Inferno Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Good plot points quickly devolve into puzzle solving dilemmas
The greatest sins in human history were committed in the name of loveInferno reunites Ron Howard and Tom Hanks in another of Dan Brown’s novels where world renowned symbologist Robert Langdon is called upon, once again, to save the day. This time around though, Langdon is working in the dark being unable to rely on his remarkable memory as he is suffering from amnesia after being attacked. Luckily his doctor, Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones) is just as adept and together they race to save humanity from a pandemic by stopping the release of a deadly pathogen hidden by billionaire Bertrand Zobrist a megalomaniac convinced that the only way to save the human race is to drastically reduce the population.It’s pretty much ‘business and usual’ and although the twist of Langdon being unreliable due to his memory loss starts out as a good plot point, the film very quickly devolves into a puzzle solving dilemma as per the previous instalments, albeit this time the stakes are much higher. However, the whole thing is rather pedestrian and ordinary with a huge dose of ‘but why?’ thrown in. The dramatic changes to the outcome from the book (from Jones’s character to the virus itself) do nothing to enhance the film (you could argue they’re worse) while Howard’s normally reliable direction becomes obvious and trite. Sadly a miss in my book.
Picture QualityInferno was filmed digitally using both Arri Alexa XT and Red Epic Dragon cameras, with resolutions at 3.4K and 6K respectively, but was unbelievably finished using a 2K Digital Intermediate (DI), which presumably formed the basis for this Ultra HD Blu-ray release (poor show considering the sequels have both been scanned and presented at 4K). The film was upscaled to 3840 x 2160p and presented in widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The disc uses 10-bit video depth, a Wider Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR), and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec. We reviewed the Region free UK UltraHD Blu-ray release of Inferno on a Panasonic 65DX902B Ultra HD 4K TV with a Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
The image is an absolute corker
Well, it may only be an up-scaled 2K DI, but this image is a corker, topping the 1080 image at every turn. Detail is sublime from close up skin texture (check out Langdon’s wounds at in the hospital) to the many establishing cityscape shots – talking of which these do look exceptionally impressive even scrutinised at close quarters! The stonework of buildings also looks wonderfully rich and textured. The image is perceptibly clearer than the (included) Full HD Blu-ray.
But it is once again up to HDR and WCG to significantly boost the picture beyond that of any 1080 image. Colours are incredibly deep and meaningful, reds fair particularly well (check out the stained water in the climax). Skin tone is very natural, while skies and pavements/buildings are beautiful. The HDR gives rise to a suitably deep set of blacks that add a further dimension to the picture, while the whites are clear, bright and in some cases (particularly the Columbia Logo) blinding.
Digitally there are no issues and the source is as clean as a whistle; the whole image is a step up from Full HD.
Sound QualitySimon Crust reviews the Dolby TrueHD track on a traditional 5.1 surround System – Just like the picture this surround track is equally as impressive! Right from the off, during Langdon’s fragmented memory at the beginning of the film, there is a wonderful sense of disorientation as effects circulate the room and varying volumes. Once things settle down, the track makes full use of the surround speakers to add ambience and effects to every scene, be it running in the streets or calmly discussing the next move. Dialogue is always clear and precise, sounding very natural and given directionality when requited. The score fills the room making full use of the speakers and the dynamic range, while bass is tight, controlled but limitless. LF effects occur throughout and will make bass hounds very happy.
The superb Dolby Atmos soundtrack really compliments the impressive visuals
Steve Withers reviewed the Dolby Atmos soundtrack on a 7.2.4-channel setup – The Dolby Atmos soundtrack really delivers the goods in terms of immersing you in the film's narrative. The opening chase is full of atmospheric cues that gives the action greater ambience and added realism whilst Langdon's bouts of disorientation and hallucinations are delivered with a dizzy sense of disorientation thanks to the addition of overhead channels. The sound designers make full use of the object-based nature of Dolby Atmos to give the buildings and streets of Florence a real sense of environment. They also use the LFE channel to underscore the plot and give impact to certain certain scenes with plenty of bass energy, whilst effects are steered with remarkable precision. Dialogue remains clear and focused throughout and the Hans Zimmer score weaves in amongst the rest of the mix to great effect, spreading across the front soundstage. Overall it's a superb Dolby Atmos mix that really compliments the impressive visuals.
ExtrasDisc 1 – Ultra HD Blu-ray
Stills – Cast and crew images
Moments – Excerpts from the film under named titles
Disc 2 – Full HD Blu-ray
Deleted and Extended Scenes – For an impressive run time of nearly thirty minutes there are a number of extra character beats, a number of extended scenes and some extra action, none of which impact on the film itself.
Ron Howard A Director's Journal – Ten minutes with the director as he discusses various topics including locations, scene construction, cast, crew and social media.
A Look at Langdon – Six minutes looking at the protagonist’s evolution over three films with contributions from Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, Dan Brown and David Koepp.
The Billionaire Villain: Bertrand Zobrist – Five minutes discussing this films antagonist with Ben Foster, Ron Howard, Dan Brown and David Koepp.
This is Sienna Brooks – Six minutes with the female lead, in much the same vein as above, this time with Felicity Jones, Ron Howard, Dan Brown, David Koepp and Tom Hanks.
Inferno around the World – Slightly more substantial at thirteen minutes, but still full of fluff, this feature looks at the diversity of casting through the eyes of those playing the major characters.
Visions of Hell – Five minutes overview on the making of the film, with contributions from Ron Howard, Dan Brown, (visual effects supervisor) Jody Johnson and star Tom Hanks.
Disc 3 - Bonus Blu-ray Disc
The Overpopulation Debate featurette – A frank ten minute discussion about this increasing problem relatable to real events as seen through the book and film before looking at more diverse subjects such as pollution and sustainble energy and food, with contributions from Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, Dan Brown and world experts.
Through Hell and Back: Dante's Enduring Influence featurette – Again, using the film as a starting point the cast and crew discuss Dante’s imagery, relationships, ideas and theology relating it back to the novel, film and general populous, with similar contributions in this 10 minute feature.
Odd disc this, no menu, no options, just plug in and play; chapter stop is the next feature otherwise its play-all only.
Ultra HD Blu-ray VerdictInferno reunites Ron Howard, Tom Hanks, David Keopp and Hans Zimmerman in Dan Brown’s fourth novel, where symbologist Robert Langdon, this time suffering from amnesia, is called upon to save the day. Unfortunately, the resulting film is let down by a pedestrian plot, changes from the book that probably hurt it and some rather obvious direction. It's a shame because the two previous Langdon films were enjoyable right on target but Inferno misses the mark.
Awesome release for a ordinary film
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release from Sony, however, is fantastic with a solid picture that belies its 2K DI origins to be wonderfully detailed, bright and colourful, and a step up from the 1080 Blu-ray in every regard. While the Dolby Atmos soundtrack is another triumph of design, with effects and bass that places you firmly in the centre of the action. Had it not been for the bonus disc, the extra features would have been a write off with nothing but promotional fluff, but the added value of the deleted scenes and the (bonus) two featurettes add some much needed meat.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £23.99
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