Monster Hunter (2020)
The bigger they are, the harder to kill
Go to a world beyond imagination— (想像を絶する世界へ―)
— Japanese tagline
Monster Hunter (モンスターハンター is a Monsutā Hantā)2020 giant monster film co-produced by Constantin Film, Tencent Pictures and Toho. It is based on Capcom's video game franchise of the same name, with soldiers from Earth inadvertently traveling to the world of the games and facing its many deadly creatures. The film was released to American theaters on December 18, 2020 by Screen Gems, and was released in Japan by Towa Pictures, a subsidiary of Toho, on March 26, 2021.
|“||Behind our world, there is another: a world of dangerous and powerful monsters that rule their domain with deadly ferocity. When an unexpected sandstorm transports Lt. Artemis and her unit to a new world, the soldiers are shocked to discover that this hostile and unknown environment is home to enormous and terrifying monsters immune to their firepower. In their desperate battle for survival, the unit encounters the mysterious Hunter, whose unique skills allow him to stay one step ahead of the powerful creatures. As Artemis and Hunter slowly build trust, she discovers that he is part of a team led by the Admiral. Facing a danger so great it could threaten to destroy their world, the brave warriors combine their unique abilities to band together for the ultimate showdown.||„|
A sandship in the New World traverses a vast desert, its destination a massive glowing pillar. As the grizzled Admiral studies his texts and a Hunter carves a figurine, two horned dragons called Black Diablos ambush their ship. The Hunter saves one of his compatriots, the Handler, from the monsters' jaws, only to fall from the ship himself. The battle leaves him behind.
In Afghanistan, a small team of United Nations soldiers led by Lieutenant Natalie Artemis responds to a distress call from Bravo Team. Their fellow soldiers are nowhere to be seen, with Lincoln observing their tire tracks stop in the middle of a road. A massive storm suddenly appears over the horizon, just as the distress call reported. They attempt to retreat, but the storm quickly overtakes them. Lightning strikes the small pillars around them, causing the runes etches on their surfaces to glow blue. As energy dances around them, their Humvee and Desert Patrol Vehicle tumble off a cliff and come to a rough landing in a completely different desert. The storm has suddenly passed, now centered around a massive pillar in the distance. They soon discover the remains of Bravo Team and their vehicles, all charred as though attacked by impossibly hot flamethrowers.
Continuing onward, they are stunned to discover the skeleton of an enormous creature. The Hunter, having just spotted them with his spyglass, fires an arrow at one of the ribs which releases red chalk and cries out to them. On edge, they interpret it as an attack and open fire. Artemis orders them to stand down, but the noise attracts a Black Diablos, who pursues them half-submerged in sand. Unfazed by their weapons, it turns over the DPV and Humvee in quick succession and kills Steeler and Axe. Artemis, Lincoln, Marshall, and Dash retreat inside a cave, with the Hunter aiding them from afar with an explosive arrow, and the creature soon gives up the chase. As the sun sets, Artemis is ambushed and stabbed by a spider-like Nerscylla. Her troops repel drive the beast, but the arrival of more Nerscylla forces them to flee without her. Despite the Hunter's continued support, they soon kill Marshall and capture the others.
Artemis awakens upside down and cocooned inside the Nerscylla's underground nest. Dash has already expired, and Lincoln is soon torn apart by Nerscylla as the eggs laid inside him hatch. Artemis uses an oxygen canister and a flare as a makeshift flamethrower, devastating the monsters. One burning Nerscylla grabs her just as she reaches the surface, but she drops the bullets onto its head, which explode. While dozens more watch her nearby, they are unwilling to brave the sun. Clutching her wedding ring, she finds the strength to continue, cauterizing a wound on her leg with gunpowder and sparks from a pair of rocks.
The Black Diablos remains a threat, surfacing as soon as she drops a rock onto the sand below. She soon comes upon a sandship graveyard, where she crosses blades with the Hunter. After a fierce battle, he subdues her with a kick, binds her hands, and takes her back to his hideout as the sun sets and the Nerscylla begin to prowl again. He eats and drinks, but offers her nothing. The next morning, she escapes and returns the favor. After he kicks over their water supply in spite, she knocks one of the figurines he prayed to the night before towards the fire, enraging him enough to continue their battle despite his restraints. Evenly matched, they roll down a hill, with the Hunter crashing through one of the Nerscylla's hills. As they gather beneath him, Artemis makes the snap decision to rescue him and cut his bounds. She gives him chocolate as a peace offering, to his delight, and he gives her water in return.
