Monster Hunter is a series of games that has been around since 2004. With the latest installment, “Monster Hunter Legends Of The Guild,” Capcom managed to create a game that was both short and imperfect.
The Monster Hunter Legends Of The Guild is a short, imperfect game that will be enjoyed by those who are fans of the Monster Hunter series.
Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild does what few video game adaptations can: it captures the spirit of the original material. While the Netflix film succeeds in this area, it falls short in other areas, such as pace and character development, preventing it from being one of the greatest game adaptations.
In a framing story that closes Netflix’s short animated film Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild, one Hunter, Aiden, takes a page from the experienced sailor Quint in Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. On a ship bound for a new world, hunters debate how they would kill the old dragon Zorah Magdaros. Aiden is a 20-something redhead who waxes poetically about doll’s eyes, not a grumpy old fisherman who drags his claws down a blackboard to quiet them. The atmosphere, on the other hand, remains the same. Elder dragons represent a serious danger, and Aiden has a personal tale to tell his new Hunter friends about why they should be worried.
Monster Hunter 4: Legends of the Guild is a prequel that also ties to Monster Hunter World. Aiden (Dante Basco) is a young guy who claims to be a hunter but is no match for the true creatures that lurk outside his little village. He’s familiar with Velocipreys and Deviljhos, and he’s always ready with a corny monster joke, just like in the games, but he’s still not the Ace Cadet or the Dorky A-Lister we’ve come to know and love. He must gather a team of experienced Ace Hunters to help him in destroying the monster before his home is destroyed after he learns that his hamlet is on an Elder Dragon’s migratory route.
Legends of the Guild is essentially “Seven Samurai with a Giant Dragon,” which sounds great but doesn’t always work. Simply said, this film doesn’t have the time or the script to go beyond the bare-bones archetype of strangers coming together to rescue a town from a great evil. With a running length of 58 minutes, it’s hardly longer than a premium TV episode, which means it doesn’t have much time to develop its characters beyond clichés like the stoic leader, the clever one, and the one with a bad history.
Similarly, the storylines jump around so quickly that you may have whiplash by the time the credits roll. Some fans may not be bothered by the absence of characterisation since Julius and Nadia, two well-known hunters from the games, are introduced in the film. If you aren’t intimately acquainted with NPCs from an 8-year-old game or just want more from a character than a recognized name, Legends of the Guild falls short.
That said, it does an excellent job at recreating the feeling of playing a Monster Hunter game while also adding to the world in little but meaningful ways. In addition to gaining fame and more powerful weaponry, we witness more of the day-to-day goals of hunters, such as studying a Nerscylla or calculating Lunastra’s wingspan. It also makes a comment on the act of hunting itself, in a manner that the games merely hint at. Poaching, for example, plays a key part in the film, as Julius explains that before the guild was formed, hunters used to kill creatures in huge numbers, causing the world to go out of balance and wreaking havoc on the ecosystem. This might be an interesting addition to the game’s narrative if additional Legends of the Guild movies are produced.
Basco’s Aiden, who has the same brash charm that made Zuko a fan favorite in Avatar: The Last Airbender, helps to compensate for the weak characterizations. Regardless, there seems to be some odd movement around the facial emotions that is out of sync with the voice acting. Fortunately, the rest of the animation is fantastic. Pure Imagination Studios’ Steven F. Yamamoto and his team bring the titular creatures to life. At times, the monsters’ motions mirror those in the games, and the way they behave and fight is faithful to the original material. The many action sequences are wonderfully rendered, and there are a few instances worth mentioning on Twitter.
Yamamoto has worked as a previsualization supervisor on visual effects for films such as Justice League, Deadpool 2, and the Transformers movie. Legends of the Guild, on the other hand, is his directorial debut, so there will undoubtedly be some growing pains. A sequel with a bigger budget, a less uncomfortable midlength duration (either longer or shorter would be preferable), and a more experienced director, whether Yamamoto’s second time behind the camera or someone else altogether, may be able to fix the film’s flaws.
Despite the absence of a narrative and people in Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild, seeing what seems to be an extended cut scene from the game come to life is definitely fascinating. The animated fights are stunning, and even die-hard fans of the games will be surprised by a few shocks, since the film portrays parts of the world that have never been seen before. If it demonstrates anything, it’s that there’s room for additional feature films in the Monster Hunter world. Let’s hope the next one has a little more breathing space.
Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild may have two distinct cinematic experiences: Those unfamiliar with Monster Hunter won’t gain anything from this tale, but Hunters will identify themselves in Aiden’s adventures. Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild features weak characters and a slow pace that raises emotional stakes without reason. Regardless, it offers beautiful graphics and a true depiction of what it’s like to play one of the games.