To coin a new version of an old phrase, if you’re truly a fan of the property you’re adapting, you’ll never work a day on set. If you’re someone that really gets the material you’re working with, the results can be pretty inspiring, which is something that’s readily apparent in the way writer/director Paul W.S. Anderson has approached his latest film, Monster Hunter. Though the man behind flicks like Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat is a practiced professional when it comes to turning video games into live action films, this latest Capcom franchise was especially influenced by the fact that Anderson has been playing them for a long time.
I attended the Monster Hunter press day on behalf of CinemaBlend to discuss the latest franchise Paul W.S. Anderson has lent his blockbuster talents to. And with this new project, Anderson had a very personal connection to the material, as he’s been playing the games for almost as long as he’s wanted to make the movie. That passion led to the bedrock of Mr. Anderson’s approach, which can be described as follows:
Well, I love the game so much. I mean, I wanted the movie to be very, very close to the game, and it is in so many details. The landscapes we shoot in, the look of the creatures couldn’t be closer to the games. The costumes that the characters wear, and the characters that Milla meets are all taken from the video game. The world of Monster Hunter is very much on screen, and I think any fan of the game will know that; and I’ve worked very closely with the creators of the game to make sure I’ve got it as accurate as possible.
So how much of a Monster Hunter fan is Paul W.S. Anderson? Well, he’s been playing the games since around 2008, which was so early in the lifecycle of the franchise that the series apparently hadn’t caught on in markets outside of Japan at that time. But during his work on the Resident Evil franchise and recurring trips to that particular country, the Monster Hunter games grew on Anderson. Ultimately, he was convinced he wanted to turn the games into a movie, and the rest was history.
Paul W.S. Anderson’s fandom for Monster Hunter kept him pretty faithful to the sorts of characters he wanted to include from the game series. Ron Perlman’s Admiral is a prime example; a character that even sees the former Hellboy actor sporting the trademark facial hair of his video game counterpart. Not to mention, we’re also introduced to a character known as Meowscular Chef, a member of the Monster Hunter species known as Palicoes. He’s the cook on Admiral’s ship, and in case the name didn’t give it away, he’s a cat that can cook and fight with swords that channel his fire abilities.
On the villainous end, we get the roster of monsters that Milla Jovovich’s Captain Artemis gets to hunt throughout the survival epic that unfolds. Creatures like the Black Diablo, which attacks the joint operations task force that Captain Artemis is a part of, and the Greater Rathalos, which is shown in all of its fire breathing glory in the Monster Hunter trailer, get to be brought to life in living, breathing color. But mindful of his audience, and the fact that not everyone is going to enter this film as a huge fan of the franchise, Paul W.S. Anderson made sure to invent a new character in Captain Artemis, which in its own way ties into one of the aspects at the core of Monster Hunter’s play mechanics:
I haven’t strayed from the games, because it’s an aspect of the game, but it may one people are not quite expecting, is that when you play the game, you create your own character. You’re not playing a set character, it’s a new character that you make. And that’s the plot of the movie, we follow a new character that’s kind of entering this world. Which is a character from our world. … It serves two purposes. If you’re a video game afficionado, it can recreate the sense of wonder you first had when you played the game for the first time. Or, if you’re somebody who doesn’t know anything about Monster Hunter, and you don’t know anything about video games, you don’t feel excluded. This is a movie you can come see, because the central character’s your avatar.
Monster Hunter is in theaters today, and if you’re feeling safe enough to head out to theaters, you’ll want to track this beast down in IMAX. If you’re going to hunt monsters, you may as well do it big. Also, if you want to find some fun at the movies in the near future, take a look at our 2021 release schedule and find your next adventure at the movies.