Wednesday, November 4, 2015

(Hopefully not the Last) Witch Hunter

Illustration by Mark J. Hiblen - support his work here!

I know, I should be adding to the word-count for my floundering NaNoWriMo effort this year, but I went to see the latest movie by the legendary Vin Diesel today - The Last Witch Hunter - and felt I had to write a blog post.

Before I discuss the movie, I do have a little disclaimer - I love Vin Diesel. I've been a huge fan of his movies ever since going to a preview screening of Pitch Black months before it was released. Mark and I went to see it as the wife was at work, and we got into the movie at the last minute and ended up sitting on the front row. The crash of the ship at the beginning was so loud and in your face it felt like we were there, and we came out thinking it was awesome. Of course, when the wife saw it, months later, she was instantly besotted with Riddick, and we've watched all of Vin's movies since.

The trailer for The Last Witch Hunter was great. Looked cool and reminded me a lot of one of my guilty pleasure movies - The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

Debs and I went to see it today and we both loved it.

Vin Diesel plays Kaulder, who ventures to kill the Witch Queen that has released a plague that has killed thousands. While he succeeds in killing the Queen, he is cursed to immortality, and in the present day he hunts witches using dark magic.

Quite a basic plot, but for a new movie it carries a lot of setting detail and some great backstory that somehow makes great sense. I was initially worried that it was going to be "all witches are evil and must be destroyed" rather like the disastrous Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, but it addresses witches and witchcraft in a positive way.

Witches are allowed to continue as long as they don't do anything to humans, and they have a secret presence in society with cool underground bars and communities that us mere Muggles are unaware of.

It's the witches and warlocks that decide to use dark magic, and threaten the peace that Kaulder, under the control of a secret society subgroup of the church known as the Axe and Cross. Kaulder has his own "watcher" in the shape of the Dolan (Michael Caine, and then Elijah Wood), and in true "buddy movie" fashion Kaulder the Witch Hunter must team up with Chloe (Rose Leslie), a witch, to hunt down the dark witches planning on resurrecting the witch queen.

Debs was convinced I was keen to see it not only because of it being Vin Diesel, but mostly because there is a lot of "dreamwalking" in the movie - going into Kaulder's dreams and memories to hunt for clues. While this is really cool in the movie, there were a couple of moments that actually had me going "this is so f***ing cool" in the cinema.

The first is in the first couple of minutes, when the ancient and beardy hunters enter the tree hideout of the witch queen. One of the hunters throws an axe, and when he goes to pick it out of the wall, thorns stab out of the handle that poison him with magic.

The other is during a fight in Chloe's bar when Kaulder attacks one of the big bads in the movie. His attack stops in mid-air as if it's hit something, what looks like a sheet of glass that has magically appeared - a protective forcefield. Cracks appear in the air, and the shape of arcane runes appear in space. Just really, really cool.

You can tell that Kaulder was inspired by Vin Diesel's D&D character - the whole thing feels like an epic roleplaying game with a cool setting, a logical series of investigative steps, and some groovy action sequences. It's certainly a game I'd play - hell, it's certainly a game I'd write if Vin gave me half the chance!!

I know it's not going to change the world or win awards, but I just thoroughly enjoyed it and would heartily recommend it.

Okay, back to NaNoWriMo...

Happy writing, stay multi-classy and LLAP.

No comments: