form of a human bone cylinder hidden in a bio-tube activated by Langdon’s fingerprint. After finding clues in the rendering of Dante’s hell, we are again on the move to visit the Dante death mask(apparently stolen earlier by none other than our protagonist) then off to Venice for our final clues, and eventually Istanbul for the finale. After a betrayal leaves him in the hands of a turncoat WHO agent, Langdon manages to make it to the final destination, and the potentially world ending event that is averted as in all good action movies.
EXCEPT this is not how it should have ended. Interviews with Ron Howard, the director, and Dan Brown, the books author, have told us that the ending was more cinematic, bu was it really? No. Our cinematic ending could have come straight from the book, with its ambiguous ending, far more terrifying biological weapon, and the resignation at the end that the course should be held for the greater good.The book ends with the bio-bomb detonating, releasing a vector virus that activates DNA mutations in targeted populations, rendering them sterile, to avoid the overpopulation of the planet. This ending, and the decision by the WHO to not develop a cure for the greater good of the world, and due to the dangerous nature of trying to revert the change, leaves the reader far more chilled than the averted danger of a population decimating death plague.
In terms of the three films, Inferno is the least of its counterparts. It feels longer, less interested in the details of the mythology behind the threat, and with the exception of Irrfan Khan, who makes every scene he is in better for the sheer dry humor with which his character views the world, even the actors feel as if they are less invested in this film.
While I enjoy these films and their mixture of adventure, the brilliant views of cities far from my own in Oklahoma, and the incorporation of art and history into the plot, I only hope that should the series continue with Brown’s next installation in the series, Howard does not sacrifice the brilliance of the writers vision for the “more cinematic” choice.