Monster Hunter The Movie: Alien and Unfamiliar

Monster Hunter The Movie: Alien and Unfamiliar

Monster Hunter The Movie: Alien and Unfamiliar – 5/10

Plot: 3/10
Immersion: 4/10
Cinematography: 7/10

Just like every other die-hard Monster Hunter fan. I was looking forward to this movie, despite my low expectations. The Monster Hunter Movie starring Milla Jovovich & Tony Jaa was more alien than fantasy. It was not the Monster Hunter our fandom loved or knew and was essentially watered down into a main-stream live-action adaptation for boomers. The film did not feature any of the magnificent architecture or style signature to the game and its world, nor did it feature any of the creative or proprietary weapons unique to the franchise. 

The following review will contain mild spoilers and break down three points in which I think this particular film should be graded. Narrative, cinematography and immersion.

Narrative: 3/10

The narrative was lost to us in the first few moments of the film. Immediately diving its loyal fan-dom into a real-world setting immediately takes them out of their comfort zone and signals several red-flags for what was coming. We’ve all seen it before.. *COUGH* DRAGONBALL THE MOVIE.

The only explanation for this choice in direction would be to appeal to the general audience outside the Monster Hunter franchise, to draw in ‘NEW’ fans or players. However I think this greatly backfired through a narrative cliche, seen and done. A plot so basic that even Animal Crossing: New Horizon had a better plot twist.

The main plot-line has our heroes trying to save themselves by ‘going home’ and it seems that hunting monsters is just a part of that, not necessarily something they actively do as a way of life. Ultimately the mix of modern day weaponry and fantasy dragons made this feel more like Pacific Rim or GANTZ rather than the drama based action-fantasy that the film should have been.

I could go on about the plot-holes and issues the story has all day long, but the point i’m trying to get across is that it no longer felt like Monster-Hunter. It had lost the deep fantasy, lore and world brought to its community over generations of play. The activity of ‘hunting’ followed by carving and using the materials and trophies drawn from your freshly slewn prey felt ever so rewarding when you used its hide, scales, horns or fangs to craft armour and weapons of legendary proportions, instead Mila Jovovich turned the scales of a Diabolos into a sled to drag her unconscious partner across a barren and boring dessert, unlike the colorful, lush and radiant world that we all know and love.

Immersion: 4/10

Whilst nothing on screen really felt like my PSP Nostalgia, I will say that the Monster designs were magnificent. Diabolos, diabolical and sinister. Rathalos, fierce and iconic but that’s about it.
The only notable creatures in this film would be the army of spiders that added a very unnecessary and unexpected horror factor in the first chapter and the palico that was a pretty fair disappointment in terms of design and character choice. 

Fierce, strong and cheeky the Palico didn’t really bring in the comedic or kawaii factor that all fans were hoping for. Whilst it is true to design, we are aware of larger or more muscular Palico, but the choice of design for a grizzled, tough cat humanoid missing an eye left Jaa and his restricted interaction with Jovovich as comedic relief. Palicos have been loved for the longest time for their role as cute, adorable supporting characters for a player that may predominantly play alone most of the time.

Notice how the scarred Palico in-game is still rather small in proportion to the other cats and retains a cute and friendly design, whilst retaining a stronger aura in comparison to that of its live-action counterpart.
Other characters featured were in line with Jaa with speaking their own foreign language. I think this saved the movie some decent points. The female assistant prevalent across all titles features in this movie as a side character with value to the crew, yet as viewers we don’t see or feel that due to the lack of screen time, character development or common language.

Cinematography: 7/10

The monster designs are magnificent. Pinpoint right down to the scales on Ratholos’ wings, and the sheen of his talons, the live adaptation certainly did recreate the true majesty of these mystical creatures.

The angles used, camera positioning, special effects, acting and overall presence of the film is strong. Nothing much else to discuss or talk about as it wasn’t very special either it just wasn’t ‘bad’.

In summary:

Monster Hunter The Movie attempted to bring a fan favourite to the general audience and failed. If it truly wanted to capture the eyes, imagination and adoration of new potential players and fans – they should have kept true to their identity. Is it truly the New World we know of if it’s only sand and spiders? Where are the myriad of creatures that live in lush greenery, underwater and in iridescent caves? The wacky weapons unique to the franchise such as the absurd Gun-Lance.

The wild elegance of the insect-glaive.

Or the absolutely party that is the hunting-horn.

To a lot of fans monster hunter is a grand adventure, as bold as your imagination and as vibrant as the colors of its characters. The film takes a serious left-turn, abandons its native features and leaves as a sell-out.

Overall, I didn’t regret watching this movie. If you wanted to see what Rathalos and Diabolos look like on screen in 4K then please be my guest, it at least felt like it had a ‘FUN’ factor when I watched it with the boys from Shadowchat. 

Ian Seaton
Ian Seaton
Chief Executive Officer

@LanShadownet on all socials