Dante's Inferno Blu-ray Review

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by Mark Botwright Feb 11, 2010 at 12:00 AM

  • Movies review

    Dante's Inferno Blu-ray Review
    SRP: £21.69


    Animatics - 1080p - 11:32 (total)

    Comprised of five sequences; “Beatrice chase”, “Charon”, “Dante stabs Farinata”, “Francesco fight” and “Lust minions”. These are storyboard sections showing the early artwork played out whilst some sound effects from the final movie are running in conjunction. It is interesting to see the differing styles that the directors took even at this sketch stage but other than that there is not much information to be gleaned from these segments.

    EA game trailers - 1080p - 2:15

    A trailer (so I have no idea why they chose to pluralize the title of this feature) for the videogame Dante's Inferno.


    Dante's Inferno was never likely to go down as a classic. Being based on a videogame that itself has had some unfavourable comparisons made with regards better examples of the medium, this was always going to be limited in its appeal. However, if you can look past the disregard that is shown to the original source material and view it simply as a tie-in to the videogame then there is much to be said for it. Giving fans of animated horror all the staples they crave and throwing in just enough depth to allow for some much needed plot in between the carnage, it has managed to crawl away from its poor beginnings and become quite a good example of enjoyably gory anime.

    The disc itself does what it can to show off this limited material to the best of its ability, with both audio and visual standards remaining fairly high throughout. The lack of extras is a little disappointing, considering how often animations on disc allow us a glimpse behind the scenes of the artistic process, but this doesn't detract greatly considering the key areas of picture and sound are well catered for. It won't be to everyone's tastes, but if you like your animations dark and bloody and don't demand too much from the plot then you may well be pleasantly surprised.


    Dante's Inferno comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p resolution encoded using the AVC codec and framed within a 1.78:1 aspect ratio.

    For a straight to disc release, things are surprisingly rosy when viewing the visual presentation of this film. The animation itself was extremely competent, with the mix of CG elements and more organic drawings blending well. Just about every part of this picture is as one would expect it to have been intended. There are moments when the delineation may appear to waver, with some objects having noticeably thinning or almost nonexistent borders, yet just when you may conceive of judging these moments harshly, something will pop up in the foreground of the same frame that is perfectly defined with crisp outlines. The shifting of artistic styles really does make the job of critiquing this element of the disc no easier.

    The hazy early scenes appear blurred but this is merely another manipulation of the image intended for creative purposes. There are a myriad of different effects used for weather conditions and heat hazes that swirl in the frame which muddy the waters of scrutinising the picture, yet to my eye they all seem perfectly well executed and hide no signs of obvious flaws in this image. The texture detail beneath these many effects is also of a high standard, with the craggy rock surfaces and metallic weaponry all brought to life with clear variations and lacking the monotonous nature of some similar animations.

    Colours, like the rest of the picture, shift in nature from segment to segment as each new director favours a slightly different palette, yet the boldness of the primaries and in particular the colour red remain a constant. This precedence is hardly surprising, as one would expect as much from any horror title, with blood being the main use of this primary colour. Here it has a boldness that cuts through even the hazy effects well and this crimson theme underpins much of the action. The only minor quibble would be a touch of banding, but this was always likely to raise its head somewhere along the way with an animation that uses swathes of shades that vary with some delicacy. Overall this doesn't detract from a fine example of animation that is vivid and subtle in the right places.


    There is only one sound option available on this disc, that being an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track.

    The first aspect of this mix that immediately strikes the listener will be that of the introductory monologue. The voice that imparts the story is deep in tone and the bass from the masculine timbre can almost be felt. Some may feel that this is a sign of a noticeable imbalance, as the tones push forward and make one feel that this will be a front heavy display, yet I found it to be perfectly in keeping with the stylings of the film, this important information taking precedence and lending a gravitas to it. Speech in general is handled extremely well by this mix, with no instances of muffled dialogue with conversations, even in the bowels of Hell, being clear throughout. Some of this credit must go to the voice actors themselves, as they often enunciate in a manner one would associate with a Shakespearean thespian, but the mix still has to handle what is put before it.

    Dante's voice may contain deep tones but unfortunately there is little here that will make your subwoofer spring alive and truly test itself. The rigours of the underworld may have seemed the perfect place for low rumblings but they are noticeable only by their absence here. The LFE helps with a little of the heft but there are no standout moments of a seat shaking nature. Thankfully the surround speakers fare somewhat better, with all the caterwauling and wailing associated with Hell emanating from around the listener and enveloping them in an infernal bubble. Screams may seem imbalanced against the dialogue as Virgil and Dante continue conversations whilst figures writhe in agony all about them, but the very point of these scenes is to place these elements at the forefront of the viewer's mind, a constant droning distraction rather than muzak in the background. Much like the image, the sound maintains a high standard and ticks most of the boxes. It is not the most complex mix, but it stays clear and natural sounding whilst allowing the atmosphere to build in a layered fashion.
    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £21.69

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