Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie
A Warhammer 40,000 Movie
|Directed by||Martyn Pick|
|Produced by||Bob Thompson
|Written by||Dan Abnett|
|Music by||Adam Harvey|
|Editing by||David Lewis Smith|
|Running time||70 min|
Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie is a science fiction CGI film set in Games Workshop's fictional Warhammer 40,000 universe and based around the Ultramarines Chapter of the Space Marines. The screenplay was written by Black Library author Dan Abnett.
The first scene opens showing a group of Space Marines of the Imperial Fists Chapter under attack from an unknown enemy. A Space Marine by the name of Nidon is told to protect "the Codex" and races to obey his orders, just before a fireball engulfs the Space Marines.
Brother Proteus (Sean Pertwee) and Captain Severus (Terence Stamp) of the Ultramarines Chapter spar in a training duel in a space marine training arena aboard a Space Marine Strike Cruiser. As the other members of Ultima Squad watch, Proteus manages to disarm Severus and demands his surrender; however Severus escapes Proteus's grasp and in turn defeats him, pronouncing that a Space Marine never yields. Afterwards the members of Ultima Squad are shown a sacred weapon of the Ultramarines, a Relic Thunder Hammer that lies in their ship's reclusium. The Captain and his right-hand man, Apothecary Pythol (Donald Sumpter) lead the Ultima initiates in a swearing-in ceremony in which they are sworn in on the Thunder Hammer, ready for their first mission as Space Marines. When the ceremony is finished, Ultima Squad prepare themselves for their mission to the planet of Mithron.
In transit to the planet's surface, Captain Severus addresses Ultima Squad, informing them that they are to respond to a distress call from Mithron that was received shortly before all contact with the planet was lost. A distress beacon is detected coming from the planet's surface but it is unknown whether it is automated. The only site of importance in the system is a shrine guarded by a full company (100 men) of the Imperial Fists. This implies that if they are calling for help, matters are truly dire. Leaving the bulk of his company on Algol to continue an ongoing campaign, Severus set off for Mithron with only the Ultima Squad for support, which including himself, totals a dozen strong. In the squad itself, Battle Brothers Proteus and Verenor (Steve Waddington) are the most eager to prove themselves in battle. On the tough and unforgiving surface of Mithron, Ultima Squad discovers that a terrible battle has taken place. The garrison force has been annihilated and the planet's Imperial shrine has been desecrated. This makes it evident to the Squad that the forces of Chaos are responsible for the attack. The squad decides they must continue and find the reason behind the distress beacon and to discern if there are any remaining survivors.
While approaching the ruins of the shrine through a canion, the Ultramarines are ambushed by Chaos Space Marines from the Black Legion. The Chaos Space Marines were entrenched in the surrounding cliffs and an old watch tower. Three Ultramarines, including Sergeant Crastor, are killed but the ambush is thwarted and the watch tower destroyed. The squad continues on the path and after navigating the obstacles enter the ruined shrine. In the a dark passage of the shrine they are attacked by a Daemon Prince. The Daemon kills another Ultramarine and engages Captain Severus, and both combatants tumble over a cliff. With Severus gone and Sergeant Crastor dead, command of the squad falls to Proteus per Severus's orders. While the rest of Ultima Squad wants to return to their Strike Cruiser and wait for reinforcements, Proteus decides to continue with the mission and find the source of the distress beacon. In the reliquary at the shrine's summit, they find Chaplain Carnak (John Hurt) and Brother Nidon (Johnny Harris), the sole surviving Imperial Fists. They reveal they have been protecting the Liber Mithrus, an ancient Codex given to the Imperial Fists at their founding by the The God-Emperor of Mankind himself, and a sacred relic to them. Ultima Squad agrees to help Carnak and Nidon take the book to safety, but Verenor and Proteus remain suspicious, questioning how just the two of them have managed to survive for so long while every last one of their fellow Imperial Fists perished.
As Ultima Squad retreats to the extraction point, they are attacked by a massive force of Black Legion Chaos Space Marines. During the fight, Ultima Squad kills many of the attackers but suffer heavy casualties as well, being reduced down to four Ultramarines, Apothecary Pythol, Chaplain Carnak, and Brother Nidon. Just as Ultima Squad are about to be overwhelmed, Severus suddenly reappears and with his help, the remains of Ultima Squad, Carnak, and Nidon manage to escape back to the strike cruiser. Upon their return, Proteus confides to Severus about his suspicions of Carnak and Nidon believing that they may have been tainted by Chaos. Proteus and Severus along with Brother Hypax (Gary Martin) confront the Imperial Fists, with Severus taking the book and discovering that it is blank. When Hypax enters with the Ultramarines standard, it ignites, indicating to the Marines the presence of Chaos. Severus declares that Carnak has been tainted by Chaos. Carnak heavily objects to this, but is killed by Severus. Nidon becomes enraged and attacks Severus but is easily thrown off and knocked unconscious.
