Movie 411: The Last Witch Hunter

Genres: fantasy

Directed:Breck Eisner (Sahara)

Screenplay: Corey Goodman (Priest), Matt Sazama (Dracula Untold), & Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold)

Rated: PG-13

Released:October 23, 2015

The Hook: Witchcraft, duh!

I’ll be totally honest, this movie flew under the radar for me. It wasn’t until a week or so ago that I saw the trailer and it looked pretty cool. And I know you’re probably thinking I’m being sarcastic when I say witchcraft instead of Vin Deisel, but I’m not. I respect him as an actor, but he’s never been a “draw” for me. Anyway, The Last Witch Hunter.

The Plot Summary: The story focuses on Kaulder, an ancient warrior who killed the Witch Queen back in … like 800 years ago. With her dying breath, she cursed him with immortality and now, 800 years later, he’s a present day strong arm for a secret order called the Axe and Bow. This organization oversees the governing of witches, ensuring that they are not using their practice against humans and sentences any witch who does to something like a witch prison. Kaulder is assigned a single mentor, to look after his well being and safety while he conducts this service for the Axe and Bow. When the mentor he’s most closes, Dolan 36th, retires and dies on the same day, red flags go off on Kaulder’s radar … and the fun begins.

Review:
Mixed feelings about this one, from start to finish. If I used a star rating system, I’d say this movie would come in around 3 stars, maybe 3 1/2.

The storyline was solid. It was something different, but it has a solid foundation. In the world of magic, secret sects are common. A ruling class to ensure magical beings can live among humans without drawing attention? Again, not uncommon. A cursed being? Same. These concepts have been done before, but they’re solid because it works. I think when a plot has something we’re familiar with, we’re interested in presentation and plausibility. Axe and Bow? Catchy name. A mentor, or more accurately, a personal historian? Nice touch. With an 800 year old immortal warrior being your most valuable asset and dangerous liability and threat, it’s good to have a choronicler to get it all down.

While the plot had certain elements I enjoyed, it fell flat. It lacked a certain charm, maybe? Again I’m finding it hard to place why a movie didn’t “wow” me, but I’m usually easy to please so when a movie falls short, it takes a while for my brain to process. Maybe it’s because the plot was predictable? To by-the-book? Those are the best ways to describe it.

I will say this though … Spoiler Alert! … I love their use of dream walkers! I was pleasantly surprised with how they used dream walking as a magical element. I haven’t seen it done before. We’ve seen dream walking as a type of science, like in Dreamscape (1984) and Inception (2010), but I loved it depicted in this magical sense. … End Spoiler Alert!

Special effects rocked. It wasn’t over-the-top or cheesy. It had the right combination of fantasy and reality. The one gripe though was the prison guard, so to speak. That was just a little hokey. Also, it looked like Eisner did a combination of special effects and straight up stunt work because there were scenes where CG could have been used but it was too raw and real to be computer enhanced. I always appreciate that kind of work. And while we’re on the subject of cinema-magic, the camera work on this film was awesome. I’d say it was straight shooting, nothing too fancy, and that worked well with this film. The combination of camera work and graphics worked well.

And all that’s left is the acting. Awesome. Even though Diesel, who plays Kaulder (of course!), isn’t on my faves list (and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t bug him), I like his work and he did well in this one. Acting opposite of our leading man is our leading lady, Rose Leslie as Chloe. I haven’t seen her before, but I love her! She reminds me of Emma Stone, in the sense where they have a strong on-screen presence, at least for me. They command my attention whenever the camera is on them. Among these leading roles are the supporters and you have a strong one with Michael Kane, acting as Dolan 36th. I absolutely love him! And even though all I could think of was “Alfred” while watching him in this one, he does such a good job in whatever role he’s cast as. The other supporting actor is Elijah Wood, as Dolan 37th, and he’s another one who I’m not particularly drawn too. He does a good job in this supporting role, though, and I’m still deciding how I feel about seeing him on screen again. That’s our core cast and while there were others weaved into this story, this crew really took up the screen time.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie and I’d watch it again. More than once, even, so I would buy the DVD and add it to my library even with a three star-ish rating. As I said, it’s a solid story.

 

References
Photo: IMDb
Movie Credits: IMDb

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