Sunday, January 26, 2014

FROM THE ASHES: Segment # 17

Death, Destruction, and Hell

Ah, Dante. A master poet, writer of the magnificent work The Divine Comedy, & a significant contributor to the master pieces of literature. Well, not here folks! This self dubbed "animated epic" is based on EA's 2010 hack and slash video game, Dante's Inferno; which took a very liberal approach to their adaptation of the classic masterwork. Considered a decently successful production, and most noted for its visually impressive stylization of the levels of hell; a feature film adaptation was bound to follow. Released as a direct to video feature simultaneously with the video game, this project was a grand collaborative effort. Multiple studios worked on the film, including: Production I.G., Film Roman, JM Animation, Manglobe, and Dong Woo. Similar to projects such as Gotham Knight or the Animatrix, multiple directors were in charge of a section of the film; each customized to the directors particular vision. The directors are: Shukou Murase, Yasuomi Umetsu, Mike Disa, Victor Cook, Jong-Sik Nam, Sang-Jin Kim, Lee Seung-Gyu. I particularly chose this to review because I enjoy the opportunity of a Japanese, Korean, and United States collaboration. Now, keep in mind while this is all pretty great sounding, this film is in no way for the squeamish, similar to the video game. It gets pretty crazy. So let's try and wrestle this beast.

Geez this film is graphic; but in multiple ways. First off, its stunningly detailed and mesmerizing to behold with each chapter. But daaaamn is it also stomach churning, gorey, creepy, perverse, and downright gross as well. Then again, so is the video game, so if you've played that, you'll pretty much know what's coming your way. Still, with any film versus game, you'll have a lot more time to stare at the surroundings then one does while playing a video game. This adaptation takes out much of the philosophical, spiritual, and romantic notions and concepts focused on in the original poem, and greatly focuses on beating the shit out of literally...everything. Even babies are freaking demonic hell spawn that need to be butchered. Need I say again; not for the squeamish, and probably not what one would consider showing to the family, hahaha. As for those who are looking for a glorified gore fest, this is definitely for you. The fluid movements and over the top action sequences are insane. Insanely cool, that is. The plot, while deluded greatly from its roots, is a solid quest: save the girl, kill everything in your way. And here, it works. Were it not for the watchful eye of his guide, the warrior would not have easily traversed his destined path. There is still the occasional verse of wonder and wisdom, so a sufficient balance to keep the pacing of the plot is maintained successfully. Add the occasional quip, and one has the recipe for this film's success. All around, I'd call this a haunting, gripping, and truly epic visualization. With an eerie and grand score, & a great cast for all three languages, one can't really go wrong here. I have predominantly watched this in English; which is by no means dissatisfactory. English cast members include: Graham McTavish, Vanessa Branch (both leads also in the video game), Peter Jessop, and Steve Blum as the loquacious Lucifer. Thus, in conclusion I would say if you're up for a wild ride through hell, then this is for you. If gore and gallantry is not your bag, then this film isn't going to change that. Still, this is a dark and grand adventure, and not want to miss. Enjoy!

From The Ashes, V.~

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