For a while now I have been following the making of this movie here, Codex Pictures working in conjunction with Games Workshop have set out to produce the first ever official Warhammer 40,000 movie and its done entirely in cgi with a screenplay by the much loved black library and comic book writer Dan Abnett of  Gaunts Ghosts and Eisenhorn novels.

For many years myself and no doubt countless other fans have been wishing for some movies based on the Warhammer 40,000 Universe created by Games Workshop. The richness and depth of the lore is so expansive you could spend the next few years reading all the novels, background books and playing the video games and still not know everything that has been detailed. However for now at least Hollywood is too busy rebooting failed reboots and making every half assed script into a three film trilogy. Given what they have done to many a video game story adaptation perhaps it’s not a bad thing.

Anyway, this movie is a relatively small budget affair, produced by a company that made a bionicle cgi movie a few years ago. Because of the budget it is a DVD release which I have to admit normally is a warning sign to stay well clear of it but I remained hopeful with the cast sporting voice talent from Terence Stamp, Sean Pertwee and John Hurt there seemed some definite promise and now its time to tell you what I thought of the finished film.

Visually the movie is hit and miss, while the cgi is not bad at all the animation has some moments of awkwardness that don’t ring true. It’s especialy disappointing to read about all the effort they went into forcing the voice actors to keep perfectly still so they could record their facial animations because to be honest apart from one or two scenes there is little evidence of its benefit and no doubt it added to the cost of the movie and restricted the voice actors from getting their full emotion into action scenes when they had to keep their head still. If I’m honest though video game intros like Dawn of War 1 and 2 and the more recent Space Marine cgi trailers made by Blur and Plastic Wax  Studios look higher budget, better quality and more believable.

The sound quality seemed to fluctuate a little too, some of the talking and action scenes appear to be too quiet while others seem fine. While the quality of the voice acting is beneficial something about Terrence Stamp and John Hurts characters makes me think they were not too sure what they were talking about and so lacked a little confidence in their work. I am sad to say though while having such respected actors in the movie is nice I honestly think their particular parts could have been played by many less well known actors because their particular talents seemed somewhat lost on this movie.

The storyline was ok although not Dans best work, I’ve seen some other comments that say Dan Abnett didn’t deliver but I think part of the problem was the budget of the movie dictating what could and could not be shown on screen. Its fairly economical to describe a wonderful world with words and let the reader’s imagination create it but expensive to translate that into cgi so I think there were concessions made in certain scenes which didn’t help.

Overall it might seem like I hated it but to be fair I’d watch it again but I honestly couldn’t say I’d be happy to sit in a cinema with dozens of strangers having recommended they go see it. Definitely more of a film for followers of the Warhammer 40k world than the average movie goer and definitely likely to be underappreciated by anyone expecting a hollywood scale cgi adventure akin to Beowulf or any of Pixars films.

Baby steps people…baby steps, now make another one…only better please.

Advertisements