Boring, boring, and extremely forgetful
The premise of an adaptation of a video game film was a somewhat “double-edged” sword that has proven itself several times over the past thirty years. The idea of translating a popular / best-selling video game into a movie story definitely has a seductive effect and can take viewers on a new journey to some of the video game’s most popular stories / characters. However, many of the outcomes and / or outcomes of such ambitions have encountered difficulties and mixed outcomes. This is a combination of variations including weird narrative choices, problematic productions, character substance / development, and the simplification of translation of the “video” game “you’ll experience immersion on screen and in audiences everywhere. Some I have definitely achieved (better than others), such as 2002 resident Evil, 2018 Grave robbers, 2019 Pokémon Detective Pikachu, 2020s Sonic the Hedgehogwhile others like 1997 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, 2005s Downfall, 2015 pixeland 2016 Assassin’s Creed at the other end of the spectrum. Now Sony Pictures (as well as Screen Gems) and director Paul W.S. Anderson presents the latest adaptation of video game films with the release of Monster hunter;; based on the Capcom video game series of the same name. Does this film break the so-called “video game curse” or does it not translate the fun of fighting a giant monster in its boring presentation?
The US Army Ranger Captain Natalie Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her unit search for missing soldiers in a barren desert area. When their search turns out to be unsuccessful, while they are exchanging ideas, the group suddenly gets caught in a dust storm that turns out to be unnatural. Transport to a desert region that seems to be in a completely different dimension. Remnants of a massive skeletal bone structure cause confusion among the unit, which also finds the heavily charred bodies of their lost comrades, caused by something so hellishly hot that sand has become shards of glass. Soon the group will be attacked by giant sand-traveling animals and crab-like arachnids. one by one pick up the group and wreak havoc while the team fights for safety. Artemis soon finds an unexpected ally in a local, an unnamed “hunter” (Tony Jaa), an experienced warrior who knows how to attack and evade the monsters in the vicinity. Artemis and the hunter team up and fight monsters together. They make their way to a mystical tower in the distance that contains the key of the Army Ranger who returns to their world.
THE GOOD / THE BAD
Like I said before, I like video games. I’m not a hardcore gamer, but I do enjoy playing a few games here and there (i.e. a causal video gamer). Of course, the connection between video games and movies is something I like and look forward to some releases. As I said above, however, most of the ambitions for this type of film adaptation have been a bit mixed to poor; The hardest part is finding a suitable medium between video game and film. Of course there were some that were entertaining like some of my personal favorites like Sonic the Hedgehog and Grave robbersbut then there are some that are just bad like Mortal Kombat Annihilation (although I like a scene in the movie) and are almost completely unrecognizable to the source material like 1993 Super mario bros.; Something that Nintendo put a “nail in the coffin” when translating its games into feature films. Another problem with video game customization is that they appeal to the masses compared to their fan base. collectively creating problems for a more singular group of viewers out there who may not do justice to the general movie-going population. A prime example of this problem can be found in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children or Warcraft. Both are good films (in my opinion) but are more indebted to the fan base than the general viewer. For good or bad, adapting popular video games to movies is something Hollywood won’t be holding anytime soon. with the aim of one day claiming to break the so-called “curse of the video game film”.
This of course returns to my review for the film Monster hunter, a 2020 live-action feature film based on the bestselling video game series from game developer Capcom. I’ll admit … I’ve never played a single Monster Hunter game (yes, that’s right). However, I know a lot about it and see how it is played. That’s why I get the allure and fascination for the games and why it’s been a bestselling game for years. I remember hearing that a film version was announced and in development that definitely piqued interest in the project and became an intended look by many (via online) when the film was due to be released. Although I haven’t played the games yet, I was a bit intrigued, especially as the video games were ripped to the big screen for large-scale blockbuster promotions (a surefire delight for visual appeal). When the movie’s movie trailer fell off I was a bit interested but a bit skeptical as the movie looked a lot like the previous Resident Evil films (lots of nonsensical action with a weak plot). Even so, I was curious to see it, especially since the film was due to hit theaters in late 2020 and shouldn’t be postponed to a streaming platform and / or delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic (as many 2020 films have). Such was one of the last films I saw in 2020 Monster hunter when I went to my local cinema (one that I was still open) to see the movie. And what did I think of it? Well it wasn’t that great. Despite some interesting aspects Monster hunter is almost dead on arrival; to arouse no interest in his cinematic (but nonsensical) adaptation of the video game series. The attempt is there, but it is a weak one with very little joy and / or fun for the viewing experience.
