By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Available to view on Netflix
Not everyone can be a Monster Hunter, and if Legends of the Guildis any indication, this animated take makes for a better introduction than the dry live-action one from last year. Not everyone has to know the video game world, and this film does a better job at introducing the basics. Ever since its release in 2004, this franchise created by Capcom has its loyal cult following.
By going full CGI, this film has a lot more to like. The world is a lot more alive when compared to the live-action and the bringing together of characters from the games will certainly be a draw for those who know the IP in and out.
To have this film focus on the events from the perspective of Aiden (voiced by Dante Basco, who is learning the ropes, makes a lot more sense than having an archaeological adventure like Stargate the Movie sort of did. He becomes an apprentice to Julius, and together the narrative becomes very familiar in a True Grit style take of how young Luke met Obi-Wan and undergoes training. As for the big bad, that’s the Elder Dragon the two have to face.
No knowledge of the games is truly required as this story is a classic hero’s journey. Those who do know them will get more out of this tale, but for newcomers like me, what I’m finding is an adventure straight out of Jurassic Park. I did try one game some years ago, but was struggling to enjoy it since that used copy didn’t come with a guidebook to introduce me to this realm.
This tale looks like it borrows from Seven Samurai and has reignited my interest with the games. As for the live-action, I always thought it failed because it’s cheaper to film in a desert environment. Sets can be left crumbling and who knows, in a few years, it can be repurposed so that it looks right the next time ’round.
3½ Monsters out of 5