Tag Archives: Inferno

My Top 10 film moments of 2016

I’ve missed a few of the major films this year (notably Arrival slipped by me) so instead of doing a top 5 films I’ve instead decided to pick out my favourite moments from films this year, as even the weaker blockbusters like Dawn of Justice had their moments. Enjoy.

Warning: Minor Spoilers for Fantastic Beasts and Rogue One, Major Spoilers for Batman vs Superman.

10. Jacob and Queenie (Fantastic Beasts) While Newt and Tina were the lifeblood of the film, Jacob and Queenie stole every scene they were in and were undoubtedly its soul, and their pairing was both sweet and believable. Jacob’s smile at the end when Queenie strolls into his bakery and seemingly restores his memory is the icing on the cake for arguably two of the best characters JK Rowling has given us. They better be back in the sequels!

9. Wolverine’s Cameo (X:Men Apocalypse) The X-men series is always accused of over-using Wolverine, and somewhat ironically, his best two appearances have now been cameos (him telling Xavier and Magneto to fuck off in First Class and here, where Wolverine’s psychopathic rampage through Stryker’s bunker reminds us of just how badass/terrifying/awesome the character is). Hugh Jackman now is so intrinsically associated with the character I doubt anyone else will be able to play him for a good 20 years (and they shouldn’t, hopefully next year’s Logan is a worthy send-off to both the character and the actor). Anyway, while Apocalypse was a very fun movie, this was the sequence that will stick in my mind the most.

8.Doomsday battle (Dawn of Justice) Doomsday may have had a completely different origin from the comics, but his threat level was actually genuinely impressive for a superhero film in 2016 (he wasn’t easily beaten in 5 mins in a final confrontation – looking at you Enchantress in Suicide Squad and Kaecilius in Doctor Strange!!!) as Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman team up to stop him and barely survive… and Superman doesn’t. We all know he’ll be back in some form for Justice League but his heroic sacrifice, backed by Hans Zimmer’s haunting ‘This is My World’ still made this a very emotional moment. Also nice to see a superhero film where not every hero makes it out alive (basically EVERY MARVEL FILM EVER apart from X-men), bold move DC, bold move. Even if the first half of the film was a total mess, you did nail the ending.

7. Inside the Case (Fantastic Beasts) The beasts were appropriately the centrepiece of the film, from the cheeky niffler to the amorous Erumpent to the magnificent Thunderbird, with those and many others stunningly showcased in the heartwarming sequence where Next shows Jacob around the inside of his travelling case where he keeps the animals for their own protection. A very sweet interlude in this loveable film.

6.Vader Returns and Kicks Ass (Rogue One) After the tremendous battle of Scarif sequence, Rogue One could have easily ended as the Death Star opened fire. But it didn’t, instead giving us the best scene with Darth Vader since ‘No, I am your father’. Vader’s first scene in the film where he threatens Krennic was tense/awesome in its own right, but the second is full-on terrifying as Vader is unleashed on a group of rebels and scythes through them with brutal ease. It might be the best 40 seconds of cinema in 2016, hell maybe ever. If it wasn’t so short a scene it would have been much higher up the list, but still, damn that that was awesome!

5. The Fight in the Cistern (Inferno) Inferno may have been a relatively weak film, but was saved by its riveting climax as a betrayed Langdon allies with the WHO to try and stop a viral breakout in a cistern in Istanbul. Hans Zimmer’s superb track ‘Cistern’ really makes this a heart-stopper and the divergence from the book really leaves you with no clue how it will play out as Langdon and co fight with Zobrist’s extremists. Hell of an action scene.

4. Everything K2 does (Rogue One) K2 was easily the best character in Rogue One (not that that was easy or anything) and made the film sassier and more hilarious that I’d have ever expected it would be. His constant deadpan humour and the brutal way he took down imperial soldiers were the icing on the cake in one of the best films of the year.

3. Airport Battle (Captain America: Civil War) Civil War was the best superhero film of the year, and its highlight was the fight between Team Cap and Team Iron Man in a deserted airport, which was both highly amusing and seriously cool. Spidey and Ant-Man arguably stole the show, but every character got a chance to shine even if, as usual with Marvel, there weren’t really any lives at stake here. Still, this was a high point of an excellent film – shame they bottled out on giving it a memorable ending afterwards, but still, perfect popcorn cinema here.

2. Batman takes down Superman (Dawn of Justice) Despite the controversial way the fight ended with the whole ‘Martha’ scene, the fight itself between the two giants of the DC universe was the high point of the film. Batman uses a state of the art battlesuit and some Kryptonite gas-grenades to not only pose a genuine threat to superman, but after a titanic struggle, actually beats him. The whole ‘Man VS God’ thing the film was going for paid off beautifully here, even if the film as a whole still has a wealth of problems, this scene alone was worth it.

1. The Battle of Scarif (Rogue One) Wow. Now that is how you do a finale! The battle between the Rebels and the Empire had everything: awesome visuals, high stakes, tension and good direction. An epic way to cap off the first Star Wars spin-off film and without doubt the best sequence in film this year. Well done Gareth Edwards, Felicity Jones et al, this was simply amazing!

I’ve seen a fair few films that don’t have appearances here (Deadpool, Star Trek Beyond, Doctor Strange etc.) but I couldn’t think of any stand-out moments in those films – they are entertaining throughout, but there aren’t any moments of greatness. Suicide Squad was too poor to merit a place here, and I haven’t seen many other films this year, so there may be some omissions.

My Film Awards 2016:

Best Film: Rogue One
Best Director: Gareth Edwards (Rogue One)
Best Script: Captain America Civil War
Best Special Effects: Doctor Strange
Best Soundtrack: James Newton Howard(Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them)
Best Actress: Felicity Jones (Inferno/Rogue One)
Best Actor: Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Best Voice Actor: Alan Tudyk (Rogue One)
Worst Actor: Jesse Eisenberg (Dawn of Justice)
Worst Actress: Holly Hunter (Dawn of Justice)
Worst Script: Suicide Squad
Worst Director: David Ayer (Suicide Squad)
Worst Soundtrack: Suicide Squad
Worst Film: Suicide Squad (noticing a pattern here? Well done DC…)

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Inferno Review

Inferno starring Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Ben Foster and Irfan Khan

Warning: Minor Spoilers (but nothing big – I’m only going to comment in detail on stuff shown in the trailers)

I’m a long time fan of the Langdon series (books and films). They’re not necessarily great literature or cinema, but they are captivating mystery-thrillers which pull the great trick of grounding outlandish (yet somehow believable) plotlines in historical settings by clever use of real locations, institutions and artwork.

To recap, in the series so far we’ve had the Da Vinci Code (a temperate but clever film) following Langdon’s effort to expose a centuries old Church conspiracy, and Angels and Demons (a more pulsating thrill-ride) as he races to stop an illuminati plot to destroy Vatican city. Inferno is much closer to the latter in terms of style and plotline, except the stakes are even higher in this one as Langdon races to prevent a potential viral outbreak designed to kill 50% of the world’s population. This rests on his ability to decipher clues hidden in various pieces of artwork relating to Dante’s Inferno (the poem from which we get our modern view of Hell) while dealing with hallucinations and retro-grade amnesia that prevent him from remembering who he can trust.

First off, the good bits. Director Ron Howard shows he still knows his stuff (his experience on the thrilling film Rush shines through here), most notably in Langdon’s hallucinations at the beginning and the thrilling final set-piece. Hans Zimmer, the composer for the first two films, delivers arguably his most inventive score for the third film, which is continually sublime throughout even when the film itself falters. Felicity Jones is simply amazing as Langdon’s ally and Dante obsessive Sienna Brooks – whose performance is arguably the high point of the film (and makes me even more excited for Rogue One where she plays the lead). Irfan Khan is also very good value as ‘The Provost’ the head of a shadowy organisation who has been hiding the man who (unbeknownst to them) created the Inferno virus. The man in question is billionaire Bertrand Zobrist, who makes for an unusual/interesting villain in that 1. he believes his terrorist act is for the greater good as it will save humanity from destroying itself due to overpopulation and 2. he commits suicide within the first 5 minutes of the film (can you imagine the villain in a bond film doing that?), leaving it unclear till the mid-point of the film who is acting on Zobrist’s behalf.

Unfortunately the film has its weak points. While Tom Hanks’ performance is as good as you’d expect third time around, Langdon is largely sidelined for much of the film (especially in the first half) in favour of Sienna and the supporting cast. He is carried along by the narrative rather than contributing to it – there’s no ‘solving the cryptex’ or ‘saving a drowning cardinal’ equivalent where Langdon ultimately saves the day. In the first half especially things are a bit too easy for him to solve. The main reason for this is how much of the book gets cut in the film adaptation – the film tries to include all the major bits but rushes through the various locations so quickly you don’t see the point of some of them.

While The Da Vinci Code kept 90% true to the book and Angels and Demons masterfully re-organised the plot to edit the lacklustre opening third of the book out, Inferno changes too much and thus will probably confuse and infuriate any fans of the novel. I won’t mention specifics, but character motivations and fates get altered, sub-plots that weren’t in the book are added for no clear reason and the break-neck pace of the film loses a lot of the tension that made the book so memorable (Inferno is my personal favourite of the four novels, just edging out Angels and Demons). The book was genuinely unsettling in places with it’s Dante inspired imagery of hell and some seriously worrying messages about human overpopulation – the film tones down the former (presumably to get an unecessary 12a rating) and the latter is drowned out by the film’s focus on other parts of the narrative.

Overall Inferno has some great performances, a fantastic score from Hans Zimmer and a thrilling second half. But changes from the book and a curiously short run-time cause the first half to be a very weak endeavour. Once Zobrist’s villainous associate is revealed, the film gets a shot in the arm that makes it still worth watching. But it is probably the weakest film in the series – or at least the same level as Da Vinci Code.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Coming soon: My reviews of Luke Cage, Red Dwarf Season 11 and the incoming Doctor Strange film…

To put in context how well the series as a whole matches up to the books, here are my ratings for Inferno, Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons.

Da Vinci Code: Film (3/5), Book (3.5/5)

Angels and Demons: Film (4/5), Book (4/5)

Inferno: Film (3/5), Book (4.5/5)

As you can see, Inferno is the first film to fall seriously short of the book it was based on. I’d recommend you all read the book – its bloody brilliant.