The Hexer (film)
|Wiedźmin (The Hexer)|
|Directed by||Marek Brodzki|
|Written by||Michał Szczerbic (uncredited on request)|
|Music by||Grzegorz Ciechowski|
|Edited by||Wanda Zeman|
|Distributed by||Vision Film Distribution|
Wiedźmin (The Hexer 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. The Hexer movie was the first attempt to show The Witcher universe on the silver screen.
The TV series and the film were loosely based on Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher (Wiedźmin) book series.
The movie had a budget of 19 million Polish zloties, which was very high for contemporary Polish movies. 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. 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.
It was the first movie directed by Marek Brodzki. The version of the movie that show the final release was described as the third version, rearranged and shortened. Some vocal fans were initially objecting to the casting of several major roles. 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. Citing too major departures from his original script, the movie screenwriter Michał Szczerbic demanded that his name should not appear in the end credits.
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.
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.
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.
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." "I am a Polish Catholic, it is Lent now; I cannot utter swear words."
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.
A 2018 mention notes that it has been "crushed by the reviewers and laughed out by fans".
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.".
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.
- Michał Żebrowski as Geralt of Rivia
- Zbigniew Zamachowski as Dandelion
- Maciej Kozłowski as Falwick
- Tomasz Sapryk as Dermot Marranga
- Kinga Ilgner as Renfri
- Grażyna Wolszczak as Yennefer
- Ewa Wiśniewska as Calanthe
- Andrzej Chyra as Borch Three Jackdaws
- Anna Dymna as Nenneke
- Agata Buzek as Pavetta
- Jarosław Boberek as Yarpen Zigrin
- Dorota Kamińska as Eithne
- Wojciech Duryasz as Old Witcher
- Józef Para as Druid of Kaer Morhen
- Daniel Olbrychski as Filavandrel
- The Witcher – the fantasy series
- List of characters in The Witcher series
- The Witcher – the computer game
- "Wiedźmin" (in Polish). 2011-07-08.
- Copeland, Wesley (2018-09-04). "There Was a Witcher Movie and Series in 2001". IGN. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
- "The Witcher: The Road from Rivia to Hollywood". Culture.pl. Retrieved 2018-10-08.
- OMI, Telewizja Polska SA -. "Wiedźmin - Telewizja Polska SA". www.tvp.pl (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-10-02.
- 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.
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- Grzenkowicz, Maciej (2018-08-22). "Wiedźmin Geralt z Rivii w serialu Netflixa. Początek zdjęć w listopadzie". wyborcza.pl. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
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- "Анджей Сапковский: "Мне пришлось искать свое русло. И я его нашел..."".
- "Анджей Сапковский, писатель - Владимир Пузий - МИР ФАНТАСТИКИ И ФЭНТЕЗИ". www.mirf.ru.
- Siegel, Barnaba. "15 lat od premiery Wiedźmina. Filmu, o którym wszyscy chcielibyśmy zapomnieć". gazetapl (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-10-02.
- Wiedzmin (The Hexer), retrieved 2018-10-02
- Wiedźmin (in Polish), retrieved 2018-10-02
- "WIEDŹMIN". FilmPolski (in Polish). Retrieved 2018-10-02.