The movie is separated into several parts. Each chapter is animated with different styles. These vary in degree of difference and depict Dante with differing features, such as hair length, bodily proportions, and armor.
The film starts with Dante's return from the Third Crusade. Speaking in inner monologue, he describes the forests as gloomy and nearly worse than death. He can detect someone following him, but each time he tries to approach, his pursuer vanishes. Upon arriving, he finds his servants slain, his father dead and his beloved fiancee Beatrice lying on the ground, dying of a stab wound to the stomach. As she dies, she turns into a spirit and begins to ascend into Heaven. However, disguised as a shadow, Lucifer takes Beatrice through the gates of Hell.
In pursuit, Dante's chase through the Forrest is stopped as the portal that Lucifer opened for him and Beatrice encloses Dante there as well. He then slaughters a mob of zombies but is captured by a score of large and very long serpent arms which suspend him immobile and then sow into his flesh a torsolength, and apparently "living", cross-form tapestry that is covered in visual animated memories of his greatest sins, across the front of his body. Virgil appears then and offers to guide him through hell. After Dante invokes his faith he is able to tear open the gates and enter hell.
Upon Entry, Dante and Virgil bodily board the being Charon, itself a massive demonic living-ferry that takes souls across the river Acheron to the First Circle of Hell. Charon commands demons to attack the mortal Dante, no living mortals being allowed to enter. Dante fights them off, but loses his sword in the process and so takes up one of the demons' scythes to wield from then on and proceeds to kill Charon, crashing him into the coasts of the first circle.
Virgil and Dante enter the first circle, limbo which is home to mostly virtuous pagans and unbaptized babies. It is here Dante learns Beatrice was pregnant with his child while he was away, but was miscarried in the womb. Without time for sorrow, he is attacked by demonic children. As he and Virgil escape into a large building, they come across a hall of great rulers, philosophers and thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato and Socrates and Saladin, whose forces Dante had battled during his crusade. They move on, and eventually encounter King Minos whose task is to judge all condemned souls to their sin's corresponding circle of hell. When he denies Dante access, they battle. Dante kills Minos by dropping him onto his own spinning wheel of judgment. Meanwhile, Lucifer tortures Beatrice in a cycle of killing her, tricking her endlessly with the hope of rescue and taunting her that Dante had never kept his promises after he left.
Falling onto the storm-ravaged shores of the second circle, Dante notices bodies flying through the wind, intertwined. Virgil explains the island is the second circle of Lust and those in the wind are caught in a never-ending storm of passion and may never know rest. Following Beatrice's cries from the distance, Dante ends up in a room of succubi who transform into hideous demons. As they try to seduce him, he finally realizes that he did break his promise to Beatrice; during the Crusade an imprisoned heretic woman offered "comfort" in ransom to save her husband from being beaten to death. Having been under the illusion he was 'absolved' of all sin by mere summary declaration by a priest, he accepted her offer. Upon hearing this, Beatrice begins to lose her faith yet refuses Lucifer's offers her his hand in marriage.
Coming to a grotto of men and women who had lived their lives without knowing fulfillment by gluttony, so they suffer lacking it entirely in death. Many starving individuals are caught and devoured by Cerberus and Virgil tells Dante the only way to the next circle is from within the beast. Dante allows himself to be eaten by it and enters the gut of the great hound of hell. In order to escape Cerberus' belly, Dante attacks and destroys the beast's heart, causing the demon to spit him up and spew him out in a river of blood that flows down into the next circle.
Dante and Virgil's next circle is the ring of hell to men and women who wasted their lives in pursuit of material possessions. The condemned souls are tortured by being sheared in money presses, boiled in melted gold and buried in enormous mounds of heavy gold coins. Within this circle, Dante confronts his father, having been promised a thousand years free of torture and endless gold if he would murder his own son. The pair battle fiercely, but Dante gains the upperhand, kicking his father into a vat of boiling gold.
The fifth circle of hell is Wrath. Virgil and Dante can sense the very rage in the air. They proceed to the River Styx in which violence is still running rampant among the spirits fighting in the shallow waters. They climb aboard Phlegyas, a demonic giant who traverses the river while men and women who know of Dante taunt him from within the boiling mud below. Dante has Phlegyas charge the city when he sees Lucifer within, announcing to the damned souls within his intent to marry Beatrice. When he strikes Phlegyas down, Dante chases after the devil.
The sixth circle of hell is for the heretics, people who have gone against the teaching of their churches. As they travel through halls of men and women who forever burn in fire and are therein also tortured by various implements, Dante comes across Farinata, another man Dante hated in life, who taunts Dante by revealing Lucifer's plan to wed Beatrice and how he would be trapped in hell forever. Dante angrily kills Farinata just before fleeing the sixth circle and before it collapses from the force of Christ's death which, Virgil explains, quakes the circle eternally.
