Raise your hand if you saw the Dante’s Inferno animated film that was released alongside the video game in 2010. Those of you whose hands stayed still, you are the lucky ones. For those of sad few with hands in the air like you just don’t care, Universal Pictures and Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead) are hoping to rectify that disaster. That’s right folks. A Fede Alvarez Dante’s Inferno movie is in the works after he signed on to direct a live action version of the story. No, it will not be a tasteful exploration of the themes of Dante Aligheri’s epic work that formed the contemporary Italian vernacular. They’re adapting the video game.
For those of you that forget the video game was basically God Of War with a scythe and bosses named after characters from the original work. Instead of depicting the descent of a poet through the pain and redemption of lost love and abandonment by his country, Alvarez will – presumably – be presenting us with a war-crazy former crusader on his quest to liberate his girlfriend from the devil. Apparently with the help of Virgil (at least that’s the same) he descends through the nine circles of hell, and just like in the video game, becomes enmeshed in a massive biblical conflict. Kind of like Constantine without the drinking or Keanu Reeves.
I love The Divine Comedy and really all of Dante’s work, but I can see why the narrative doesn’t necessarily lend itself to cinema in the traditional sense. This still seems a little sketchy to me though. I have a little bit of a problem with reducing one of the great contemplative works of human history to a hack and slash fantasy. Buuuuut I do think Fede Alvarez has some filmmaking chops. In Evil Dead, he definitely displayed the ability to make blood and gore look amazing using good, old-fashioned practical effects. Those skills might, in fact, make this movie worth seeing. The video game and the animated movie put a lot of effort into the gory elements, and even the original doesn’t skimp on the disturbing descriptions (see the cannibal Ugolino gnawing on a skull while telling Dante how he ate his children. It’s in Canto 32 if you’re curious).
Putting my pretensions about the original aside, I do think there is some promise here. If nothing else, it will be an interesting playground for Alvarez to display his immense technical abilities. Plus the part in the video game with all of the demon babies could be really sweet. Do you agree? Is this a little bit too much of a reboot, or are you excited to see the game reproduced by a solid director? Did you like Inferno? Let’s get literary, boys and girls.
Here’s a clip of that part with the babies.