Traveling beyond death to rescue his love, Beatrice, from evil Lucifer, Dante enters the nine circles of hell, battling the vicious demons and monsters he encounters in this spectacular animated retelling of Dante Alighieri’s classic morality tale. A companion to EA’s video game, the action-packed medieval journey features the voices of Mark Hamill, Victoria Tennant, Vanessa Branch and Graham McTavish.
The story of Dante’s Inferno is that is one well known in the literary circles. In fact its always been a dream of mine to see the story taken into a huge arena that is both modern, horrific and presented on a X-men scale budget. Well Electronic Arts has taken a different route. Though its not to take away from the fact that this animation is truly a visual treat in so many ways for horror fans. In fact the creatures, demons and monsters within are breathtaking and chilling all rolled into one. Dante’s story is a hard one to phantom.
Its main showcase is Dante’s travel thru the levels and bowels of hell. Each level and encounter involves a different torture and usually different demonic entity along the way. As explained in the story, they serve hell guarding and controlling the minions of their assigned levels. This epic journey though is one of rage and encounter. Dante, a massive warrior in his own right is on a mission to save his true love from the clutches and damnations of Lucifer. Even at the cost of descending into hell he is prepared to travel the depths to bring his true love back from Hades.
This round of Dante is told a bit different than the original. My guess was to heighten the level of battle and struggle. Dante pursues his love Beatrice into hell after Lucifer wins a bet that Dante will be untrue to his promise of fidelity. Because of this mistake, Beatrice is denied Heaven and pulled below into the lowest level of hell.
Dante will battle all those who come before him as he is lead thru the levels with his guide Virgil. What he encounters and sees is an experience of the worst imaginable horrors. Even at the sight of these he holds strong with battle sword in hand and slays the demons who stand in his way. Those who are familiar with the Dante epic know that the demons and creatures encountered fit a certain profile. What I enjoyed immensely was the imagination put into the common characters. For instance, the Cerberus who is known as a 3 headed guard dog is presented with 3 heads but is animated more like a monstrous 3 headed leeched character with tentacles. Often the confrontation leads are gigantic, equipped and nightmarish. All the elements that contribute to a successful retelling. Scenery backdrops are unique, harrowing and complete with minions of lost souls.
Dante is guided through out by his apparitional lead Virgil. Though the challenges are left for Dante to endure and overcome without aid from Virgil. Meanwhile, the devil taunts him along the way with threats of claiming Beatrice and making her his wife. All of this is geared towards leading Dante to the 9th bottom level, the coldest level in hell. This is Lucifer’s domain. The farthest from God’s light and as a result an icy wasteland. There is alot of metaphoric challenges embedded into the tale as Dante has to come to terms with his infidelity, his former position in life and those who he has left behind as a result of it. Many of these souls or “shades” are there to confront him in his journey.
I don’t think I can say enough about the animation work in this film. It really captures the horrors and strange beasts of another realm that can only be imagined in nightmares. Director Jonathan Knight has taken the amazing talents of Electronic Arts and created a animation masterpiece. At the time of viewing the credits on this piece, it lists Anthony Rizzo, William ‘Rocky’ Vanoost, and Kyle Winkelman as the main animators, though I think that maybe that lists only a partial of the talent on board. What matters most is that this satisfies an animation film that horror fans will truly enjoy and takes advantage of a great historic fantasy literary work. Dante’s inferno is top notch horror of epic proportions. Vividly magical and powerful bringing brilliance to an age old classic!