I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a fan of Dan Brown’s novels, not so much the thriller aspect but the symbolism and art. That’s what draws me in and keeps me reading. The movies, while not bad, are not as good as the books in my opinion.
Today’s Book vs. Movie is about Inferno.
The gist of the story is that billionaire bioengineer Bertrand Zobrist has created a plague and hidden it somewhere in the world. His motive? To decrease the earth’s population so that mankind can begin again. In Zobrist’s view, mankind is like a plague itself, and if population isn’t controlled, there will not be enough resources to sustain the species. The next extinction event will be our own. Robert Langdon is recruited to help solve the clues Zobrist left behind and to help find the plague and prevent its release.
The book and the movie begin in a similar fashion, and the beginning of the movie is fairly faithful to the book. However, once the two diverge, they are almost two different stories.
At first, the differences are minor things.
In the movie, the provost asks to see Zobrist’s video instead of one of his workers insisting that he look at it. In the book, Langdon and Brooks have art students show them a way into Boboli Gardens instead of climbing the wall, and there’s a guard at the little gray door that leads to the Vasari Corridor who is absent in the movie. In the book, the Baptistry of San Giovanni is simply not open for the day yet, while, in the movie, it’s closed for repairs. In the movie, Langdon introduces Sienna to Marta as his niece. In the book, he claims she’s his sister.
However, the divergences get more pronounced the closer the two come to determining the location of the plague virus.
In the book, they are joined by a man named Ferris who works for the provost. He has a bad rash and a large bruise on his chest that makes the two suspect he has been in contact with the virus. In the movie, a WHO agent named Bouchard is the one who joins him. His interest in the plague is to sell it to the highest bidder. He kidnaps Langdon and tries to get him to reveal the location.
Another difference is in character relationships. In the book, Elizabeth Sinskey is head of the WHO and only meets Robert Langdon because she needs his skills to decode the message Bertrand Zobrist left. In the movie, she’s a former lover, the ‘one who got away.’ This, however, is a minor detail compared to the ending.
In the book, Sienna tries to escape, but she has a change of heart and comes back to tell Langdon that she received a letter from Zobrist after his death. She was so horrified by the virus he had created that she could not allow it to be released into the world. She followed Langdon in hopes of locating and containing it, just like the WHO.
However, the group is too late, and the plague has already been released and has reached world penetration. This plague isn’t designed to kill people; it’s designed to sterilize a third of the human population so that the number of people decreases over time. Sienna then joins Sinskey at the WHO to help figure out what to do next. Langdon goes home.
The movie takes a completely different track. The WHO gets to the plague virus and contains it. This virus is designed to kill and will create a pandemic at least as detrimental as the Black Death. Sienna is determined to release the plague and commits suicide detonating explosives designed to rupture the bag containing the plague. Langdon and Sinskey say their good-byes again, and Sinskey takes the virus for study.
When it comes to the ending, I think I prefer Dan Brown’s original one to the movie ending. What are your thoughts?