Video game movies may not have the best reception, but recent hits changed things for the better. Looking to continue this upward trend is live-action adaptation of the hit Capcom game franchise Monster Hunter, coming from the husband/wife team of director Paul W.S. Anderson and action star Milla Jovovich.
In more ways than the obvious, Monster Hunter is going to be a very different adaptation. The trailers showed fans just enough of this new vision, but not everything has been revealed. Assuming that no unforeseen circumstances occur, Monster Hunter is set to hit theaters on December 25, 2020.
10 American Soldiers Go To The Monster Hunter World
The most contentious revelation about Monster Hunter is its plot, which bears no resemblance to any game in the franchise. The movie will follow Capt. Natalie Artemis (Jovovich), a US Army Ranger whose unit stumbles upon a portal to the world of Monster Hunter. Canonically, the movie occurs after Monster Hunter: World.
Anderson’s logic for this is that a wholly original cast and story is the perfect gateway for audiences to the games’ world instead of using an established character. Time will tell if this was the right call or otherwise but as of this writing, the fanbase has been mockingly comparing the movie to lowbrow isekai anime.
9 The Monster Hunter Language May Be Used
The Monster Hunter games take place in a fantasy world filled with different races and creatures, so it makes sense that the humans living there would have their own unique language. While the trailers have yet to show someone speaking a full sentence using the in-game dialect, it wouldn’t be surprising if The Hunter (Tony Jaa) spoke this way.
So far, trailers showed The Hunter and Capt. Artemis struggling with their language barrier. The only things they understand are the monsters’ names and some simple gestures. The biggest hint at the language’s use was the trailer for Natalie’s in-game skin for Monster Hunter World: Iceborne, where Admiral (more on him later) approaches her while talking in the in-universe tongue.
8 Milla Jovovich Has An In-Game Skin
Capt. Artemis doesn’t appear anywhere in the games, but Capcom has seen fit to retroactively fix this. In the Artemis “Monster Hunter” Movie Quest two-part Event Quest that’s coming on December 4, 2020, Monster Hunter World: Iceborne players will get to play as Capt. Artemis. Not only will they receive exclusive movie tie-in items, but they’ll get to see how the movie and games connect.
This is a step up for Jovovich, as far as her video game movies go. Though she headlines the Resident Evil series as Alice, she never appeared in the games before or after the movies. Capt. Artemis’ DLC marks Jovovich’s video game debut.
7 Milla Jovovich Chose Capt. Artemis’ Weapons
If you go to the comments section of any Monster Hunter trailer, it won’t be too hard to find jokes about Capt. Artemis’ poor choice of weapons and armor. One scene fans took notice of was Capt. Artemis using fiery Dual Blades against the fire-resistant Rathalos, which is a dumb in-game move, to put it nicely. Another was her charging into a boss battle wearing what looks like low-level armor.
These inconsistencies aren’t accidental; in fact, they were Jovovich’s choices. To help herself get in character, Jovovich picked weapons and armor that she used in-game. She grew a fondness for the Dual Blades, which she described as “beautiful” when used in combat. Also, she scored more kills when using them.
6 The Director Is A Big Monster Hunter Fan
Anderson is no stranger to video games, getting his start with Mortal Kombat before defining his career with Resident Evil. It should come as no surprise that Monster Hunter also happens to be one of his favorite games, and adapting it was one of his passion projects. As early as 2008, Anderson planned a Monster Hunter movie and pitched it many times. By 2016, Capcom finally agreed to let him helm the adaptation.
Anderson being a fan informed his different take on Monster Hunter, as he’s more interested in recapturing the excitement of the games while giving older fans something new yet familiar instead of just recreating cutscenes. When looking back at his previous video game works, Anderson says that Monster Hunter is the most invested he’s ever been.
5 Some In-Game Characters Will Appear
Just because Monster Hunter is an original story doesn’t mean that none of the franchise’s beloved characters will appear. So far, The Hunter, The Admiral (Ron Perlman), The Handler (Hirona Yamazaki), and Meowscular Chef (plus probably more Palicoes) were confirmed in the trailers.
Additionally, the player character will be in the movie, somewhat. According to Anderson, he wrote Capt. Artemis to be grounded, from the real world and foreign to the Monster Hunter world, theoretically giving her a more tangible connection with players. Basically, she’s a fresh new player character who’s just experiencing the in-game world for the first time.
4 There Are Only 6 Monsters, At Best
In a revelation that’s bound to anger Monster Hunter fans, the movie only uses a whopping five or six monsters. So far, the trailers showed Diablos (left) and Rathalos (right), leaving the others to be discovered. While purists would find an issue with this, there are some practical reasons for the limited monster count.
Logistically, it would be too expensive for just one movie to adapt all the Monster Hunter creatures. Of the hundreds of fantastical beasts, Anderson decided to focus on six. He also said that the movie (which is intended to be the start of a franchise) is just “scratching the surface,” leaving the door open for other iconic behemoths to make the cinematic leap in the future.
3 The Game’s Developers Had Hands-On Involvement
Understandably, Monster Hunter fans were worried and even pissed when the trailers featured soldiers firing guns at Diablos. The movie didn’t look anything like the games, leading some to fear that this was another case of Hollywood bastardizing a game. Luckily, the opposite is true.
The games’ producer Ryozo Tsujimoto (above, right) and director Kaname Fujioka (above, left) were onboard every step of the way, keeping an eye on every creative decision Anderson made. From the monsters’ movements to the items used and even to the locations chosen, Monster Hunter’s key developers made sure the movie did their famous games justice.
2 A Sequel Is Already Being Written
Monster Hunter has yet to hit theaters and yet, Anderson is already writing a sequel as early as now. While a franchise spawning from a video game movie isn’t unheard of, this may come off as a bit surprising due to how fast the production of a follow-up to a currently unreleased movie is.
In an interview, Jovovich revealed that her husband was already writing another story set in his Monster Hunter universe. Details are (obviously) scarce, but it’s safe to assume that Capt. Artemis will return in some fashion. After all, Jovovich is excited for Monster Hunter and would love to do another one.
1 The Original Concept Was More Kid-Friendly
As polarizing as having soldiers in a humvee shoot Greater Rathalos may be, the original version of Monster Hunter would’ve undoubtedly been more controversial. In early drafts, Anderson actually envisioned the movie to be a family friendly affair starring a kid. Here, 16-year-old Lucas is dragged into the parallel universe of Monster Hunter, where he would be trained to fight the creatures so that their forthcoming invasion of the modern world can be stopped.
Anderson stuck with this concept for some time before scrapping it altogether, feeling that the young adult craze was oversaturated. This convinced him to switch genres and go for a more adventurous military-themed story in the vein of Avatar and Raiders of the Lost Ark. While Monster Hunter’s current state doesn’t inspire confidence in the entire fanbase, it’s better than its previous inception that could’ve gone as well as The Dark Tower did.