Before plunging into the lion’s den of the video game industry, Netflix seemed to be at the forefront of adapting gamers’ hearts to the chains. DOTA: Dragon’s Blood, Resident Evil and Dragon’s Dogma have made their way to the Netflix factory, with more or less (more or less) success. And since the streaming giant and his Capcom pals seem to get along like thieves, they’re continuing their momentum by dumping fans of Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild. Will he manage to beat Paul WS Anderson’s mediocre, but fun Monster Hunter?
WHO’S GOING TO HUN?
The Monster Hunter license is a real goose that lays golden eggs for Capcom. With 17 million copies sold for Monster Hunter World, and nearly 5 million for the latest Switch episode of Monster Hunter Rise, the franchise is reaching new heights. The series that was considered the talisman of a bunch of nerds who had no social life in its early days has grown to become one of the most successful licensees in the industry. Away from the market, seeing it adapted on big and small screens is only a matter of time.
So no less than two adaptations in less than five months we’ve seen landing. After Milla Jovovich beckoned with a resin machete, in a film where we have declared all our love (or not), Capcom-Netflix (Cap-Flix?) Marriage made the choice to offer the film while in synthetic images. A choice that refers to the worst rather than the best.
The story follows Aiden, a well-known character from MH license player. because it’s an Ace Cadet (or elite cadet in VF) from Monster Hunter 4 and an Excitable A-Lister (A-Class Comrade) from MHWorld. He even appeared in Anderson’s live action film, although it had nothing to do with the game’s lore. In a scenario that has been seen and reviewed thousands of times, young people who spend most of their time fishing and hunting must face a dire threat. hanging in his village: Lunastra, the terrible ancient dragon.
In order to successfully protect those he loves, he will ally with Julius, a skilled hunter (who will surely remind him of Ramirez Highlander), who just happens to pass by there as if by chance, to save him the day he is about to leave. eaten by Velociprey (local color velociraptor). During his brief adventure, Aiden will meet a Melynx (a talking cat comic relief) named Nox, and a gallery of characters who are all more cliché than the rest (Mae and Ravi are irresistible). It will of course unite to save Aiden’s village.
As simple as it is, stories have the benefit of not dragging on unnecessary details, and getting to the point. The result is the impression of being in front of a film that flows in a straight line for 58 minutes (live), to finish the plot as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, some of the storylines run parallel to the main storyline as fast as the pack to Fed Ex, and some twists and turns get ridiculous.
Special mention for the relationship between Julius and Aiden which went from mentor-student status (with mandatory training sessions with epic music) to “this young wizard is an irresponsible daredevil, I hate him”, then to “we will save you.” whole village, I recognize myself in you” in less than five minutes watching in hand. A lot can be said without picking up the gloves: on the narrative side, there’s not much to save in this Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild.
If the level narrative, Legends of the Guild lags behind, so does the graphics level. As the movie trailer predicts, this one is ten years behind visually. It’s a shame because it was directed by Steve Yamamoto, the special effects director for the four Transformers films. The character animation is stilted, the protagonist moves like a poorly articulated doll, and lip sync is completely absent. From the first second on board, the impression of being in front of a poorly finished or rushed film is everywhere.
The character designs don’t help because, apart from Aiden (as ugly as in the game), all the protagonists seem straight from the random generation of heroes in the average RPG. Between their facial expressions that grimaced more than anything else, and their impossible hairstyles that looked glued with super glue, it was hard to feel the slightest empathy for them.
Fortunately, the monsters benefit from real treatment. We found and recognized the game’s creatures very easily, and a few moments of fan-service welcome (a fight between Kongolala and Deviljho) reminded us that we were indeed in front of a Monster Hunter movie.The creatures are so believable, with special mention for Lunastra, as impressive in the final battles and as strong and formidable as in video game saga.
Add to this that some funny nod to the Jurassic Park saga but will manage to make you smile, especially the procession of monsters during the bonfire, which is quite a fun moment. At times, the film also evokes Dragons, without ever reaching a tenth of its quality. It’s a shame, however, that in moments when paying homage to other licenses, the film manages to find an identity.
A NEW SEARCH AVAILABLE
However, all is not gloomy on the board. Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild is surprisingly consistent in uncovering the ins and outs of the MH world. Animated films can be seen as popularizing the Monster Hunter lore which is pretty honest. The character Julius, in his role as mentor, has the role of explaining the Hunters Guild’s raison d’être and how it works, and does so convincingly enough to emphasize.
Meanwhile, Aiden’s candor of character helps bring nuance to the subject, pointing out that the all-powerful Hunter’s Guild doesn’t protect all of the country’s residents, and small villages are often overlooked by this one. However, no moral considerations whatsoever here, it’s entertainment for all audiences, and Cap-Flix doesn’t want to traumatize this dear blonde head with political ideas…
Either way, Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild’s biggest black point remains the format. Faced with a run of less than an hour, one couldn’t help but think that the base material would be worthy of the series, and it was reduced to film status to save time. A sense of extravagance radiates from this animated film, which should have a better place as a bonus DVD in the box of the Monster Hunter game than on the streaming platform.