The Hunter suggests using Nerscylla venom to poison the Black Diablos. They set a snare trap at sundown, with Artemis as bait and the Hunter landing the killing blow with a Great Sword. They dash back to their hideout with one of the creature's limbs, pursued by its kin. As they wait out the monsters for another night, the Hunter conveys that the figurines represent his family, who were killed by a "Rathalos." The next day, the Hunter crafts a spear out of the Nerscylla stinger, outfits Artemis with armor from the sandship graveyard, and trains her in the use of Dual Blades and a Slinger. To her surprise, the swords generate a fiery energy when touched together.
They distract the Black Diablos by launching a barrel into its domain, then make a break for the destroyed Humvee and the RPG within. The Hunter agrees to act as bait, firing the poisoned arrow into the monster's left eye, but is injured by a swing of its clubbed tail. As Artemis earns its attention with a minigun, it starts to become dazed. She scored a direct hit with the RPG, but it survives and upends the Humvee with her inside. Before it can kill her, the Hunter climbs onto its back and plunges the sword into its head. It hurls him into a nearby rock, knocking him unconscious, but Artemis finishes the job by driving the blade deeper, soaring up to its head with her Slinger. She drags him towards the pillar in the distance on one of the monster's scales, deploying a survival tent when a sandstorm whips up.
With the help of Artemis's medicine, the Hunter is able to walk again the next day, and they trek brings them to an oasis, where ankylosaurus-like creatures called Apceros are drinking. The Hunter invites her to drink first, but she is met by a predatory Cephalos leaping out of the sand. Having anticipated this, the Hunter swiftly beheads it, and it becomes their next meal. That night, a Rathalos raids the oasis. The winged dragon starts a fire which causes the Apceros to stampede. The Admiral, armed with his own energized sword, comes to Artemis's rescue, while Aiden and Lea get the Hunter to safety before the creatures can drive him off a cliff. Wary of Artemis, the Admiral knocks her out and throws her in the sandship's brig. She escapes by breaking the lock to a trapdoor and drops into the kitchen, where she is startled by a human-sized cat, the ship's Palico cook. Once the Hunter vouches for her, she is able to meet with the Admiral, who speaks English, thanks to the last group of Earthlings who stumbled into his world. He confirms her suspicions that the pillar is connected to her arrival, a Sky Tower built by an advanced ancient civilization. He explains they were destroyed by their own technology - and their contact with Earth. They assigned the Rathalos to guard the Sky Tower. She agrees to help him confront it in exchange for passage home. They set off with a group including the Hunter, Aiden, and Lea.
At the foot of the tower, the Admiral spots an unstable portal, and they spread out to draw in the Rathalos. The Admiral advises Artemis that the dragon is most vulnerable just before it breathes fire. It quickly incapacitates Aiden, Lea, and several others, but the Admiral, Artemis, and the Hunter all land solid blows. Before it can incinerate her, she leaps into the portal, returning to Earth. She is quickly found by an Osprey and medically evacuated as ground forces arrive. As it lifts off, the Rathalos soars through the portal and tears off the cockpit, causing the plane to crash. It turns its attention to the military, making short work of both tanks and Ospreys with its flames and jaws. Artemis emerges from the wreckage to face it once more. As it readies its flames, she launches an explosive into its mouth, crippling it. Artemis believes it to be dead, but it soon regains its feet. Artemis is helpless, but just then, the Hunter enters the fray with a salvo of arrows. One finds an opening in its neck and explodes, finally killing it. Before they can celebrate their victory with the Admiral, however, a new dragon emerges through the portal: Gore Magala. Resolving to destroy the Sky Tower once the battle is through, they charge the monster.
In a mid-credits scene, a hooded figure watches their clash continue in the New World, and the Palico readies his sword.