Monster hunter is by Paul W.S. Anderson, whose previous directorial work includes films like this resident Evil Film franchises as well as other projects like Mortal Kombat, Death race, and Pompeii. Given his dedication and creative direction to running the Resident Evil film franchise, Anderson seems like the most suitable choice to direct Monster hunter: A project that fits almost perfectly into the director’s work. In this context, Anderson succeeds somewhat in approaching the source material with his own sense of a certain style that speaks to his earlier work. Generating a somewhat “Gung-Ho” action fantasy feature that fulfills the premise of large monsters and battle action sequences. In short, Anderson makes the feature have an “old school” throwback feel, as if Monster hunter is like ’90s fantasy action films: something almost similar to its 1995 adaptation Mortal Kombat. As you’d expect, Anderson nods and winks a lot at the video game series, including the warlike hunter as one of the main characters in the film (obviously) but also using a variety of imaginative weapons to help her take out the monsters (i.e. swords, lances, Axes, hammers, daggers and the like) as well as the monster of the film featured in the presentation, such as the herbivore Apceros, the arachnid-like Nerscylla, the sand-digging predator Diablos and the draconian winged animal Rathalos. Also, I found the Mewoscular Chef’s looks in the film were pretty good. However, I would like Anderson to bring the character into the film more than into a glorified cameo. Still, I like the nod to the legendary Monster Hunter character. Also feels very lean in runtime and sticks to a very “breezy” experience as I felt the movie fly by, especially considering the 88-minute runtime (one hour twenty-eight minutes). All in all, there is a certain kind of fun that Anderson brings that makes for very pointless entertainment Monster hunter (Willy-nilly).
Presentation-wise, Monster hunter is something I would expect from a video game adaptation that gives the feature lots of “visuals” and creates lots of CGI action sequences. Again, there is some sort of amusement fun in those moments that work, but it’s not enough as that part goes into the problems of the film. More on this below. For the most part the presentation of Monster hunter is fine and I think the stage productions and costumes of the film are appropriate for the film. So the “behind the scenes” team, including the film’s art direction team, and Danielle Knox (costume design) are doing a decent job for their efforts to create the film’s appearance. Also, I thought that Glen MacPherson’s film work does Monster Hunter a decent job in creating visual cinematics in some pocket areas that help add to the dynamic fantasy action of the film. Finally, the film’s music, composed by Paul Haslinger, gives the feature a suitable musical composition, including some themes that (musically) have a kind of “retro” video game feel. However, there are some pieces in Haslinger’s music that boom and wail so much that it becomes deafening. some of the feature’s bigger moments collide and almost overtake.
That of course leads to it Monster Hunter Problems and (unfortunately) there are numerous and blatant ones throughout the film; to make the film itself riddled with criticism. Where should I start? Well, maybe the first and most widespread one in the film’s storytelling department is that is not available. Of course, I wasn’t expecting a big, expansive, and complicated fantasy story Lord of the Rings or game of Thronesbut while film history is pretty straightforward and has been done many times before, what is presented feels very short and pretty simple … and not in a good way. The result is something that ultimately lacks substance and that, despite having a tried and tested idea that someone from our world is traveling to another world trying to get home, remains empty and lifeless. Perhaps this is due to the script handling of the feature, which was done by Anderson himself. In short, the script for Monster hunter A pretty empty shell in which the film gives very little to any narrative story beyond the original setup. This issue makes the movie feel like everything is being glossed over, including the story, characters, and the world structure. This part is quite numerous in the movie and creates a lot of points that don’t make sense and / or leave things unspoken / vague. The figure of Artemis is holding a sentimental object for which she wears…. but why? The portal between the worlds contains the key of some old people. Why? These are just a few things Anderson never fully addresses in the film and which consistently become a problem.
Speaking of the world structure, the film develops this particular aspect miserably under … in spades. What I mean? Well, Anderson is just struggling to capture and / or create a living world in the “New World” (i.e. the world where most of the film takes place). Heck, a large part of the film is spent in the desert wasteland (a specific area), leaving Anderson a lot of untapped potential to create a very organic / imaginative cinematic world building for this “New World”. There are flare-ups, but not enough. Another problem is that the film is mostly loud. What I mean? People scream and scream and monsters roar and scream. That’s all! The whole feature is just one big “booming” noise proof, with Monster Hunter’s sound department team increasing the effect noises to 11 and turning the ears into a loud and cluttered display that starts to scratch your ears. Plus, the script is full of goofy dialogue and questionable choices (both characters and narrative aspects) that drag the film down even further.
As for the graphics of the film … well … below average. Granted, I wasn’t expecting high-profile blockbuster visuals from a big studio tentpole company, but the CGI in Monster Hunter feels dated, especially as it was released in 2020. Yes, I liked a lot of the movie’s creature designs that are pretty imaginary, but how they all render is disappointing. I think the graphics in the last game this review is done (Monster Hunter World) are better than those featured in the movie. Plus, the movie only features a handful of creatures from the video game series, which is strange considering that there are a large number of bestiaries from the Monster Hunter games.
Additionally, the end of the film leaves an unsatisfactory taste in the viewing experience. While I won’t spoil it, the movie kind of ends with a cliffhanger ending in the middle of the fight. to leave the opportunity for a possible continuation. If you don’t know what I mean … think about 1995 Mortal Kombat The End. During Andersons Mortal Kombat offered a better ending to its main characters and bigger story, the ending of Monster hunter inconsistently feels like Anderson is skipping a huge chunk of the movie on the cutting room floor. This results in the tail of the film hindering the feature even more; I felt rushed, arbitrary, and not at all satisfying. Yes, the snapshot is pretty cool (I won’t deny that) but not one that leaves a bitter ending.
The occupation Monster hunter is decent, but her on-screen fictional character doesn’t really have a lot going for it to make her either memorable or popular. Of course, the acting talents do their best to improve their characters, which is why I gave them the least credit for that. However, there is only so much you can do with such thinly written characters and wooden dialogue moments. At the head of the film is the actress Milla Jovovich, who plays the role of the protagonist of Natalie Artemis. Jovovich, who is married to Anderson and is known for her roles in The fifth Element, The three musketeers, and the resident Evil The film series has proven to be the almost stereotypical female lead in many of its previous roles. to nail the bravery, perseverance and looks of this particular type of character. With this in mind, Jovovich is good at the role of Artemis, showing an almost atypical performance for the actress in the role of Artemis from start to finish. In addition, the character of Artemis is rather boring and almost general, since the script cannot prove the depth of this protagonist. Thus, the character falters and almost becomes a stick-like female hero characterization. Again, Jovovich is decent in the role and definitely works in the film’s favor, but the written character feels hollow and thinly sketched.
The second main character in the film is the unnamed character “The Hunter”, a warrior stranded in the wastelands of the desert and befriended Natalie Artemis, played by actor Tony Jaa. Known for his roles in Ong-Bak: Muay Thai warrior, XXX: Xander Cage returns, and Triple hazardJaa was a able and profound master stunt / choreographer of films in karate martial arts and proves that motto all over again in this film. Interestingly, I think Jaa is better equipped than Jovovich (I’m just saying) for this movie, as he sees and plays in his characters that part of the otherworldly warrior hunter who deals with the harsh environment around him and the deadly beasts that hold him master, knowledgeable roam the area. Similar to Jovovich’s Artemis, however, the character of the hunter is rather underdeveloped and little is about him, especially since he does not speak the same language as Natalie. Speaking of which, the moments between Hunter and Artemis trying to communicate with each other feel rather amusing and almost forced, even though they are amusing in how to speak. Despite the role of the hunter, almost the main focus of the Monster Hunter video game series, the movie only seems to be interested in Artemis anymore, which is strange and a bit disappointing. For a more secondary role with little substance, push the character beyond their physical martial arts.
Perhaps the only supporting actor in the entire film would be actor Ron Perlman (Hell boy and Sons of anarchy), who plays the role of the character named The Admiral, a skilled warrior leader who is part of the hunter’s clan. Of course, Perlman’s role in the role is fine as his on-screen presence works (especially in this type of movie), but he’s at the end of the feature and only seen in a handful of scenes. Thus the character of the admiral remains fairly general and is only in the exposure dumps (more or less).
The rest of the cast, including rapper / actor Clifford “T.I.” Harris. Jr. (customer and Ant man and the wasp) as Link, actress Meagan Good (Think like a man and Brick) as Dash, actor Diego Boneta (Rock of Ages and Scream Queens) as Marshall and actor Josh Helman (The Pacific and X-Men: Days of Future Past) as Steeler, they’re pretty much the little supporting actors in the movie. However, many of these characters are delegated to the stereotypical “cannon fodder” in the feature’s narrative and / or to the atypical military soldiers of a squad. creating nonsensical jokes among each other. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting much from these characters, but it’s a bit weird to preload them in the movie and that’s what’s disappointing (again) about endorsing characters for the movie.
On her journey into an unknown world, the US Army ranger, Captain Natalie Artemis, must fight large-format monsters, team up with local warrior hunters and find a way home in the film Monster hunter. Director Paul W.S. Anderson’s latest film takes Capcom’s popular video game series and translates it to the big screen to create a blockbuster fantasy action feature that includes multiple nods and wink at the source material. Despite these references to the games, plus a feeling of ’90s setback and a meager running time, the film can handle itself with its numerous problems including a barebones and thinly written story / script, questionable narrative choices, and a lackluster world structure wear, nonsensical moments, stereotype dialogue, flat character development, dubious CGI and boring conclusion. I personally didn’t like this movie. I got the idea that Anderson would go for this movie, but the movie was just all-round boring, boomy, and utterly forgetful. Some might argue that it’s so bad that it’s good, but I can’t even see that. So the recommendation for this movie is definitely a “skip” as it isn’t even worth your time to watch and it would just be better to just grab one of the video games. As mentioned earlier, the end of the movie leaves the option open for a monster Hunter To be continued, but given the negative to mixed reception, I have little doubt that the second entry will be illuminated in green. Finally, Monster hunter Just another failed adaptation of a video game film depicting a void and thoughtless endeavor that cannot handle the cinematic challenge in its own loud and thinly sketched presentation.
1.8 of 5 (skip)
Published on: December 18, 2020
Reviewed on: January 14, 2021
Monster hunter is 103 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for sequences of actions and violence throughout