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Massawyrm enjoys the hell out of the Warhammer 40,000 CG feature film ULTRAMARINES

Hola all. Massawyrm here. The first thing you need to know going into this is that ULTRAMARINES was not made for anyone but established fans, so if you were hoping for this to be some kind of primer ushering you into the universe, you will be sorely disappointed – and more than a little lost. Made on a shoestring budget and written by veteran Warhammer 40,000 novelist Dan Abnett, this thing is not exactly what one would call accessible. But for those of you 40k nuts jonesing to see some Space Marine action, this thing will do the trick nicely. In fact, it’s pretty kick ass. The entirely CG film is a lean 75 minutes that pretty much fly by, following a tactical squad of first time marines sent on a recon mission - with a Captain and an Apothecary in tow – in order to investigate a distress beacon pinging from an Imperial monastery. Their slow crawl through hostile terrain and eventual clash with the forces of Chaos are pretty much the bulk of the film; there are no sweeping battle sequences between hundreds of individuals or grandiose vistas. It is a straight forward man on a mission movie set on a single planet with additional scenes on the Ultramarines ship. For those unfamiliar with the history of the Imperium or the Space Marines, this will seem like a senseless trudge with almost no exposition whatsoever and very little development of the threat. But for longtime fans, it is a fairly tense mission into the unknown, riddled with clues and foreshadowing, pitting our heroes against one of the Imperium’s most iconic foes: the Black Legion. The film is chock full of great visuals and exactly the kind of detail fans are looking for. Every piece of stained glass in the background tells a story, the equipment is everything you want to see in action and when the violence ramps up, it is bloody and brutal in all the ways you expect 40K to deliver. There are a few bits of character design that are pretty much jaw dropping, with two characters in particular stealing the show (though mentioning them would take us into spoiler territory). When the film is at its best, it is everything you’ve been hoping to see in a 40K film. But it’s not perfect. Sadly, the film’s biggest problems all stem from the budget constraints on Codex pictures; this wasn’t a big budget production, and it shows. There are a handful of shots that look like they needed a few more passes through the computer, and one tracking shot that looks exactly like a gameplay cut scene from a Space Marine video game. And while these are admittedly very short, and I was watching the film on an HD projector and 8’ screen, it is still something folks are going to notice. Fortunately, not only are these sequences few and far between, they are also each placed near absolutely gorgeous - and occasionally brutally disturbing – patches of ornately designed, perfectly rendered CG. Though the lack of budget certainly also contributes to the small amount of characters and locations available for the film. If there is one oft repeated complaint, it will be that fans want more – and hopefully now that they’ve got these designs and locations on file, they can move on to expanding into some of the Ultramarines other toys – like terminator armor, Dreadnoughts and maybe some time with everyone’s favorite chapter master, Marneus Calgar. This is a fanservice movie – nothing more, nothing less. It will do little to nothing for anyone who hasn’t played either the tabletop wargame or several of the videogames. If you have, however, ULTRAMARINES is a lot of fun, a good old fashioned R-Rated, sufficiently badass, bloody fight against the forces of darkness, with plenty of references to the canon you hold quite dear. It should be played loud, watched with friends and followed up by a night of gaming – possibly Killteam if you can swing it. Definitely worth checking out. ULTRAMARINES is available on a limited edition DVD November 29th here.
Until next time friends, Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Dan Abnett Rocks

    by Prof_Ender

    If you've never read his Marvel work with Andy Lanning (NOVA, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and all those cosmic miniseries that have been popping up since 2006) then you have not lived.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:19 a.m. CST


    by pubcrawler13

    Psyched that it's available so soon - was banking on having to wait 6 months or so to grab it. Also, with Abnett at the helm, it's sure to be awesome.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:19 a.m. CST

    My guess is we'll see more and more of this kind of thing

    by ravenloff

    Machinema, making movies using just the ingame tools provided with current games (MMO's in particular) has a solid following. As the editing tools become more accessible, both for video and audio, and CG animation gets easier, we'll be treated to full slates of these types of projects. The great majority will be crap, but the cream will rise. Or something...

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:24 a.m. CST

    I have but one 1 question? Is it on Bluray?

    by Nomoredirtyanything

    even if it's not, I'm gonna have to pick that up. <p> Ultramarines vs Chaos film = 20 year dream come to pass...