- Main article: Monster Hunter/Credits.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
- Produced by Jeremy Bolt, Paul W.S. Anderson, Dennis Berardi, Robert Kulzer, Martin Moszkowicz
- Music by Paul Haslinger
- Cinematography by Glen MacPherson
- Edited by Doobie White
- Production design by Edward Thomas
- Assistant directors Peter Freeman, Simon Green, Cameron Hadlow
- Sound design by Brandon Kim
- Visual effects supervisor Dennis Berardi
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Milla Jovovich as Lieutenant Natalie Artemis
- Tony Jaa as The Hunter
- Ron Perlman as The Admiral
- Tip "T.I." Harris as Master Sergeant Lincoln
- Diego Boneta as Sergeant Marshall
- Meagan Good as Sergeant Dash
- Josh Helman as Steeler
- Jin Au-Yeung as Axe
- Hirona Yamazaki as The Handler
- Jannik Schümann as Aiden
- Nanda Costa as Lea
- Nic Rasenti as Captain Roark
- Clyde Berning as JSO V22 Pilot #1
- Paul Hampshire as JSO Soldier #2
- Schelaine Bennett as Comms Officer E3 Sentry
- Pope Jerrod as E3 Sentry Pilot
- Aaron Beelner as Palico
Weapons, Vehicles, and Races
Director Paul W.S. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt began negotiations with Capcom to adapt the Monster Hunter series in 2009, one year after Anderson began playing the games. Anderson publicized their plans in 2012, while doing press for another Capcom adaptation, Resident Evil: Retribution. On September 15, 2016, during the Tokyo Game Show, Capcom producer Ryozo Tsujimoto announced that a live-action Hollywood adaption of Monster Hunter was in development, but provided no further details. Anderson and Bolt confirmed their involvement to Deadline that November, with Anderson describing the setting of the games as "a fresh, exciting world that we could expose and build a whole world around, like a Marvel or Star Wars universe." By then, he had written the first iteration of the script, with the following logline:
For every Monster, there is a Hero. An ordinary man in a dead end job discovers that he is actually the descendant of an ancient hero. He must travel to a mystical world to train to become a Monster Hunter, before the mythical creatures from that world destroy ours.
A piece of concept art published with the article showed a Rathalos, the series' flagship monster, attacking the Los Angeles International Airport. In another version of the script, the protagonist was a "bullied, quite clumsy" 16-year-old boy chosen as the latest hero to protect Earth from the Monster Hunter world's creatures, who inspired countless legends during previous invasions. By the time Anderson's schedule allowed him to make the film, however, young adult fantasy had fallen out of fashion. In 2017, visual effects company Mr. X uploaded an effects reel which featured brief footage based on this version of the script, showing a Rathalos and Gore Magala battling inside a mall. Anderson cited Avatar, the Indiana Jones films, and a 2010 collaboration between Monster Hunter and Metal Gear Solid as influences on the final draft. Of the collaboration, he said, "[W]hat fun to kind of play with the hubris of the modern world in that we put our faith in technology so much — in fact, too much in my opinion."
On May 11, 2018, Variety reported that Milla Jovovich, star of the Resident Evil films, was set to star in Monster Hunter, which would begin filming in September. The casting of Tip "T.I." Harris, Ron Perlman, and Tony Jaa was announced that month, with filming postponed until October.
Principal photography began on October 5, 2018, in Namibia and the Cape Town, South Africa area, and wrapped on December 18. Sets built at Cape Town Film Studios included the oasis, the sandship, and the Nerscylla nest.
IGN revealed the first still from Monster Hunter on November 20, 2018, showing a fully-armed Lieutenant Natalie Artemis and the Hunter running in the desert. Footage from the film played at the 2019 Shanghai International Film Festival, and leaked online in June. IGN had another exclusive reveal on February 28, 2020: the first two posters. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sony halted the film's marketing campaign for months and moved its U.S. release date from September 4, 2020, to April 23, 2021. From there, its release date moved up three consecutive times, from December 30 to December 25 to December 18.
The first officially-released footage from Monster Hunter came on October 3, 2020: a 16-second teaser focusing on the Black Diablos. One week later, director Paul W.S. Anderson revealed more footage at his New York Comic Con panel. He described the enormous Rathalos in this footage as a Greater Rathalos, associated in some way with an ancient civilization that is an established part of Monster Hunter lore. Later that day, Sony would upload a vignette to YouTube featuring Anderson speaking to Ryozo Tsujimoto and Kaname Fujioka, the producer and director of the Monster Hunter games, as well as the reveal of the herbivorous monster Apceros's presence within the film. An American and international trailer followed on October 14, 2020, with the former showing Nerscylla and a Gore Magala. A Chinese trailer followed on November 19, showing Ron Perlman's character and the Meowscular Chef.
