The Last Witch Hunter (2015) Review

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This one of those movies that I know I will probably like, but isn’t very good in terms of quality. I remember seeing the trailers and I grinned because Vin Diesel is such a giant nerd and this was something he had to do because he liked playing fantasy games as a kid. He has often said that he’s wanted to do a fantasy film and now he’s done one. He’s done Sci-Fi with the Riddick movies (oh my… I will have to do a series on that soon), Iron Giant (voice over), he does Action/Adventure with the Fast and Furious movies AND Guardians of the Galaxy (V.O.) so finally he gets his fantasy lol. But before I get into just talking… onwards to the review!
Summary: The last witch hunter is all that stands between humanity and the combined forces of the most horrifying witches in history.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. At the basis, I liked the characters and I liked the actors in their roles for the most part. I think anyone in these roles can be replaced by others, so it’s not like they “own” this role, or that they were ‘oh so good’ in them that I can’t picture someone else doing it.
  • Vin Disel as Kaulder. 800 years ago, he was part of the Witch Hunters, a medieval group of men who hunted witches after the Witch Queen plagued the world and his wife and daughter died. So it’s vengeance for him. He slays the Queen and she curses him with immortality. So now he’s in the present time still hunting witches but he doesn’t kill them like before, he’s part of a group “The Axe and Cross” where they jail the witches instead. Kaulder is an interesting character, I think all of Vin’s characters are interesting people and I honestly wish there was more we could have learned about him. He’s 800 years old and I think it shows in the way he moves, and mostly his eyes. He looks like he’s seen some things, been involved in things and while his body hasn’t aged, it’s taken it’s toll on him. I think that Vin Disel did a good job with that aspect of him. He’s a big guy but he’s also not young either, and all that’s to his advantage in this character. I don’t think he’s this great actor but he’s good for the characters he plays. I like the haunted look he’s able to give, he’s also physically great in the role, his voice… Vin Disel has one of the best voices ever lol, gives him this intimidating air but at the same time, he’s sad, lonely. I think he does a good job with that. Some other, better choices I think could have been made but ya know, it’s Vin Disel lol.
    • There is this animated short on the DVD, talks about this character, the animation on him was so good. This could have been an animated adult show lol. Vin could have provided the voice.
  • Rose Leslie as Chloe. She is this young witch, owns a bar and gets swept up in this brewing ‘war’ because Kaulder is seeking a memory potion. At first she’s antagonistic towards him because he’s the “Witch Hunter” and all witches know about him, but as long as they don’t deal in magic that is harmful to humans, they are able to live freely. She puts on a brave face, he’s not threatening her, and they end up having to work together. Chloe has this special magical ability that she can “dream walk”, it’s very dark magic, she doesn’t use it because it’s scary but it’s useful. This is the first time, I’ve seen her in anything and she’s likable. She holds her own, whenever she’s around, he doesn’t have to save her (only once), she saves him more than he saves her lol. As the film continues, it’s plain to see that she grows to care about him. I won’t say it’s romantic, it does seem to want to go there but it doesn’t cross that line.
  • Elijah Wood as Dolen the 37th. Dolens are like priests/scribes for Kaulder. They write his story to keep records, they are also like his right hand if he needs them. I love Elijah Wood, his character is interesting. He’s taking over for Michael Caine as Kaulder’s new Dolen and it takes a moment for Kaulder to warm up but he’s earnest and wants to do his best. He’s also kind of funny. There is an interesting plot with him that I won’t spoil but I wasn’t really expecting it. I might have if I was on my P’s and Q’s.
  • Michael Caine as Dolen the 36th. Michael Caine is a phenomenal actor, we all know this. He’s not in the movie a lot but when he is, he’s great. The best actor in the film. He’s retiring from being Kaulder’s Dolen as he’s climbing the age tree. However, something happens to him that causes Kaulder and Dolen the 37th to embark on an adventure to save him. Michael Caine has this gentleness in this character towards Kaulder. Obviously when he first started he was a young man as Kaulder calls him “kid”, so their friendship is extremely strong and it’s plain to see. While 36 is physically older, the way he relates to Kaulder is interesting. He comes off as a father figure but also as a younger brother. It’s definitely interesting.
  • Julie Engelbrecht as the Witch Queen. We don’t see her a lot but when we do, she’s very interesting. Wow! Her design was also great, I will talk more about that later. She was intimidating, a bit scary and I wish there was more of her to be honest.
The design. I loved the design of the fantasy stuff. The way the witch queen looked, the medieval dream sequences had this old but fantastical element. I loved the area where Kaulder and the Dolens would take their captured witches, there were plants and tress growing out of the ground. So cool. Also, the witches lair in the beginning of the film was awesomely designed.
The Costumes. I really liked the design of the stuff outside of the current world. The Witch Queen’s design was great and creepy. She looked like a tree, like she climbed out of the trunk of one. The bonus content said it was because they wanted her to look like she was able to blend in with her surroundings. I thought that was so cool. I liked Kaulder’s look before the current time, with the mohawk look, the long mustache and the whole medieval look, it suits Vin Diesel. Also, that jacket Vin wears, that one in the picture above…I loved that thing. I want one. Chloe’s clothes were also good towards her character, she had this look that shows she might be into something but as the film progresses, it’s like she stops “pretending” but while maintaining her own style.
The Lore. I really liked the lore of the world, it could have been expanded on more, but ya know, short film. I liked the way the witches used magic, how it was harnessed. I liked how Chloe was a dream walker and what that meant for witches, or how they used simple things to cast illusions. I thought that was all pretty cool.
Cons:
Television Series. I think this would have benefitted from being a show, perhaps on Netflix. I think a show would have allowed this to flourish a bit more, especially with the lore, and with the Dolens, The Axe and Cross and Kaulder definitely. Vin Diesel probably wouldn’t be attached as a show, but I think with this kind of story, it should have been, especially since I doubt it spawned a sequel.
Too Short. The film is about 1 and 46 minutes, which I think is too short for a fantasy film. It doesn’t need to be epic length or anything, but something that definitely allows for it grow and breathe enough.
The heart. There wasn’t really anything that felt like stakes. Sure, the world was in danger, as well as Kaulder’s friend but it didn’t seem like it was that big a deal. They acted like it was but I don’t think the film made me feel that.
The Action/Fight Scenes. They’re not necessarily all bad but you have Vin Diesel! This is the dude who used a car to jump a highway median to catch Lettie as she flew through the air! This is the dude who jumped into the burning sun of Crematoria to save a girl! I mean come on! These scenes could have had some epic stuff in it. I know they didn’t want him to be all built and stuff, which is cool, but utilize who you have. He has a couple of fight scenes and while they were okay, they could have been better.
Overall, I liked The Last Witch Hunter enough. I think there was a lot left to be discovered, I liked the characters enough, but I wanted more of them, especially Kaulder. I wish there was a bit more to discover in this world they created. The fight scenes could have been better, I should have felt the stakes of the Witch Queen. It’s pretty much a shame how that happened. But overall, it’s enjoyable and fun to watch.
Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen The Last Witch Hunter? Did you like it? What do you think? If not, are you interested in watching it?
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