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:25 a.m. CST


    by pubcrawler13

    ...I've said it before and I'll say it again: an IG-themed movie would kick all sorts of ass. As cool as Mehreens are, Guard are more relatable if you're not 100% familiar with the franchise and would go a long way to bringing new folks into the fold.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Dan Abnett is the balls!!

    by thebluediablo the best possible way. His work on the Marvel cosmic universe in recent years has been nothing short of phenomenal - he's breathed new life into Thanos, who was a character in danger of growing quite stale, as well as doing a fantastic job of introducing newer readers (including myself) to characters such as Novar, Quasar, Guardians of the Galaxy and so on. His name was the only reason I read this post in full in the first place. Despite dabbling with WH40K in my younger years, but long since losing interest and probably being totally out of touch with the background material, his name is enough to make me desperate to check this out regardless.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:34 a.m. CST


    by DonLogan

    considering that looks like a feature length video game cut scene, i was surprised to not only hear Terence Stamp but Tom Hardy and maybe Sean Bean?

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Why am I not hearingthe music of BOLT THROWER?

    by the Green Gargantua


  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:47 a.m. CST

    I have a solid brass terminator belt buckle...

    by UltimaRex

    So yeah, picking this up.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:47 a.m. CST

    "How do you recognize the taint..."?

    by googamooga

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:56 a.m. CST

    Terence Stamp FTW

    by Royston Lodge

    So say we all.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:59 a.m. CST

    googamooga: Yeah, I didn't hear anything after that.

    by CreasyBear

    Too busy laughing.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 10:04 a.m. CST

    I've read the first book of the 'Horus Heresy'

    by SmokingRobot

    It was a very good, deep, science fiction story. I'm liking this stuff.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 10:04 a.m. CST

    I've read the first book of the 'Horus Heresy'

    by SmokingRobot

    It was a very good, deep, science fiction story. I'm liking this stuff.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 10:07 a.m. CST

    For a non-Warhammer nerd like me...

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    ...this looks totally awesome, seriously! Dunno what the real fans think, though, but for me this looks like a great deal of fun!

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Warner Bros. ANIMATION DEPT. take notice PLEASE!!!!!

    by JDanielP

    It is time for the DC Universe to upgrade to stylized computer animation!!!

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Captain Pescanova

    by CuervoJones

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Considering the talent of the cast...

    by Johnny Wishbone's no wonder the budget for the CG is reduced. Still, as long as you have serious actors treating the material with the respect it deserves (and not hamming it up) I guess you can forgive the lack of Pixar quality graphics. Should be quite entertaining and violent even for a non-Warhammer viewer.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 10:26 a.m. CST


    by TheJake

    "How do you recognize the taint of evil?" BWAHAHAHAHA!!

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 10:28 a.m. CST


    by TheJake

    Its the taint of chaos, not evil. But I'm pretty sure their taints look pretty similar. LMAO!

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Roughnecks has no taint

    by IamZardoz

    and looks much better.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 10:35 a.m. CST

    For Honor..for glory...for love.

    by jimmy_009

    Half expected to see two space marine grunts spooning in a cot. So juvenile, dumb, and homoerotic. So Warhammer!

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Oh man

    by bagwanbob

    makes me want to dig out my Khornate army and kick some ass. . .

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 10:58 a.m. CST

    This makes me want to paint lead figurines. I've

    by UltraTron

    never done that and I think it's about time

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 11:09 a.m. CST

    The TAINT of chaos?!??

    by Bruce of all Trades

    Hilarious. I'm going to use that as my new screen name. <p><P>The CG looks very 'meh'. Sorry, Massa.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 11:32 a.m. CST

    This film's original title was Massaporn.

    by Doctor_Strangepork

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 11:56 a.m. CST


    by pubcrawler13

    You won't be sorry, but fair warning, it will suck you in. I'm about 3/4 of the way through my current army and it's addictive as all hell. Let me know if you want any pointers.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Looks interesting

    by Naboo_the_Enigma

    Makes me really want to see a Starcraft movie. =)

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Can't stand Massawyrm

    by RedGobbbo

    but I'm hoping this is allright. Trailers looked like garbage.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 12:24 p.m. CST

    I predict that video game movies will catch on like wildfire soo

    by CodeName

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 12:24 p.m. CST


    by CodeName

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 12:29 p.m. CST

    I was playing captain blood and starglider 2

    by UltraTron

    on Atari ST when this shit was huge.It's really funny how my role playing destiny was forever altered by one asshole. Basically I never played D&D or StarFleet battles or anything because the very first time I tried- asshole dungeon master killed me when I put a pair of jet boots on. Said I turned on the boots, and rocketed into the ceiling splatting. I was like- ok that was fun. I'm going to fuck my highschool girlfriend now

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Wait a minute.

    by SebastianHaff

    Did he just ask how to recognize a taint?

