Inferno – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

It’s been several years since Tom Hanks graced the silver screen as Professor Robert Langdon. Unfortunately, the wait isn’t worth it. After the relative misstep of Angels & Demons, it looks as if both Ron Howard and screenwriter David Koepp haven’t learned their lesson with Inferno. Koepp’s script features a disappointing plot involving a millennial multi-millionaire nutcase instead of a mysterious church cult. A less compelling villain isn’t helped by the lack of screentime for Ben Foster who has a penchant for making his unstable characters so mesmerizing. It’s such a wasted opportunity. In addition, some of the thrills and mystery aren’t as compelling and it all feels a bit shallow. But what Koepp does well is creating a conspiracy around Dante that it has made me interested in learning more about Dante and his 9 Circles of Hell.

For the most part, Ron Howard knocks the visuals out of the park with the various locales (Florence, Venice, and Istanbul) that the film takes place in. Cinematographer Salvatore Totino perfectly captures the striking architecture and cityscapes to the point where the cinematography is just as beautiful as the classical art depicted in the film. Unfortunately, Howard takes Koepp’s underwhelming plot and compounds it with such a laid-back pace that the film can feel like an eternity before it gets interesting again.

But Tom Hanks is the sole reason to why Inferno is as decent as it is. As always, Hanks completely dives into this role and with that dedication, he’s able to elevate the material. It truly is a delight to watch the loveable Hanks race against time and solve puzzles along the way. Felicity Jones is spunky as Langdon’s accomplice but is very one-dimensional in the role. Irrfan Khan is by far the most interesting character in the film with Khan playing Harry Sims with such mysteriousness that you just gravitate towards his character. Both Hanks and Khan offers the film some spark. Unfortunately, Omar Sy is misused here as his character’s subplot doesn’t directly affect the overall storyline. Thus, his character needlessly extends the film more than it needed to.

Overall, Inferno is a beautifully shot film featuring fine performances by Tom Hanks and Irrfan Khan. Unfortunately, the rest of the film isn’t as good. Inferno is a shallow, yet convoluted film that leaves the Robert Langdon series at its lowest point. Hopefully, if they ever adapt “The Lost Symbol,” that they can recapture the thrill and spectacle of The Da Vinci Code.

Movie Review: 2.5/5 atoms

Video

Inferno is presented in a 2160P HEVC H.265 encoded video with HDR and a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. With Inferno, Sony took the 2K masters and upscaled it to 4K. Although some 4K upscale efforts softened up the edges of films, Inferno is one of the better-looking transfers I’ve seen yet. HDR, once again, slightly brings out elements of a video that is missing from regular Blu-ray releases. The highlights are nice and bright while the black levels are inky and deep. Thanks to HDR there is zero loss of detail in the shadowy areas. The colors are richer and provide the film with more depth and nuance. The colors just look natural throughout the film. Overall, Inferno takes everything that was great about the regular Blu-ray transfer and slightly improves on it. These improvements are noticeable but they’re more of the subtle variety. Despite all that, it’s definitely an incredible transfer.

Video Review: 4.5/5 atoms

Audio

Inferno Ultra HD Blu-ray is presented in the Dolby Atmos format, but it is also presented in the core Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Master Audio track and the regular Blu-ray is presented in a DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track. The review will reflect Inferno‘s core Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Master Audio track from the Ultra HD Blu-ray. Inferno’s audio presentation is where the additional UHD price tag shows its worth. It’s by far the biggest upgrade over the regular Blu-ray and provides the most immersive experience. The front, surround and rear surround channels get a lot of use as there are quite a few directional effects in this presentation. Even during the quieter moments, these speakers give an ambient soundstage through the sounds of the city or through Hans Zimmer’s score. The amazing thing is that with all the activity coming through the other speakers, the dialogue never gets lost in the front channel. Overall, the UHD 7.1 audio presentation provides a richer and fuller experience than the regular Blu-ray 5.1 experience. Truly worth the extra price tag.

Audio Review: 5/5 atoms

Special Features

Inferno‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc doesn’t have any special features in it, but the regular Blu-ray contains the following special features:

  • Extended & Deleted Scenes
  • Visions of Hell
  • Inferno Around the World
  • A Look at Langdon
  • This Is Sienna Brooks
  • The Billionaire Villain: Bertrand Zobrist
  • Ron Howard, a Director’s Journal

Although there are a lot of deleted and extended scenes provided, these scenes do not really add or improve the film. It basically just focuses on the action in the film. “Visions of Hell” is the most interesting featurette in the film because it focuses on bringing the iconic imagery of “Dante’s Divine Comedy” to the screen. It’s interesting to see Ron Howard’s thoughts into creating something disturbing and something completely different than what he’s used to. “Inferno Around the World” showcases the diverse cast which is intriguing if you’re into that kind of information. “A Look at Langdon,” “This is Sienna Brooks,” and “The Billionaire Villain: Bertrand Zobrist” are fine mini-featurettes highlighting Dan Brown, Felicity Jones’ character, and Ben Foster’s character, respectively. Lastly, “Ron Howard, a Director’s Journal” is just a 10-minute look at Ron Howard talking about filmmaking, Inferno, the cast, and social media. This featurette is a bit tiresome but if you want an inside look into Ron Howard’s mind then here you go.

Special Features Review: 3.5/5 atoms


Overall, Inferno is a wasted effort considering the cast and creative forces involved. The UHD video presentation is the best I’ve seen in my limited exposure to the world of Ultra HD, and the audio presentation is phenomenally immersive. There are quite a few interesting featurettes to be found on the regular Blu-ray but nothing that’s too exciting.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

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