Most film adaptations of video games (minus Detective Pikachu and the first Mortal Kombat movie) are said to be cursed with bad reviews and being terrible overall. Some of the cursed video game movies include Resident Evil, Lara Croft, and Warcraft. With that in mind, the newest video game adaptation just dropped on Netflix last month. It’s called The Witcher. We have to watch the pilot episode to see if this new series is worth a watch or not.
The Witcher is a fantasy adventure series starring ex-Superman Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra, and Freya Allan. It is directed by Russian director Alik Sakharov, who worked on Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, and Dexter to name a few of his projects. The series is interestingly based on the book series written by Andrzej Sapkowski. These books actually inspired the video game series. The first season is based off of the prequel short stories ‘The Last Wish’ and ‘Sword of Destiny’ and not on the video games. Hopefully, because of this, it’ll escape the curse after all.
The Witcher is about a monster hunter named Geralt who is a mutant and an outcast. He meets a mysterious woman named Renfri and a wizard named Stregobor in the town of Blaviken. They both want him to make opposing choices. Geralt would prefer to remain neutral in this personal conflict and talk to his horse about his adventures. As this is going on, we are introduced to the kingdom of Cintra, which is under attack by the rival kingdom of Nilfgaard. The queen and her consort have been preparing for conflict, but didn’t expect the attack so soon. The princess, Cirilla, and her country, are suddenly thrusted into war.
We open in a swamp, with a deer minding its own business. Everything looks dark and creepy with the mood being suspenseful. Suddenly, it starts off with a bang and a great action sequence with Geralt fighting a monster in an impressive way that showcases his abilities. Geralt is well written and his serious attitude is amusing to watch contrasted with the other characters. There’s a lot to him and he’s likable for that. Renfri and Geralt’s relationship is interesting to the audience members, even if she pulls the “we’re not so different” card on him, which is a cliché. His interactions with Stregobor are fascinating to witness since there is a lot of contrast and the wizard tries to manipulate him.
Princess Cirilla seems interesting. She is introduced playing in the streets as a commoner. This makes you anticipate that there’s more going on with her. Her grandmother, Queen Calanthe, and her consort are interesting characters as well. They complement each other well and seem to be very smart despite the invasion. When war breaks out, Cirilla will have to grow up fast in order to survive. The fight scenes for the war and Geralt’s encounters with monsters and humans are well shot and action packed. Some of them might be too graphic for some audience members, so be warned, there’s a lot of blood and gruesome deaths. However, the battle scenes are what you expect from a fantasy story – big and epic. Geralt’s sword skills are a sight to behold and everyone wishes they could fight like that. The choreography of his fight scenes is impressive.
The show is a good representation of the fantasy genre with its castles, swords, knights, princesses, and wizards. It also has a Game of Thrones feel to it with how gritty and dark it is and the complex characters. The story is much layered and it makes you want to watch more to see what Geralt does in his adventures next, and what happens to Cirilla. Geralt’s character is very interesting and the audience seems to like him as a rough, mysterious protagonist who seems to be annoyed with everyone. There’s something deeper from that: he’s an outcast, but he’s trying to do the right thing. Everyone else sees him as evil for being a mutant, even if he’s doing his best to help them. Audiences can relate to that struggle. We can also relate to Cirilla, who was living a peaceful live until the war happened.
All in all, the first episode of The Witcher is an exciting start of the series. We can see why it is quickly becoming the new Game of Thrones, with fans jumping onto the bandwagon. We’ve got the start of a new cultural phenomenon on our hands. It’s not cursed or going away anytime soon…