Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic was released back in february 9 of 2010, based on Electronic Arts hit game Dante’s Inferno (yeah i know, God of War clone, blah blah, don’t really care). Alot of people were involved in this movie release, eight companies and six different directors that seems to be amalgamated, stitched together just like Dante’s cross… something that looks interesting as a concept but doesn’t mix so well in the final product, but i will elaborate on that later.
Dante returns from the holy crusade to find his family was murdered and his beloved wife in the verge of death, as she dies Dante can see her soul ascend to heaven but demons interfere taking her to hell.
Dante ventures to hell himself to rescue his beloved wife Beatrice, destined not only to confront the many dangers of hell, but to discover how his own sins caused the suffering of many that ended condemned for eternity.
Watched the english dub and have to say i really enjoyed it, by the most part voice and effects was good with the voices of Graham McTavish and Mark Hamill, wish they added more moans and yells from tortured souls in the back, could have given the movie an even more creepy atmosphere.
The overall animation is quite good, at the beginning the designs and animation are excellent, something that undoubtedly will hook the viewer, as the movie progresses the animation and character design changes, from best to worst you could say. Im afraid to say the last circles of hell have a character design and animation rather poor, alas.
What they did Right
The anime accomplishes bringing about the universe of the videogame to the anime, giving us a very gritty, gory, scary and dark vision of hell itself. Starting for how demons stitch a cross in Dante’s chest to how souls are eternally tormented in the different circles of hell. Unborn and aborted babies, gluttony, anger and suicide being some of the most controvertial and interesting topics and circles shown in the movie.
The way in which they talk about Dante’s Christian values, as he committed several sins in God’s name gives the viewer something to think about. Especially in how we choose to judge right from wrong based on our beliefs and vision of the world.
What they did Wrong
As i commented in the begining of the review, they decided to go for something similar as the Animatrix by giving different directors liberty to portrait the Dante’s Inferno universe in their own style and vision, either in a sort of homage or as an experiment that is not clear to me. But i feel it doesn’t mix to well in the end.
Let me explain, The Animatrix was a series of standalone shorts, none of them related to the others, showing us the vision of the Matrix universe from different views and art styles, as such that works and is truly interesting to watch.
In the case of Dante’s Inferno, this is one feature film and jumping from one style to another each circle of hell had the opposite effect. Just when you are used to one style, the next circle changes not only the style but also the way the characters are designed and drawn by the different artists.
For example the first 2 circles depict a Dante that’s loyal and faithful to that one from the video game, amazing animation and quality designs. But as Dante moves forward to the deeper circles of hell we see a Dante on medieval steroids and even a deformed, almost chubby Dante in the final battle (which was disappointing compared to the battles in the first circles), wouldn’t be that bad if the directors could use the same designs instead of portraying armors and weapons that didn’t match the video game lore at all, not to mention animation quality decreased a lot in the final circle of hell which was the least scariest of them all.
Dante’s Inferno is quite enjoyable, even if you are not a fan of the video game it’s a film i recommend anime fans to watch. Due the nature of the topics and the gritty atmosphere of the film i do not recommend it for a younger audience, especially if your children are easily impressionable.
Certainly the anime is not perfect as designs and animation could have been better in some parts but in the end delivers a very nice adaptation of the video game that will please both, fans and people who never played the game. If you want to see the film, you can watch it for free and completely legal in the YouTube page of Manga Entertainment.
Overall im giving this anime a 6.5 out of 10, definitely not bad but could have been much better.