A few hundred years after the release of Dante’s Inferno, the first in Dante Alighieri’s smash-hit Divine Comedy trilogy, Warner Brothers has finally decided to turn it into a movie. They’ve also noticed that the other entrants in the trilogy, Purgatorio and Paradiso, could give this film some “franchise potential.”
Heh. Okay, Warner Brothers. Just remember what happened the last time a huge company had that same thought: the creators of the Dante’s Inferno videogame, which is now massively marked down, also thought they’d be able to turn this thing into a trilogy.
Of course, the videogame reboot made the deliciously goofy mistake of rebooting the lead character Dante (yes, Dante Alighieri made himself the lead character in his own fantasy series) as a hyper-gritty, super-strong knight (pictured above — that’s the game’s old promo art). However, even though Dante put himself in the book, he was hardly a Mary Sue (not that we’d have a problem if he were, mind you); part of what made his self-insert concept work so well was that he actually wrote himself as an underpowered nerd, doomed to wander around and observe, just as any writer would do in that situation.
So, of course, the videogame developers gave Dante a bunch of weapons and forced him to fight devils in order to rescue Beatrice, one of the first-ever fridged ladies. In spite of all the gritty trappings, that concept still made for a terrible game idea. But … would it make for a good movie?
The one laughable part of this news, to me, is Warner Brothers’ “franchise potential” comment; it sounds like these producers have no idea how boring Purgatorio and Paradiso are. There’s a reason why Inferno is the most famous of the three: it’s the best. Weirdly, it’s also the first book, which contradicts the usual expectation that trilogies get better as they go.
What do you think? How would a film version of Dante’s Inferno work? Would you reboot all the social commentary to make it modern? Or would you keep the old references and try to focus on the original story’s languid, creepy pacing? Just don’t say “gritty reboot” — if you want to laugh at that concept, just pick up the super-affordable videogame version.
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