Well I won’t bother with a review of Ultramarines: The Movie considering how many are already out there — John Regal’s of DakkaDakka is a useful one. One thing I have not seen are many comments on the DVD extras. The set includes a second DVD full of extra stuff. Some of it is rather simple weapon database type stuff but it also includes some 40K background, information on the actors, as well as a 25min making-of piece that is very good. Overall there is probably another 40mins of material on the second DVD. You will need to go to the Thunderhawk and some of the other sections to unlock access to many of the other extras. Also included is a 36-page full-color comic that is only mildly interesting and probably more useful for those new to 40K in general. All components are of high quality.
I have now seen the new Warhammer 40,000 movie a couple of times. I rate it a 6 out of 10 if you are a WH40K fan. If you are just a sci-fi fan in general it is probably a 5 out of 10. That may not sound very good but I think the movie is in fact worth buying and worth watching. Considering this was the first WH40K movie ever done and the limits of the budget I think they did a respectable job. Considering Dan Abnett wrote the screenplay I was a bit disappointed in the story. But if 40K fans want to see bigger and better movies done in the future they need to support this release or that will surely be the end of that.
- Animation Quality: Ranges from good to very good. It is nowhere near the level of a Pixar film but is sufficient for the job. In many of the scenes the characters seem to be walking on smoke. In addition, the figure animations are somewhat off and there is a general lack of mass and gravity. Having said that, the Land Speeder animation is very good and it makes you wonder why they did not do a vehicle heavy story instead that would have helped mitigate a lot of the issues they seemed to have had.
- Model Design: Ranges from good to excellent. They had to modify the look of the Space Marines a tad to actually make them work. The ironic thing is I think one major fault is that they tried to stay too true to WH40K. For example, the weapons are ridiculously huge and in some shots just seem silly. The main complaint really is that there simply are not enough models in the movie (no Rhinos, Terminators, Dreadnoughts, frigates, fighters, etc). But of course this goes back to the limited budget.
- Set Design: Generally good. Here I think personal preference will rule. They stayed very true to the fluff of 40K and even used the designs of existing 40K building models in the sets. Sometimes the sets look like game boards more than actual environments. Like many video games, many of the sets were very vacant, which just seems odd. Inside the Strike Cruiser are these vast open areas of nothing. I think the movie would have been better off being in a Space Hulk instead of where they did it for both visual and budget reasons. I also think making the environments a bit less literal Gothic would have helped. Sometimes you would think they were making a vampire movie or something.
- Sound: Generally very good. I would have preferred different sounds for many things but that is just personal taste.
- Story: Good. More like a 50-100 page short story than a true feature length film (it is, after all, only 70mins long). The story is a bit slow, predictable and somewhat disappointing overall. But even though the movie was certainly made for the hardcore fan I think they were trying to open it up a bit to a more general audience as well. This duality may have thrown things off a bit. The story will probably annoy the hardcore fan more than the casual fan.
- Voice Acting: Outstanding. Without a doubt the highlight of the film is the voice acting. The actors did a fantastic job and were well cast.
Overall the sum is probably greater than the parts and it was fun to see 40K come to life, even if imperfectly. With luck we will see a bigger, better film next time around.