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|Index||14 reviews in total|
I saw this film at the Huntington Beach Film Festival in April 2007, and I loved it! Sandow Birk has an amazing ability to modernize classics, and his adaptation of the Divine Comedy is a prime example. I was delighted to see that he still isn't afraid to use popular culture in his work (as evidenced by the many food chains displayed blatantly in the background sets). Anyone could have made a half-decent film adaptation of the Inferno, but Birk and his crew went above and beyond to display innovation and creativity. I've never seen a puppet show on film, but this film manages to employ humor with a modern twist, without sacrificing the details of Dante's work. Really well done. Granted, this film will not please all audiences and I would be surprised to see it anywhere other than indie-theaters or film fests, but if you have an opportunity to see this, take it!
If you haven't read Dante's INFERNO (part 1 of THE DIVINE COMEDY), you
should. And once you have, you should check on this delightfully
innovative spin on that classic tale.
This isn't the INFERNO as Dante wrote it. Dante has been completely modernized; Hell resembles Los Angeles, the punishments aren't quite what you remember, and the people populating Hell are now familiar faces (Ronald Reagan, Strom Thurmond, Condoleeza Rice). There's also a good dose of Monty Python and Mike Judge in the black humor that drenches every scene.
And while the take has its own novelty, what really elevates the film from good to great is the consistently enjoyable animation. The use of hand-operated paper cut-out puppets is wonderful. The care that has gone into crafting the sets and characters themselves is quite impressive indeed.
I just finished watching this on DVD and have to say it was an interesting experience. I have been a watcher of animation and a reader of classic books, but to see the two combined in such an unusual manner was well... refreshing. I love the fact that the movie was an updated telling of Inferno. I think that the retelling of the original would be lost to most moviegoers, heck unless you happen to be a historian specializing in the day and age of Dante, you would probably be scratching your head at obscure Italian politicos of the 13th century. That's why footnotes are lovely in books. The film seemed to carry the same spirit of the book, in that it was a rousing social and political poem. But it does carry a strong leftist theme that most conservatives would rather not endure. The look of the film is, to me, very fresh and amazing. The amount of work and care in the puppetry is spectacular. If you are open to a new experience of an old tale give it a try.
You never know what you're going to get with an independent film...Even
one that's "won awards." I'm pleased to say that this film both
entertained and impressed me visually. The art style had me nervous at
first, but as the film progressed it was clear that these filmmakers
put a lot of effort into the look of the film.
Of course, you should know this film has no insights to speak of. This gives a very surface-level account of the inferno...which I read once 8 years ago, and still remember details this film left out. The film basically defines each level, provides one or two examples, and moves on. History and philosophy aside, the film does well to keep things low-key, and uses that to their comedic advantage wisely. The film is never laugh-out-loud funny, but it definitely aims to be a comedy.
I wasn't watching this movie for a thought-provoking film, I was just looking for a visually entertaining movie, and it was.
I had been flipping through the channels and I saw a preview for this movie and I thought it looked very interesting so I watched it and fell in love with it. I went out and bought the modern version of the book. I loved the art work in the book and being an artist myself I decided to draw a few pieces based on the art in the book. I latter went back to watch the movie again and found that almost all of the sets (backgrounds) were almost identical to the artwork in the book and the banter between Dante and Virgil was about the same also (although the movie is MUCH more humorous) I think it's a great modern spin on the old classic.
Yes, this is a puppet show. Yes, the puppets are kind of cheesy, hand-drawn paper animated with visible sticks. You know what? It fits. The art design is really interesting. Seeing Hell represented as an allegory of a crowded urban city is very interesting. They do a very good job of mapping (mostly) outdated "sins" to modern ones. If you liked the original poem, or even better Larry Niven and Jerry Pournell's novel "Inferno" than you'll enjoy this movie. To those that say it mocks Dante's beliefs, well, most of the people he populated hell with were political enemies, either contemporaneous or historical, and in those terms the source material could be seen as less about his vision of the afterlife and more a book of schadenfreude celebrating his enemies downfall. Funny how his allies with similar flaws as his enemies mostly wound up in Purgatory. I hope they consider making both Purgatorio and Paradiso.
Having read the Inferno of Dante's works, it can become a bit stale
with all of the adaptations and re-adaptations. The video game based on
the works was okay but limited only to the horror/action genre that it
had set itself up to be. I find this take on the classic to be NOT
watered down, but a modern interpretation that a layman can view and
perhaps be inspired to look more into it.
All of the snobs that say that it's dumbed down apparently don't realize that very old classic literature--especially ones with heavy religious themes--don't click with everyone and can appear on the surface as holier-than-thou to a modern reader. With this film the basics of not only the horrors of Hell and Dante's enduring love for Beatrice (which would probably seem obsessive and maudlin for today's audience) are presented in a digestible way. I was already acquainted with the Circles of Hell even before watching this film, but making parallels and connections to what I knew and the "updated" version of it proved to be just as entertaining as if I came knowing little about the source material.
It was a good modern take on "Inferno" and delivered well. Often movies
of Inferno are tedious, but this kept me interested without straying
from the text too much. You've got a Dante walking around in a hoodie
in a big city through the levels of hell. He and Virgil meander through
airport security, strip malls and less desirable parts of a modern
city. The punished souls of presidents, politicians, popes and
pop-culture icons are sentenced to eternal suffering of the most
unusual kind. The two dimensional paper characters tell the story in a
simplistic yet imaginative way. The artistry matches the level of
entertainment in the storyline.
I am disappointed that I cannot find it for sale or anywhere to stream.
Warner Bros.'s is talking about making a movie of Dante's Inferno. I'm hoping that they don't screw it up like 90% of the movies that come out of Hollywood. Lets try not to be cutting edge about it. Stay from the video game version of it. This was one of the best film version that was ever done. It had a modern twist yet kept the spirit of the book. As of right now all I can see is over bloated CGs and some bad acting. Tim Bruton would be able to pull it off. Please Please no more M Night Shyamalan. That one trick pony died years ago. Side note: NO MORE SPIDERMAN MOVIE!! Uncle Ben was the lucky one, He got to die in the beginning and did not have to watch any of them.
A group of young filmmakers with virtually no budget set out to make
something clever and original -- and while there is a bit of
originality and some skilled drawing in this slacker puppet show take
on "Dante's Inferno," there is nothing especially clever. Dante's
"Divine Comedy" was a brilliant piece of social commentary. This film
is a vaguely moralistic student film with pretensions to High Art.
I suspect those who loved this film were those readily amused by the sophomoric pokes at some icons of the political and/or religious right, and that those who hated it took offense at seeing their favored icons poked. Be that as it may, few of those pokes actually rose to the level of satire.
The high point of the movie is a sudden outbreak of "Schoolhouse Rock" on the subject of lobbying and the "revolving door." It's really a shame that the entire film couldn't have been a musical. That would have stripped away a great deal of the annoying film school pretentiousness and added a far stronger element of fun.
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