Virgil helps Dante face the minotaur, guardian of the Circle of Violence, causing an easy defeat by allowing the beast's anger to get the better of him. Dante and Virgil enter the seventh circle: Violence, having been helped across the river by the centaur Nessus. In this river they behold many souls boiling in a vast river of the blood of their own victims; violence they had inflicted upon others. Entering the Forest of Suicides, Dante hears a familiar cry and finds his mother growing from the sapling of a tree, forever in pain for killing herself and not finding the strength to stand up against or leave her husband, Dante's father, she eventually hanged herself. Dante had been told she died of a fever. Having been overwhelmed with sorrow, Dante uses his cross to free her soul. They move onto a graveyard within the Abominable Sands where his one time comrades and one of his close friends Francesco rises from the grave, with his fallen comrade crusaders, as undead warriors. This graveyard is where souls are condemned for committing acts of violence in the name of God. Dante defeats Francesco by slicing his head in half laterally. It is in this that Dante reflects upon slaughtering several heretics including men, women and children without mercy.
After being carried by the geryon, Virgil parts ways with Dante upon entering the realm of Fraud, the eighth circle, telling him he only needs to cross a continuous series of several very large bridges in order to stop the marriage of Beatrice and Lucifer who are just beyond the far end of the bridges. As Dante starts crossing, he begins to reflect upon his own sins. He realizes his father, family servants and Beatrice were slain by the husband of the woman with whom he had been unfaitful to Beatrice and thus blames their deaths on himself. Beatrice finally gives in to her sorrow of Dante's betrayal, thus wedding Lucifer and fully becoming a demon, losing her wings and rights to heaven. Her body entirely becoming entirely a flaming, Beatrice proceeds to attack Dante, overpowering him and forces him to look on his greatest sin, letting him peer into the ninth circle of Treachery. This cardinal sin had been his allowing her brother to willingly take the blame for his slaughtering of the heretic prisoners. Thus overwhelmed with grief, he presents Beatrice her cross, which he had promised to give back to her upon his return from the crusade. She relents as he begs for forgiveness and pleads with her to once again accept the love of God, and so she forgives him, causing her to return to her previous angelic form as she kisses him. A two-headed Angel descends from heaven to take her. Beatrice promises they will be together soon, but in order to escape hell he will need to face Lucifer alone.
Descending into final circle, the cold caverns of traitors, and after wandering in the dark he comes across a very large cave filled with huge frozen chains blocking the path and thenmows through them, only to encounter a three-faced demon in the center who appears to be Lucifer's corporeal form. So then Lucifer, having been freed by the rending his chains, attacks Dante. Dante slays the beast and is within a short span of escaping Hell and entering Purgatory, where his salvation awaits. Lucifer however, now freed from his previous frozen form now reveals his true corporeal form, breaks free from his false body and easily overpowers Dante, promising to enter Purgatory, and then even Paradise, to rend heaven into a new and greater hell. Dante realizes he cannot stop Lucifer on his own. So Dante then prays and repents in humility and begs for divine forgiveness and to sacrifice his own soul to defeat Lucifer and so prevent him from his sworn conquest of the higher realms, pleading for the power to trap Lucifer with him forever. Lucifer runs back in shocked horror, trying to stop Dante from making this pact; however, he is stopped by an explosive beam of light, emanating from Dante, that freezes stop and freezes Lucifer solid.
Free to move on, Dante dives into the chasm that leads through the earth to Purgatory to be with Beatrice. Now "neither completely living, nor completely dead" as he puts it. Later that night the flesh-emblem of sin he ripped off his chest transforms into a serpent, supposedly Lucifer waiting to get his revenge, that slithers away into the distance.Graham McTavish - Dante
Vanessa Branch - Beatrice
Steven Blum - Lucifer
Peter Jessop - Virgil
Mark Hamill - Alighiero (Dante's father)
Victoria Tennant - Bella
Bart McCarthy - Filippo Argenti
Kevin Michael Richardson - King Minos, Phlegyas
John Paul Karliak - Avenger
Tom Tate - Francesco
J. Grant Albrecht - Ciacco, Farinata Uberti
Stephen Apostolina -
Nika Futterman - Female Prisoner, Lust Minion #4
Charlotte Cornwell - Nessus, Lust Minion #3
Vanessa Marshall - Lust Minion #2, Frozen Prisoner
Grey DeLisle - Lust Minion #1, Dante (as 10 years old)
H. Richard Greene - Socrates, King Richard I
John Rees (as Greg Ellis) - Plato
Shelley O'Neil - Child
Nicholas Guest - Demon Priest
Wendy Cutler - unspecified voice
Lia Sargent - unspecified voice
Mark Sussman - unspecified voice
Dave Zyler (as Dave Zyler) - unspecified voice
Co-Directors (1 each from the various studios)Victor Cook
Charlie Adler - Voice Director
The film was animated by Film Roman who also animated Dead Space: Downfall, which was also based on an EA game. The Japanese animation studio Production I.G helped animate hell. A total of six animation studios were involved with the film. It was released on February 9, 2010.
Anime News Network gave the movie an Overall : B-.