Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Last Witch Hunter Misses His Mark

The Last Witch Hunter arrives on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a digital download courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment. The movie is directed by Breck Eisner (The Crazies, Sahara) from a screenplay by Cory Goodman (Priest), Matt Sazama (Dracula Untold), and Burk Sharpless (Gods of Egypt). A surprising cast of talented actors like Michael Caine and Elijah Wood support Vin Diesel in his battle against the dark forces.

The modern world holds many secrets, the most astounding being that witches still live among us. Centuries ago, Kaulder (Vin Diesel) managed to slay the all-powerful Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht), decimating her followers in the process. Before her death, she cursed the valiant warrior with her own immortality, separating him from his beloved wife and daughter in the afterlife. Her resurrection now threatens the survival of the human race as Kaulder, the only one of his kind remaining, faces her vengeful wrath in The Last Witch Hunter.

The biggest problem with The Last Witch Hunter is that it isn’t a bad movie or a good movie. It just sort of flounders around between those two extreme spectrums. Let’s just say you probably won’t remember much of what you saw within minutes of seeing the film. The worst part is you won’t care or have a desire to view it again.

The CGI and special effects for The Last Witch Hunter are impressive, though. I didn't feel pulled out of the viewing experience or distracted by any of the animated characters or their artificial environments. You really can’t say that about many science fiction or horror movies anymore.

The big reveal at the end of The Last Witch Hunter was rather obvious from the beginning as well. It was all too typical and worn out. I was only surprised that they actually took the obvious direction they did and didn't try harder to change things up.

The Last Witch Hunter is rated PG-13 for for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images. The Witch Queen could be disturbing to look at for younger viewers. There’s also a little profanity heard in the film. Characters also get stabbed and disintegrate throughout the movie. Many religious people might have a problem with what comes across as magical incantations or chanting.

The Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD edition of The Last Witch Hunter provides some interesting bonus material for consumers. Director Breck Eisner provides commentary for the movie. The 30-minute featurette entitled “Crafting the Magic: The Last Witch Hunter” includes interviews with Vin Diesel and other cast and crew. A sizzle reel of moments from the film is set to the Rolling Stones’ Paint It, Black. A series of four animated short films narrated by Michael Caine give us insight into the world we’re thrown into.

I wish I could fully explain why I didn't care for The Last Witch Hunter. It was just missing a particular element or charisma that kept me from being excited for the film at all. You feel like you're watching Riddick battle witches instead of an Earthbound immortal. Vin is just being Vin, but without the contacts or cool goggles. The movie isn't a complete waste, but you definitely don't feel a sense of satisfaction when the credits roll.

The Last Witch Hunter is available now on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and as a digital download.

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