Hello everyone, I’m Monster Review Girl. Today I’d like to talk about the Monster Hunter feature film that was in theaters late last year.
Releasing on December 18th of last year in the US, the movie had not been without controversy. People who enjoyed the monster hunter games were deeply concerned about how the film would do.
With this concern in our hearts and hoping to just see really cool monsters, my husband and I made a date night of going to see this film.
The movie follows Lieutenant Artemis (Mila Jovovich) and her Alpha team (T.I., Meagan Good, Diego Boneta, Josh Helman, and Jin Au-Yeung) as they are transported by an unknown artifact to another world filled with giant monsters. This does not go well for most of them, leaving Artemis as the final survivor. That is until she joins up with The Hunter (Tony Jaa).
While the language barrier between the two poses challenges, eventually they figure each other out and begin to work together to deal with the threats that keep them where they are. That being a massively territorial Black Diablos trapping them in the day and the nocturnal Nerscylla subspecies harassing them at night.
Using the venom in the Nerscylla to try and sedate the Black Diablos, the two set out on a Hunt. After a tense hunt, they bring the beast down but one part of the fight injures Jaa’s character. After a long trek and some use of an emergency medical kit, the two find an oasis and settle down for the time being. While there, we find out a tiny bit about The Hunter. Namely that a Rathalos, one of the more powerful monsters in the game, killed his family. While this is never outright said during the sequence, what dialogue there is conveys exactly what has been lost.
As this is processed, a Rathalos appears as if summoned by the utterance of its name like a fire breathing Beetlejuice. The resulting stampede from wildlife almost kills the two if not for the fortunate arrival of the Admiral (Ron Perlman) and the Handler (Hirona Yamazaki). After some exposition, the party now arrives at the apparent source of the rift that brought Artemis into this world.
However, this source, a tower, had a guardian. A Greater Rathalos, named as such for its massive size. (for context, the average Rathalos is 55 feet ten inches long. The Greater Rathalos featured in the movie is 152 feet eleven inches long.)
What follows is a spectacle of a fight. At one point Artemis falls through a rift back to her native world, only for the Rathalos to follow her there. Said Rathalos proceeds to assert dominance all over the human military forces that arrive to deal with it, only to die at the hands of the protagonists.
The film ends with the Elder Dragon Gore Magala intruding on the hunt and the party leaping to engage.
I went into this film expecting an absolute trash fire. But instead, I got a rather pleasant film. The CGI was gorgeously done (The monsters looked almost exactly how they should be, and they felt like real animals). The practical effects were nice (although whoever did Perlman’s makeup and hair needs a refresher). I actually had to look away at one of the sequences that involved the Nerscylla variants.
An interesting facet was the realism they took with some of the monsters. For context, the spider creatures called Nerscylla normally hunt a monster called Gypceros and wear it’s skin. This is to shield themselves from the sun. The nerscylla we see in the movie live in the desert where there are no Gypceros. As a result, they’ve shifted to an underground, nocturnal, colony-based lifestyle.
The one thing I didn’t like about the movie was the story. While what they had was nice, the story felt rushed. The language barrier was, while an interesting plot element, really should have been done away with a lot sooner. I suggest this so we could get a better insight into Jaa’s character.
Another issue I had was the monster choice for the finale creature. While I understand the choice they made, in the biology of the world Gore Magala wouldn’t suit. Other monsters they could have used would be Gogmazios, a massive creature that feeds off gun powder. Or Amatsu, a gorgeous Asian dragon inspired creature with command over wind and rain.
All tolled, the Monster Hunter film was much better than I expected going in. If you’re into a fast-paced spectacle of a movie, this is the one for you.