Who knew Capcom and Netflix would go out of their way to publish a movie that looks like an authentic PlayStation 2 CGI cutscene compilation for 2021?
In all seriousness though, Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild sets out what it’s supposed to do: occupy a less-than-an-hour’s worth of Monster Hunter backstory for the fan favourite character Ace Hunter from Monster Hunter 4 and onward. Here, we learn how Ace Hunter Aiden (Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Dante Basco) got his start; from a backwater village in the middle of nowhere and only fully spiralling to the trade when he meets up with seasoned hunter Julius (Brando Eaton) by chance.
The cast gets bigger with the addition of Melynx thief-slash-cat-slave Nox (Stephen Kramer Glickman), and additional hunters Mae (Erica Lindbeck) and Nadia (G.K. Bowes), as they team up and work together to take care of a looming Elder Dragon threat that’s disrupting the ecosystem in the region.
Tooth & Claw
And that’s pretty much it: a movie adaptation that is set out on showing lots of hunting and monster-slaying action along with the usual mumbo-jumbo that justifies the team battles and hunting. Classic monsters like Velocidrome, Deviljho, and Congalala get the spotlight in some decently animated fights. Though I wasn’t kidding when I said the movie does look a bit less detailed than this year’s many, many animated offerings.
We’re talking direct-to-DVD quality here that’s slightly above average than those Barbie and Disney CGI films in the mid-2000s era; the ones publishers too afraid to air in cinemas (remember those?). For comparison, last year’s Dragon’s Dogma had a great & striking visual style along with some standout animation. But unlike that narrative shitshow, there was more meat in this Monster Hunter movie’s runtime.
At the very least, there’s heart and standout visuals where it counts. Even with some awkward facial animations, cutaways, and transitions, the monster battles from start to finish are at least worth a watch. And seeing the hunters bond together and get fleshed out, even if they come off as stereotypes, is paced well.
I’ll say this: the first 15 minutes of Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild already has more respect for the source material than the live-action Monster Hunter film from that one film director who married his OC. So props to that, at least.