The Hexer (film)

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Wiedźmin (The Hexer)
Wiedzmin plakat.jpg
Release poster
Directed by Marek Brodzki
Produced by Paweł Poppe
Lew Rywin
Written by Michał Szczerbic (uncredited on request)
Starring Michał Żebrowski
Zbigniew Zamachowski
Maciej Kozłowski
Music by Grzegorz Ciechowski
Cinematography Bogdan Stachurski
Edited by Wanda Zeman
Production
company
Heritage Films
Distributed by Vision Film Distribution
Release date
  • 9 November 2001 (2001-11-09)
Running time
130 minutes
Country Poland
Language Polish
Budget 18,820,000
(USD$4.6 million[1])

Wiedźmin (The Hexer[1] or The Witcher in English) is a 2001 Polish fantasy film by director Marek Brodzki, starring Michał Żebrowski as main character Geralt of Rivia. The story is based on the books and stories of The Witcher written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.

The 13-episode TV series came out the following year. The film has been described as essentially the then-unreleased TV series chopped into about 2 hours, and received very poor reviews from both fans and critics.[2][3] The Hexer movie was the first attempt to show The Witcher universe on the silver screen.[2]

Plot[edit]

The TV series and the film were loosely based on Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher (Wiedźmin) book series.

Production[edit]

The movie had a budget of 19 million Polish zloties,[4] which was very high for contemporary Polish movies.[5] Similarly, the film's marketing campaign had several time the budget of other Polish movies of that time, in an attempt to imitate Hollywood's super-production.[5] The movie's was aimed not just at science fiction and fantasy fans, but at the the general audience, it had a cast with actors seen in Poland as 'stars', the music was composed by a well known Polish composer, and it was tied to a number of other promotion campaigns, and related products tied to the Witcher universe, such as a toys or games, as well as the Witcher's first official English translation.[5][3]

It was the first movie directed by Marek Brodzki.[4] The version of the movie that show the final release was described as the third version, rearranged and shortened.[6] Some vocal fans were initially objecting to the casting of several major roles.[7] Their protests were reported in press, and led to a meeting between movie producers and cast and fans, which eventually appeased most of the protesters.[5] Citing too major departures from his original script, the movie screenwriter Michał Szczerbic demanded that his name should not appear in the end credits.[4][8]

Reception[edit]

The movie received generally bad reviews after its release and since, with the reviewers being generally positive with regards to actors and music, but critical of the plot and special effects.

Writing for the Polish online film database filmweb, the reviewer concluded that "it is not a good movie", noting that the plot was chaotic, mixing various adventures and scenes from the book series in a mostly random manner, speculating that perhaps the movie was intended as a glorified trailer for the following TV series. The montage of the scenes was so bad that it was said to evoke laughter in the audience, and the special effects were described as low quality and obsolete. The review did note that the film saving grace are its actors, praising Michał Żebrowski, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Grażyna Wolszczak and others.[6]

A reviewer in the Polish game portal gry-online noted that he was sadly forced to join the chorus of critical reviews. Praising the actors, scenography, costumes and music, the reviewer criticized the fragmentary, incoherent plot, which he attributed to the being producers unable to agree on the main plot and structure, and trying to summarize all of the planned TV series episodes key plot elements in one 2-hour movie.[7]

Writing for the esensja portal, the reviewer criticized the plot, which "tries to tell too much and ends up telling too little", and the special effects, nothing that the plastic dragon used for special effects was so lackluster it resulted in salves of laughter in the movie audience The reviewer was also critical of the unnecessary nudity and poor dialogue, through praised the actors for their efforts, as well as the music.[9]

Sapkowski himself in several interviews laconically expressed his negative opinion about the film: "I can answer only with a single word, an obscene, albeit a short one."[10] "I am a Polish Catholic, it is Lent now; I cannot utter swear words."[11]

A 2016 review, referring to the movie as "the film we all want to forget", was more critical, noting that while some actors were good, others acted as if in a story directed at children; it also criticized some casting decisions, which portrayed then-popular comedy actors in serious roles, making it more difficult for audiences to treat the production as aimed at adults. The review was also critical of the plot, special effects and costumes. It attributed the failures of the production to inexperienced production crew, in particular, director Marek Brodzki.[12]

A 2018 mention notes that it has been "crushed by the reviewers and laughed out by fans".[8]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, it holds an audience score of 22% based on 217 reviews.[13] Polish online film database filmweb provides a slightly higher score, 3.9/10.[14]

The movie has been subject so several analysis in academic research. In his 2015 article on the Hexer movie and series, Robert Dudziński noted that the movie and the accompanying series became, in Poland, "widely recognized examples of the weak level of Polish cinematography's entertainment releases and a common butt of jokes of Polish science fiction and fantasy fans.".[5]

Awards[edit]

Despite poor reception, the film did receive several nominations for awards in Poland, and the music by Grzegorz Ciechowski won the 2002 Polish Film Awards for the Best Film Music in 2001 as well as the Fryderyk award for the Best 2001 Original Soundtrack.[15]

Cast[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

^ For the discussion of Hexer vs Witcher as the English name of the Polish term Wiedźmin, see here. The 2001 movie and its accompanying series are rendered in English as Hexer.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wiedźmin" (in Polish). 2011-07-08.
  2. ^ a b Copeland, Wesley (2018-09-04). "There Was a Witcher Movie and Series in 2001". IGN. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  3. ^ a b "The Witcher: The Road from Rivia to Hollywood". Culture.pl. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
  4. ^ a b c OMI, Telewizja Polska SA -. "Wiedźmin - Telewizja Polska SA". www.tvp.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  5. ^ a b c d e Robert Dudziński (2015). "Zrozumieć Wiedźmina. Film i serial Marka Brodzkiego a polska kinematografia przełomu wieków". Wiedźmin – bohater masowej wyobraźni (PDF) (in Polish). Stowarzyszenie Badaczy Popkultury i Edukacji Popkulturowej "Trickster". pp. 83–98.
  6. ^ a b Kamiński, Marcin. "Polepione wątki - Recenzja filmu Wiedźmin (2001) - Filmweb". Filmweb (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  7. ^ a b Stasiak, Piotr (2001). "Wiedźmin – recenzja filmu | GRYOnline.pl". GRY-Online.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  8. ^ a b Grzenkowicz, Maciej (2018-08-22). "Wiedźmin Geralt z Rivii w serialu Netflixa. Początek zdjęć w listopadzie". wyborcza.pl. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  9. ^ Kotarba, Bartosz. "Esensja: ‹ONI mogą wszystko›". Esensja.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  10. ^ "Анджей Сапковский: "Мне пришлось искать свое русло. И я его нашел..."".
  11. ^ "Анджей Сапковский, писатель - Владимир Пузий - МИР ФАНТАСТИКИ И ФЭНТЕЗИ". www.mirf.ru.
  12. ^ Siegel, Barnaba. "15 lat od premiery Wiedźmina. Filmu, o którym wszyscy chcielibyśmy zapomnieć". gazetapl (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  13. ^ a b Wiedzmin (The Hexer), retrieved 2018-10-02
  14. ^ Wiedźmin (in Polish), retrieved 2018-10-02
  15. ^ "WIEDŹMIN". FilmPolski (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-10-02.

External links[edit]