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|
|Edited by||David Lewis Smith|
Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie is a science fiction CGI film set in Games Workshop's fictional Warhammer 40,000 universe and based on the Ultramarines Chapter of the Space Marines. Terence Stamp, Sean Pertwee, and John Hurt head the cast of voice actors, and the screenplay was written by Black Library author Dan Abnett.
The film opens with 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 them all. Elsewhere, aboard a Space Marine Strike Cruiser, Brother Proteus and Captain Severus of the Ultramarines Chapter spar in a training duel. Proteus manages to disarm Severus, however, he quickly escapes Proteus's grasp and in turn defeats him, proclaiming that a Space Marine never yields. The members of Ultima Squad are then shown a sacred weapon in their ship's reclusium, a Relic Thunder Hammer. The Captain and his right-hand man, Apothecary Pythol lead the initiates in a swearing-in ceremony on the Hammer. With the ceremony finished, Ultima Squad prepare themselves for their first mission—a sortie to the planet of Mithron.
In orbit above the planet, Captain Severus departs the cruiser with only the Ultima Squad, highly eager to prove themselves in battle, for support. En route to the planet's surface, Severus addresses the squad, informing them of the distress call received shortly before all contact with the planet was lost, and how it is still unclear whether it is automated or not. Soon they are on the tough and unforgiving surface of Mithron, and the only location of importance is a shrine guarded by 100 Imperial Fists. Ultima Squad quickly discovers that a terrible battle has taken place, with the garrison force annihilated and the planet's Imperial shrine desecrated. It is also evident that the forces of Chaos are responsible, and Severus decides they must continue the mission to search for any remaining survivors.
While approaching the ruins, the Ultramarines are ambushed by the Black Legion. Three Ultramarines are killed but the ambush is thwarted. The squad continues on, and in a dark passage of the shrine they are attacked by a Daemon Prince which grapples with Severus, and they both fall through the wall and down a ravine. With Severus gone and Crastor dead, command of the squad falls to Proteus who decides to continue with the mission. Progressing to the reliquary at the shrine's summit, they find Chaplain Carnak and Brother Nidon, the sole surviving Imperial Fists. They reveal they have been protecting the Liber Mithrus, an ancient sacred Codex given by the The God-Emperor of Mankind himself. Ultima Squad agrees to help escort the book to safety, but Verenor and Proteus remain suspicious, questioning how just the two of them have managed to survive for so long. As Ultima Squad retreat to the extraction point, they are attacked by a huge force of Chaos Space Marines. During the fight they suffer heavy casualties, and just as they are about to be overwhelmed, Severus suddenly reappears and aids their escape.
Back on board, Proteus confides to Severus his suspicions of Carnak and Nidon, believing that they may have been tainted by Chaos. They 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 the presence of Chaos. Severus declares that Carnak has been tainted and kills him. Nidon becomes enraged and attacks Severus, but is easily thrown off and knocked unconscious. Hypax questions why the standard continues to burn with Carnak dead, and it clear that Severus was possessed by the Daemon that he fought. Hypax charges the daemon, and pushes it into the armoury. When Proteus and Nidon regain consciousness, they find both Hypax and Decius slain. Accompanied by Nidon, the three confront Severus in the ship's reclusium. Severus assumes daemon form and reveals its plans to possess Proteus and infiltrate the Ultramarines' homeworld of Macragge. Pythol arrives in time to save Proteus, but is killed. Using the diversion, Proteus then takes the Thunder Hammer to kill Severus and banish the daemon possessing him. Later it is shown that Proteus is promoted to Sergeant, with Verenor as his second in command, and the final scene mirrors the opening one, showing the new recruits swearing on the sacred hammer.
- 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
Production of Ultramarines was announced at the 2009 Games Day at the Birmingham NEC, and the film was made by UK-based production company Codex Pictures under licence from Games Workshop, working in association with Good Story Productions Ltd and Montreal based POP6 Studios.
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 problem 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 would begin in the week of 6 December 2010, and that they intended 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 to the situation as there were still many people who had pre-ordered as far back as October 2010 and not received their package as of 27 January 2011. This matter was confused further by Codex Pictures's own site still offering the DVD for sale, and not offering clear warning that there remained a problem regarding the supply of the DVD.
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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