Never seen or read ‘The Witcher’ series nor played the game? That shouldn’t stop you from watching the 2021 Netflix original film ‘The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf’. If you’ve read some fantasy books in your life, you’ll get the hang of everything within the first five minutes. (I haven’t seen/read the series or the games either)
Directed by Kwang II Han and written by Beau DeMayo, Andrzej Sapkowski, this animated film packs in some bloody action right from the first minute. Funnily, it starts with a lyrical song, that’s almost comical to the ears, despite the melodious singing by a little boy character; the mood is disrupted by the brutal killing of his father by a monster. Enter a ‘Witcher’, the term for monster-slayers, who faces off with the funnily named demon.
Our hero, the Witcher, is called Vesemir (voiced by Theo James), who is a greedy violent monster-slayer, so well, not that much of a hero. The descendant of the first human mage called Tetra wants Vesemir & his kind annihilated from the land, claiming Witchers are nothing but corrupted mutants, who’ll do anything for ‘coin’, even if it means creating their own monsters to keep their business going. The King asks Tetra to prove her allegation, meanwhile, she is tasked to chaperone Vesemir to hunt down a new kind of monster ravaging their lands.
The animation is pretty good for most parts, except for the few scenes where the focus is on one object or person, then the lack of details in the bagkground really stands out. There are a lot of action sequences and the fight scenes are pretty good and engaging. However, there is no epic ‘battle royale’ in the movie, like the adrenaline packed ‘Isaac Versus Carmilla’ in the animated series Castlevania.
The overall mood of the film could’ve been lighter, with ‘greed’ and ‘morality’ being big themes throughout the course of the story. Vesemir has always been greedy for more in life, and the makers seamlessly weave in his origin story of how he goes from being a penniless orphan boy to a heartless man slicing monsters for money. So we have flashbacks to the past to understand the lead better. Just a little bit of romance is thrown in the mix, to perhaps appeal to a wider audience.
With a lot of story and just 90 minutes run-time, “The Witcher” rarely falters in pace and makes for an entertaining watch. For some viewers, it could be a lot of information overload in a short span of time.
It’s a 7/10 from me.
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