In a body story bookending Netflix’s quick animated film Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild, one Hunter, Aiden, takes a web page from the veteran sailor Quint in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. On a ship crusing to a brand new world, excited Hunters chat about how they’ll take down the elder dragon Zorah Magdaros. Aiden doesn’t run his fingernails down a chalkboard to close them up, or wax poetically about doll’s eyes, and he’s a 20-something redhead, not a surly previous fisherman. However the vibe is similar. Elder dragons are critical threats, and Aiden has a narrative from his previous to inform his new Hunter associates, as an instance why they need to be afraid.
Aiden is a facet character from a number of of the Monster Hunter video games, however Legends of the Guild follows a a lot youthful Aiden, a child from a small village who desires to be a Guild-sanctioned Monster Hunter — identical to gamers are within the recreation franchise. And whereas the 58-minute movie is messy, it nails that early Monster Hunter feeling of being new to the hunt and desirous to take down some large critters.
Each Hunter’s journey
Aiden’s journey begins identical to many gamers’ tales, with him looking a small, comparatively innocent monster. However not like in a Monster Hunter recreation’s early missions, Aiden’s Velociprey hunt will get interrupted by a Velocidrome, a a lot larger model of the raptorlike monster. Earlier than the Velocidrome can end Aiden off, a extra seasoned Hunter swoops in and takes it out with ease — a sense that any new Hunter who has performed with seasoned associates is effectively conscious of.
The remainder of Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild’s runtime options Aiden and Julius — the Geralt lookalike Guild Hunter who saved Aiden — attempting to cease a rampaging Teostra earlier than it wipes out a valley’s value of villages. And right here, we see Aiden go from a wannabe Hunter with a forged iron skillet strapped to his chest to a real slayer of beasts.
Aiden’s “coaching” is what Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild will get proper. Not solely does he ask excitedly in regards to the larger, scarier monsters he’s desirous to hunt, however he fails spectacularly towards every monster he and Julius encounter. Whereas Julius and different Hunters attempt to tackle creatures, Aiden fulfills the position of the participant avatar, getting strung up in webs, dragged round arenas, and hit by a lot of the monster’s assaults.
In true Monster Hunter trend, Aiden’s blunders make his group’s hunt far more durable than it must be. However when the hunt is over and Aiden is overwhelmed, bruised, and coated in viscera, he’s thrilled at his group’s minor accomplishment. It’s the identical enthusiasm that propels all gamers by way of their early Monster Hunter journey, irrespective of how badly they’ve fumbled. All through Aiden’s story, he builds new confidence and folds the second issues get tough. However he grows from every hunt.
Getting Monster Hunter proper
It’s a bit trite, however Legends of the Guild does a pleasant job of progressing Aiden down the Hunter’s path. He goes from fumbling by way of a hunt, to false confidence, to failing on the first signal of actual hassle, to lastly being that hero Hunter each participant finally ends up as in the event that they follow the collection. It’s a relatable journey, and one which Monster Hunter followers know effectively.
Whereas Legends of the Guild does effectively with the license — the toughest a part of making one thing like this — it does fail on some fairly primary ranges. The enhancing can result in complicated cuts and odd digicam shifts. The CG-animated artwork model seems to be first rate on the poster, however the faces are flat and boring in movement. And the film tries to pack an excessive amount of character backstory into a really quick runtime.
However as a fan of the video games, I didn’t really feel like my time spent watching Aiden’s hunt was fully wasted. Legends of the Guild is clearly made by individuals who perceive how the video games work, and need to see that translated to a distinct medium.
Director Steve Yamamoto has labored on visible results — principally as a previsualization supervisor — for some visible feasts like Justice League, Deadpool 2, and the Transformers films. However Legends of the Guild is his directorial debut, and there are certain to be some rising pains there. The movie’s points might dissolve in a sequel with a much bigger funds, a much less awkward midlength runtime (both longer or shorter can be extra appropriate), and a extra skilled director, whether or not it’s Yamamoto’s second time on the wheel, or a brand new director altogether. However the take care of Capcom’s license can’t be taught.
Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild could result in a divided film viewing expertise: Audiences unfamiliar with Monster Hunter received’t get a lot out of this story, however Hunters will see themselves in Aiden’s adventures, and that’s value an hour of messy enhancing and ugly artwork.
Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild is streaming on Netflix now.