The Monster Hunter World: Iceborne expansion pack debuted two single-player event quests tying into the film, "The New World" and "To Our World", on December 3. Artemis, voiced by Milla Jovovich, is a playable character in these quests, and faces her two primary opponents from the film. In "The New World," the player is rewarded with an Artemis α+ Armor Set for slaying a Black Diablos, while "To Our World" tasks them with killing an enlarged Rathalos, with the Artemis Layered Armor Set as a reward. Availability for the quests will end on December 2, 2021.
- Main article: Monster Hunter/Gallery.
- Main article: Monster Hunter (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).
- Monster Hunter the Movie (映画 モンスターハンター Eiga Monsutā Hantā, alternate Japanese title)
- MonHun (モンハン Monhan, Japanese abbreviated title)
- Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia - December 3, 2020
- China, Taiwan, United Kingdom - December 4, 2020
- United States - December 18, 2020
- Singapore - December 24, 2020
- Canada, Vietnam - December 30, 2020
- Hungary - December 2020
- Australia - January 1, 2021
- Russia - January 14, 2021
- Brazil, Ukraine - January 28, 2021
- Estonia, India - February 5, 2021
- Mexico - February 18, 2021
- Iceland - February 19, 2021
- Portugal - February 25, 2021
- Bulgaria - February 26, 2021
- Lithuania - March 12, 2021
- Japan, Spain - March 26, 2021
- Italy - April 23, 2021
- France - April 28, 2021
Four of the studios behind Monster Hunter divided its distribution rights amongst themselves, with Tencent releasing the film in China, Toho subsidiary Towa Pictures releasing it in Japan, Constantin Film Verleih releasing it in Germany, Sony subsidiary Screen Gems releasing it in the United States, and Sony Pictures Releasing International handling the rest of the world. At a time when other Hollywood studios were delaying most of their big-budget films or quickly making them available to stream in viewers' homes, they opted to give Monster Hunter a traditional theatrical release. Opening during the third and deadliest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, it grossed only $2.2 million domestically in its opening weekend, well below expectations. However, with many theaters closed and others operating under capacity restrictions, it was still the highest-grossing film that weekend. Limited competition in the months that followed allowed it to reach a domestic gross of over $14 million by March 2021.
Monster Hunter grossed $5.19 million on its opening day in China, only to be swiftly pulled from theaters following an outcry on social media. In an exchange early in the film, the Axe character played by Chinese-American actor Jin Au-Yeung jokingly referred to his knees as "Chi-knees", which many viewers linked to a racist playground taunt. Yeung, Anderson, Jovovich, and Constantin Films all issued apologies for the line, though they maintained no offense was intended, and it was removed from all versions of the film. However, Monster Hunter has yet to be reissued in China, which Deadline noted was the country where it had the greatest box office potential.
Monster Hunter will open in Japan, another key market, on March 26. Internationally, it has grossed just over half of its $60 million production budget.
Sony 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + HD / Blu-ray + Digital HD / DVD (2021)
- Region: Various (Blu-ray and DVD)
- Discs: 2 (4K Ultra HD combo pack) or 1 (Blu-ray and DVD)
- Audio: English (Dolby Atmos and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for 4K Ultra HD, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 for Blu-ray, and Dolby Digital 5.1 for DVD), French, Spanish, English audio description
- Subtitles: English, Spanish, French [U.S. release - will vary depending on country]
- Special features: "The Monster Hunters - Cast & Characters" (8 minutes), "Monstrous Arsenal - Weaponry in the Film" (5 minutes), "For the Players - From Game to Screen" (7 minutes), deleted scenes
- Nanda Costa's character, Lea, shares her name with a character from the Japan-exclusive spinoff Monster Hunter Frontier. However, the movie character is based on the Serious Handler from Monster Hunter: World.
- The giant skeleton Artemis and her team come across belongs to a Dah'ren Mohran, an Elder Dragon-class monster who first debuted in Monster Hunter 4 in Japan and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate worldwide. Gore Magala, who appears at the very end of the film, is the flagship monster of both 3DS titles.
- The staff-like weapon wielded by the Hunter at the end of the movie is an Insect Glaive. It appears to lack a Kinsect, an iconic component of the weapon.
- In a special features clip, director Paul W.S. Anderson mistakenly identifies the monster Cephalos as a Remobra, an unrelated small wyvern with a snake motif.
- The Asylum, an American studio specializing in knock-offs of blockbuster films, produced Monster Hunters to capitalize on Monster Hunter. Despite Monster Hunter moving to December, The Asylum released the mockbuster on August 25, 2020, ten days before its inspiration's original release date.
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