When it comes to Dan Brown’s books, it’s practically impossible to really make a movie adaptation of them, I know that now. I’ve read every single book from Brown, and my first experience when watching his films is always the same, it’s got the right idea, but it feels extremely rushed…but I guess that’s how a lot of film adaptations feel. When I read Inferno, though, that was the first time my reading experience felt like a movie…so that was one aspect I was looking forward to in this book…yet, they still really changed this movie up. Was it in a good or bad way? Let me try to explain…
Academy Award® winner Ron Howard returns to direct the latest bestseller in Dan Brown’s (Da Vinci Code) billion-dollar Robert Langdon series, Inferno, which finds the famous symbologist (again played by Tom Hanks) on a trail of clues tied to the great Dante himself. When Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together, they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman from unleashing a global virus that would wipe out half of the world’s population.Written by Sony Pictures Entertainment
When I read this book, I had an issue with it, and it took two attempts to finish it, something that’s never happened to me before with Dan Brown…so right off the bat, the story and concept didn’t really hook me…but after a while, I actually really did get into the story. It’s a far cry from Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, or even the book not made into a movie, Lost Symbol, but it does have its positives and negatives – and I’ve liked all of the books more than the movies, but I’ve at least enjoyed the movies thus far…I’m having trouble with Inferno, because they changed a lot…like a lot, a lot. It follows the same outer shell of the story, travels to the same locations as I remember reading about, but it’s an empty shell.
Ron Howard is normally seen as a better storyteller than Dan Brown, that Browns concepts are incredible, but he can’t really write people…well, I felt the opposite here, especially for the women involved, as they all had really meaningful, interesting aspects that were completely disregarded here, and instead they made Langdon have a crush on the World Health Organization lady. Why? Because…romance? I don’t get it, I really don’t, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about, I wanted to talk about the films look on the threat itself.
So the book took overpopulation very seriously, but I feel like Ron Howard thought the idea is ridiculous, so the concept is never taken seriously in the film…which is a really bad idea. The book did a good job at opening people’s eyes to the possibility that overpopulation could continue expanding at the multiplier it has been, and in the next 100 years, our kids and grandchildren would be dying. The movie laughs at the word “overpopulation” and the good guys try to stop a virus. That’s it. They don’t go into detail about the virus, what it means, or what it even IS. That makes the virus itself a McGuffin…a plot device that exists just to move the story along…that’s the part that made me the angriest.
Finally, I just don’t understand why they did what they did when they decided to toss Robert Langdon aside with importance. I get that he’s had an injury, but they had Sienna doing all of the code-breaking and mystery solving instead of him…and she’s just this random character. I sort of understand what they were getting at, but her role was basically the same as the book, and in the book…even though Langdon had issues with solving everything, he eventually figured out A LOT…he barely did anything in this movie. I just don’t get why they did that. He is the face of these films…and he was tossed aside like leftover and rotting Thanksgiving Day turkey.
I’m sorry, I have to do this. So SPOILER WARNING, I need to talk about the ending of the movie. They changed the ending of the movie…and I’m mad. In order to continue telling a good vs. evil story where the good guys win, they didn’t have the virus go off (which it does in the book)…but they had to right? Because if they didn’t, everyone would die! Well, maybe Ron Howard wasn’t reading the book when no one dies when the virus goes off…at least not immediately. The prediction on what time the virus would go off was a ploy, it really went off a week earlier. What the virus IS, is a quick-spreading nano virus that affects a third of the world’s population, making them infertile – thus saving the world from the eventual overpopulation problem. So the virus does go off, and the idea of what the virus is…was incredible. They also made Langdon’s partner evil, and even though she did betray him in the book, she was just lost and lonely in the book, she redeems herself by the end and works with the WHO. Arrrhhhhggg. Lots of frustration here. Rant rant rant!