Sunday, 14 August 2011

Ultramarines: The Movie (Film Review)

This is a good film, a very good one. Specifically for its focus upon pleasing its fanbase. Something which it does far better than many movies I can name. It’s flawed certainly, but it remained more far loyal to the source material than most big budget blockbusters. Here’s a comparison:
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen had $200,000,000 put into it. The result was dogs humping, the titular giant robots being bit players in their own film and gave the middle finger to fans of Autobots everywhere.
Ultramarines: The Movie had less than a quarter of the budget of the above example. The result was General Zod, Professor Bruttenholm and Colonel Hakha teaming up to fight daemon worshippers and was made specifically for the fans.

I am mentioning this is because this review is going to be from an unbiased perspective. If I were to write this as the Warhammer fan I am this review would be nothing but me gushing over it. If you’re a fan of Warhammer; this film is strongly recommended. If you’re not, the following is what to expect.
The film focuses around a small detachment of space marines as they answer a distress beacon from a shrine world. The mission quickly goes wrong from there.
A simple enough plot but the film unfortunately still needs padding to help make its run time. At least a good ten minutes could have been skipped to get to the action. Big chunks of the film are waiting for the story to plod along to something good and this is not the only area in which the script falls short. Characters spout hoaky dialogue and unnecessary observations which seem as if they would be more at home in a comicbook than a film.
The story was unfortunately supposed to be the film’s strength as the CGI is woefully sub par. Bare faced the characters look like animatronic wax dolls of multiple stroke victims rather than human beings, which is likely why they spend most of the film in snarling full face helmets.

The film really shines during the enclosed action scenes as the camera work is fast paced and well done, the sort of frantic thing you need here. This leads to the obvious question of exactly why only two of the battles take place indoors, and the two which are in the open contain some very disjointed editing.
The big name actors in the lead roles give very strong performances, especially Terrence Stamp, and the cannon fodder do a good job to express somewhat individual personalities before they are bumped off.  This combined with the excellent musical score and attention to the details to each individual’s armour are aspects which help to give the film character.

If you’re not a fan it’s not worth spending £26 to buy the collectors edition, but it’s well worth getting the HD download as an action film.  See this one if you’re at all interested in the universe of the 41st millennium. Just keep your expectations grounded.


Warhammer 40,000 and all related characters and media are owned by Games Workshop.
Ultramarines: The Movie was made by Codex Pictures

Images were taken from

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