Warhammer 40k takes a step in new boots with a film made just for fans of the classic tabletop game. Ultramarines is a feature length movie, an hour and a half, that does a good job of bringing the 40k universe to the big screen and home viewing. While the visuals weren’t Avatar quality but it was definitely a step in the right direction for these kinds of movies.
Ultrmarines drops you onto a Marine vessel that originates from the charter Macragge, the ship’s home world, and takes you through the life of newly christened Ultramarines. After receiving a distress call from an outpost manned by their Imperial brethren, the Ultramarines set out to taste first blood. Once landed the Marines must figure out why the distress beacon was activated. It’s here that the movie drags for a good bit as it builds suspense but keeps it running for too long. However it picks up after what seems like a long walk and the core of the movie begins to show.
Even as a movie just for the fans of the tabletop game, I came away feeling that I had learned a good amount from the movie. Personally I have only played the game once and only run into it a few other times and the movie a good job of making it clear who I was watching, who was being fought, and just what exactly was going on. The lore behind why the marines were fighting, what they were fighting, and a general feel for their universe was laid out in a comfortable fashion and didn’t distract from the movie. By the time the movie was over I wanted to watch more because of the atmosphere that was created with the characters. The Emperor was made to sound as the most bad ass dude that lived which made me want to see these guys and him in action.
This was a film for the fans and thus didn’t have the biggest budget but they made due with what they had. The level of detail on the marines easily outshines the details of the environments and some of the enemies. There also seems to be a lack of actual weight to the characters and their outfits, their footsteps are not heavy, armor seems to just ‘be there’ with no realistic properties applied to it. Only aboard their vessel to their weapons and armor seem to actually exist. Facial animation is also lacking but only in the finer points of human expression. Too many times the choice was made to go extremely close up into a character’s face which distorted the view quite a bit. The fight scenes were well coordinated and entertaining, giving the marines the right amount of power for the weapons they manned.
Voice acting was a strong point for the movie and I felt that it really helped me enjoy the whole movie. With the help of Terence Stamp, Valkyrie and Wanted, and John Hurt, Hellboy and Alien, the cast delivers a compelling performance with a strong script behind them. This combination of elements and actors is one of the main reasons I enjoyed this film and saw it as a step in the right direction for fan movies.
Warhammer 40k: Ultramarines is an entertaining experience that brings the tabletop universe to life. A solid voice cast with the right amount of lore and use of weapons makes this movie an entertaining ride for those that are deep into the tabletop game. For thsoe that are just getting into the series I would recommend holding off until you find out where your loyalties lie, be they with the Blood Emperor or the Warp. Stuff We Like gives Ultramarines a “B” rating. You can buy the box set from their website here.
StuffWeLike.com was invited to a free screening of the above movie, which was also open to the public.