This movie had everything going for it: Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, and Dan Brown. Seriously, how do you mix those up and get such a horrible movie? I've been a fan of Tom Hanks movies forever, especially when Ron Howard is the director. And as cheesy as they may be, Dan Brown's books are very entertaining. Although, I have to admit that this is one I hadn't read. Maybe if I had, the movie would have made some sense. But as is, I have watched it three times and I still can't tell you what really happened. Maybe it's because it's so bad that you really don't care.
That really must be it because at the end of the movie you will find yourself caring very little about any of the characters, including professor Langdon (Tom Hanks) who is usually a very likable and interesting character. He's witty, sardonic, and knowledgeable about everything to the point of being that annoying kid in the class who knows the answer to everything. Beyond his fictional profession of being a "symbologist," he's apparently an expert in European art and history because there's nothing this guy doesn't know. And amazingly enough, he's always paired up with a beautiful woman, who despite being a doctor or nuclear scientist, somehow seems to know just as much about whatever art clues he is following to solve whatever mystery is afoot.
And that formula, as unbelievable as it is, usually works. But here, we're given a doctor who coincidentally (or not) seems to know everything about Dante, the person whose clues they are trying to solve. His and Botticelli's, who painted Dante's levels of hell, or the Inferno (ah yes, the title of this masterpiece). And despite being drugged and suffering from a head wound, Langdon still knows everything about both, including whether the levels are out of order or if there are tiny little differences between one version and another. At least in the Da Vinci Code they had to occasionally ask someone or look something up, but no, he has been studying and no longer needs help. They access Google one time because somehow neither of them managed to memorize Dante's entire book, but every other obscure detail they knew.
But the biggest problem with this movie is trying to understand exactly what is going on. There's a virus -- maybe already released, maybe in him -- that can kill half the population of the world. And you find yourself really not caring. There's no real urgency, despite the movie trying hard to create it, and the surprise toward the end should tidy things up but just makes it more muddy. I won't ruin it for you because the movie does that on its own. Suffice to say, you won't know what happened when the credits roll. And you probably won't care.
What I want to know is how this got past producers and test audiences. Did everyone lie to them because they didn't want to feel bad dissing a Tom Hanks movie? Did they not test this or at least have a few intelligent people watch it before saying, "Yeah, let's spend even more millions marketing this."? Howwwww???? I keep rewinding the last 20-30 minutes to try to figure it out and no, still lost. There's a virus, some weird clandestine agency, a love interest, and some water. That's all I got.
And while we're at it, let's talk about the love interest, something that hasn't show up in the other films. It's not discussed much, but she exists. A possible love, but we're given so little time to learn anything about her that we really don't care if they end up together or she dies. Or they have coffee and call it a day. You just don't care. You just do not care one little bit because you don't care about anyone in this film. Did someone just die? Yeah, whatever. Who? Eh, who cares?
The really sad thing is that they aren't going to team up to make the other Dan Brown book into a movie with Tom Hanks as Langdon, The Lost Symbol. It's about freemasons and is set in DC, so it covers all sorts of fun American history. It was so much more interesting than this film, but this utter flop has probably killed the series so I hope the person who chose to do this one first gets fired over and over. Ugh!!!
So yeah, don't pay to watch this movie because you're just encouraging them to make more like it. It was a bigger disappointment than the The Phantom Menace, if that gives you any idea how bad it is.
I really want my money back on this one.