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The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf #MovieReview

Escaping from poverty to become a witcher, Vesemir slays monsters for coin and glory, but when a new menace rises, he must face the demons of his past.

Release Date: 08-23-2021 | MPAA Rating: TV-MA | Runtime: 1 hr 23 mins | Directed by: Kwang Il Han | Starring: Theo James, Mary McDonnell, Lara Pulver

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The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is a horror/dark fantasy animated film that’s exclusive to Netflix and in the same vein as the Castlevania animated series. The movie is based on The Witcher series of books by Andrzej Sapkowski.

Story

I feel like I have to give immediate criticism for the fact that they opened the film with a family of wealthy-looking black folks and then violently killed them less than three mintues in, all the way down to the young children. I don’t recall the term for that kind of trope but it’s definitely suspect that they felt the need to make the first onscreen deaths a black family in a franchise that is notoriously full of white characters. The film shows other black characters but they all pretty much die as well. Although death gets handed out to a lot of characters in the film so I guess that’s less of a critique.

Otherwise, the story suffers from some of the same issues that the live action series does, with several jumps in time and a little bit of muddling in the plot. But once things got going I was pretty engaged. It’s a pretty heartbreaking and bleak story, which is fitting for the Witcher franchise.

Also Vesemir is a sweetheart and a gentleman and he deserves better than what he got. That’s the closest to spoilers that I’m going to get.

Acting

The voices are pretty great in this movie. My one complaint would be the inconsistency in accent between the voices of Iliana as a child and as an adult, but that’s a small complaint. There’s not really much to say. Theo James makes a great Vesemir and I think I’ll be looking into any other work of his.

Production/Animation

The animation is on the better end of what I’ve come to expect from Netflix’s anime content. It’s not the most crisp I’ve ever seen but it was still pleasant to look at and mechanically well-executed. The action sequences were very well done, managing to show off all kinds of cool moves without being too messy or too quick to follow with the eye, which is one of my main complaints for 2D animated action and fight scenes. And the color palette was especially beautiful and caught my eye on multiple occasions. The concept art for this film must have been amazing.

The animation was done by Studio Mir, which did Avatar: The Legend of Korra among other things, so their reputation is solid and The Witcher fits in well with some of their other work.

Conclusion

I enjoyed this movie a lot. The story did leave something to be desired in execution but at least it got its point across. They probably should have added fifteen to twenty minutes to the runtime and given those plot points room to breathe. But the visual spectacle of the thing made up for a lot of my complaints. And we do get a bath scene, for those of you familiar with the franchise and have come to expect that running gag, so enjoy that.

I would recommend this one to anyone who enjoys animation and likes their fantasy on the darker side. It’s not my film of the year but it’s worth your time if anything about The Witcher or fantasy or monsters and swords and stuff catches your interest.

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┬ęSci-Fi & Scary 2019