Over Christmas, I got my paws on a copy of the new Ultramarines movie, and I finally got to see it last night. As a long time 40K fan I thought I better write a review.
First off, the voice acting is top notch. Terrance Stamp and John Hurt in particular are great and have the appropriate gratis to be Space Marine veterans. Some of the lines are a bit cheesy, but that’s quite ok.
The opening sequence and duel are also brilliant, setting up these warrior monks as the ultimate defenders of humanity.
The few bullet time sequences were also fab.
I’ll be the first to admit I love Dan Abbett’s work, however this screenplay seemed more like a level in a video game (or roleplay session) rather than a complete story. It was very linear and rather limited in scope, and the characters didn’t really engage me.
In fairness, screen writing is an art in itself and most novel writers do not make good screen writers.
I was also a little disappointed by how the Astartes were portrayed. They seemed to be slow and did not move with the purpose I would imagine they should. When they did run and jump over things, they looked great; but that was the exception rather the rule.
These guys are suppose to be the ultimate warriors, a step beyond the infantry of today and even modern special forces; and this didn’t come across. The sense of Marines being bigger and bulkier than normal people was also missing.
By the way, what’s the point of power armour if every bolter shell punches through it?
And the Ugly
OK, I’m shallow enough that all the above can be ignored with some good CGI. Unfortunately this is the one area that Ultramarines should have delivered, but didn’t.
Before I’m overly negative I will say that I like the stylised approach Codex took. It will not be to everyone’s tastes, however it worked for me.
But (and its a huge BUT) the animation was disappointing by modern standards. Little details such as foot prints from the half-ton armoured giants and creaking footboards were missing. The marines seems to sit on the scene rather than fully interact with in.
The scenes seemed to be missing a lot of stuff in the background. For example, the Strike Cruiser hanger was rather too quiet. All of these little things suspend the feel of disbelief in other films, and their absence made the scenes less real.
So in summary, an interesting if not outstanding first stab at a Warhammer 40000 movie. By comparison, the cut sequence made for Dawn of War was more impressive in my opinion; however I’m sure most fans of the Warhammer 40000 universe will enjoy this. I certainly did.