Hypax questions why the standard continued to burn with Carnak (the supposed Daemon) dead. However, it is revealed that it is Severus that was possessed by the Daemon that he fought. The possessed Severus grabs Proteus, Hypax then grabs the chapter standard and charges the daemon pushing it into the armoury. Hypax is last seen shutting the armoury door to protect Proteus. When Proteus and Nidon return to consciousness, they find Verenor standing over Hypax's dead body, he had been impaled by the very standard he had been entrusted with protecting. Under Verenor's leadership the three marines follow the daemon, discovering the bodies of the remaining member of Ultima Squad and a heavily injured Pythol. Proteus, Verenor, and Nidon chase Severus and confront him in the ship's reclusium. Severus's body can be seen to be mutating, rapidly developing features such as sharp teeth, horns and hoves. The daemon disables Nidon then Verenor and seizes Proteus. It reveals that it plans to possess Proteus, and while disguised as him, stow away on the strike cruiser to reach the Ultramarines' homeworld of Macragge, whereupon it will use the Imperial Fists' Codex to open a warp gate, allowing a horde of daemons to descend upon and destroy Macragge as happened on Mithron. However, Pythol arrives and intervenes, saving Proteus, but is killed by the Daemon. Proteus tears the sacred Thunder Hammer from its housing in the reclusium, while Verenor distracts the Daemon. Proteus uses the Thunder Hammer to kill Severus and banish the Daemon possessing him.
Afterwards, it is shown that Proteus is eventually promoted to Sergeant with Verenor as his second in command, and both Marines are preparing to lead their own Ultramarine squad into battle. The final scene mirrors the opening one, showing the new Ultramarine recruits swearing on the same hammer that Ultima Squad had sworn on and that Proteus had used to slay Daemon Severus.
- Terence Stamp – Captain Severus
- John Hurt – Chaplain Carnak
- Sean Pertwee – Brother Proteus, a strong willed Ultramarine and probably the most capable leader and soldier who took command after the loss of Captain Severus and Sergeant Crastor.
- Steve Waddington – Brother Verenor, a Space Marine who is always poking holes in stories and is quick to point out the logic of every situation
- Donald Sumpter – Apothecary Pythol, The oldest member of the squad and somewhat beaten down by all the fighting he's done. He educates the recruits of Ultima Squad that "War is not about glory. War is about victory"
- Johnny Harris – Brother Nidon
- Ben Bishop – Sergeant Crastor, Brother Junor and Brother Remulus
- Gary Martin – Brother Hypax, Brother Maxillius and Brother Decius
- Christopher Finney – Brother Boreas and Brother Lycos
Ultramarines used Image Metrics animated facial capture techniques. Image Metrics' previous credits include Grand Theft Auto IV, Assassin's Creed II, NBA 2K10, The Black Eyed Peas’ video "Boom Boom Pow" and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In 2006, The New York Times heralded Image Metrics' techniques as "technology that captures the soul". A short teaser sequence showcasing the detail and treatment likely to be employed in the final film was released on Saturday 29 May 2010, on the official film website and simultaneously at the MCM Expo at ExCeL London. The second trailer for Ultramarines was premiered at UK Games Day at the NEC, Birmingham Sunday 26 September 2010.
The Special Edition DVD accompanied by a 32-page hardback graphic novel, Hard Choices 'What happened on Algol?', written by Dan Abnett with art by renowned comic book artist David Roach, was to be released worldwide on 29 November 2010. However, the release of the DVD was delayed due to a production problem, as reported by Codex Pictures on 29 November 2010. The exact details of the problem have not been released, however Codex Pictures reported that the issue was not with the DVD, but with one of the other components of the collector's edition DVD.
Codex Pictures had then announced that the shipping of the film will begin in the week of Monday 6 December, and that they intend to prioritise the dispatch of the film, to their customers, according to the date they received the order, with the last dispatch taking place by the end of the week. This however was not the final resolution of the situation as there are still many people who have pre-ordered as far back as October and not received their package as of 27 January 2011. This matter is confused further by Codex Pictures's own site still offering the DVD for sale, and not offering clear warning that there remains an issue regarding supply of said media.
Advanced preview screenings of Ultramarines: The Movie received generally favourable responses from a pool of selected viewers. The film itself has received mixed reviews, however, with the CGI and animations considered sub par by some. The CGI makes the Ultramarines seem "tall" and "thin", whilst much of the "set" of the film is conveniently shrouded in dust. This may have been intentional, as Space Marines in Warhammer 40,000 canon average 7-8 feet in height. Another complaint has been that, given the detail and creativity put into Warhammer artwork, the film looks and feels cheap, rushed, and simple.
After release the film received mixed reviews. Some critics praised the story, saying that it is short but well paced and with good character interaction while others said the story was simplistic, slow to get to the action, and lacked a sense of mystery and importance. The music has been seen as a positive aspect of the film, with one reviewer saying that the score was "ominous and awe-inspiring by turn; never over-powering but lending a real atmosphere to the film". The film's attention to visual detail was also noted, with one reviewer stating, "Every piece of stained glass in the background tells a story".
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- Official website
- Official Production Blog
- Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie at the Internet Movie Database