So on Sunday, I got to see the Ultramarines movie made by Codex Pictures at their Glendale fan screening. I also won a T-shirt and was able to bring home enough collector's pins and DVD coupons for everyone in my club. So yeah, it was a great day. Anyways, on to the review.
I'm reviewing this movie by four categories: Plot, Fluff-Accuracy, Animation, and Msc. This miscellaneous category is everything I feel should be covered but isn't.
Now, first off, SPOILER ALERT
The story starts out with a new Tactical Squad investigating a distress beacon, eventually finding that they will be entering the figurative meat grinder, yet pressing on to find an answer. The battles in there are all well done, along with the character development of one of the main characters, Proteus. However, some of the things non-40kers/inexperienced 40kers may not understand. There are plenty of examples, so I won't list them.
The movie isn't correct according to today's SM fluff, but Dan Abnett is a more classic person, so the movie is fairly accurate by my book. The apothecary is drawing the gene-seed of the marines from their chest, there is a rivalry/distrust between the chapters, even the better-off ones, and the weapons work as described (especially that slow motion bolter round). However, what I don't get is how a Captain and an Apothecary are only leading one tactical squad. I understand that SM are elite, but I'd figure at least another Combat squad would be more reasonable. I don't exactly know what the Chaplain was doing when he did that "Turn Heretic" thing though. Was it Litanies of Hate?
My expectations for the animation work was not that high, considering I've seen Codex Pictures' work before (Lego Bionicle movie), but they did pretty good for a movie on an extremely low budget of 14 million (Compare that to Toy Story 3's budget of 200 million). There are spots where the animation shows, and others where I think it's close to the real deal. I also would like to say that they did what I think is an excellent job on the Chaos, especially the Greater Demon/Demon Prince.
Action Scenes: All of the battles are in the second half, which makes it all the more action-y. My favorite one would be the final one inside the Battle barge, and a close second would be the 'extraction' one.
Voiceovers: The new recruits sound nice, fresh, and young, just like they should, while the Apothecary's voice is old and ancient. The Captain's falls in between, and it sounds fairly reasonable
Music: There isn't much music, but when there is, it's fitting for the scenes, and sounds alright.
Concept: Personally, I would have favored an actual full-scale battle like the Battle of Macragge (I finally know how to pronounce it!). However, it's alright, and it falls into the not bad but not good either category for me.
Camera Shots: One of the worst parts of the movie, other than the animation. Certain transitions made my eyes (they're sensitive) hurt by going from extreme bright to pitch black, and I feel that some more aerial shots of the battles should have been included. Also, the Space Marine's perspective shots weren't that amazing either. To be frank, the opening one reminded me of Call of Duty.
It definitely was a great film for the fans of 40k, but it may have some trouble approaching more general audiences. Also, being rated R doesn't exactly help it get more views (they weren't checking for age at the screening, thank god). Anyhow, I also got a coupon code at the end of the film, and for reading through that review (which I'm sure was crappy), I'm going to save you $8 on the film by giving you the code. It's TRU11 and it expires in July this year. Enjoy!
Oh, and another thing, I'll post up the pics of me in my Ultramarines T-shirt and the pin at a later date.