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 1:52 p.m. CST


    by -Halfscan-

    but graphically this looks about on par with any decently done machinima. Just not very visually impressive.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 2:29 p.m. CST

    Warcraft Cut Scenes and Trailers Dominate this petty garbage!

    by Hemi_Roidal_Tendencies

    Hell, Diablo 3 trailers are done better in 70 seconds than this unholy crap.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 3:27 p.m. CST

    Boy that looked bad, ive seen videogames with

    by bongo123

    better ingame graphics... that was CGI?? jesus..

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 4:19 p.m. CST

    How do you recognize the Taint of Chaos?

    by pendy16

    Well that's easy, it's right between Chaos' ass and...

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 4:20 p.m. CST

    that was great

    by redkamel

    better than half the shit out now. It looked about ten times more intersting than the green hornet. Since new movies are all recycled, you can basically tell the whole movie just from the trailer.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Enough with the Dulltra Marines

    by Crooooooow

    Sick and tired of those lame fucks. Let's see Blood Angels get some love.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 4:45 p.m. CST

    oh ok

    by SylarTheCylon

    taint means perineum, hahahahaha and stuff

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 5:25 p.m. CST

    Sorry, but that looks shoddy as hell

    by chronicallydepressedlemming

    The CG intro for Dawn of War was 1000 higher quality than that. The lip-syncing was awful and you can tell a mile away that 'desert backdrop' was chosen so they could skimp on the detail. The whole thing looks like a graphics student's first year work.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:29 p.m. CST

    Well, I have to agree with the naysayers...

    by Joaquin_Ondamoon does look bad, or at least not great. A bit too 'cartoony' - I'm not getting the sense of how large and heavy everything should be. And too much contrast. Whatever - just lame CGI. Needs a lot more work. The opening movie from 'Dawn of War' looks 100 times better (and as someone else has said, 'Roughnecks' looks better as well). Still, John Hurt? Terence Stamp? Dan Abnett?! Cool. Being a WH40k fan, I'm gonna have to check it out. Never was much of an Ultramarine boy though - Make Mine Space Wolves! I've always thought the only way to make a Space Marines movie was with CGI (unless you do as someone else in the TB said and focus on the IG). Hopefully we get to see more of this type of thing, with a bigger budget and a lot more polish.

  • Nov. 24, 2010, 9:36 p.m. CST

    ...And $40 US?!!

    by Joaquin_Ondamoon

    for a 75 minute "movie"? Oh but wait, there's more: YOUR ULTRAMARINES SPECIAL EDITION COLLECTOR’S SET CONTAINS: - Original SteelBook™ case, featuring embossed Ultramarines logo and Aquila emblem - Two discs - Disc One - DVD of ULTRAMARINES movie - Disc Two - Unique Warhammer 40,000 Bonus Content - Specially commissioned hardback graphic novel, Hard Choices, written by Dan Abnett with pencils by David Roach (English language only) - Sturdy slipcase Okay, maybe with the hardcover GN it's not so bad, but the rest of it I can live without. It's off to the torrents, I guess!

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 8:14 a.m. CST

    Wonder if Grant Morrison has a lawsuit?

    by HarryKnowlesNonExistentInceptionReview

    He had a group of "Ultramarines" in his JLA book back in the 90's. Go Grant, go!

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 9:05 a.m. CST

    Couple of problems with that...

    by RedGobbbo

    Grant morrison doesn't own those "Ultramarines" because he wrote it work for hire for DC. Also, 40k Ultramarines were around for years before he wrote JLA.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 5:26 p.m. CST

    The forces of evil?

    by Knugen

    They are all evil - are they not? That is my view and that is what I like about the world of W40K. But I guess geeks generally are fascists.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 5:30 p.m. CST

    and about the quality...

    by Knugen

    you bitches complain about the quality of the CGI in this low budget fan service? Comparing it to video games like that is supposed to make sense? Video games have bigger budgets than mainstream movies nowadays. Goes to show how much you know...

  • Nothing more than a 75 minute ingame cutscene.

  • Nov. 25, 2010, 7:22 p.m. CST

    *Beefed up version of the Dawn of War 2 Engine

    by Flipao

    Damn shortened titles. Anyway, I hope it at least pleases fans, it's glorified machinima.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 7:56 a.m. CST

    To chronicallydepressedlemming

    by cine-guy

    When you make your own 75 min. CGI movie on a budget of probably less than 10% what it cost to make the game and 1% of a hollywood big budget movie you can call this shoddy. Until then why don't you have a can of STFU. This looks like a labor of love made for a small budget. You can't compare it to something made with a real budget. I bet you've never made anything in your life except what you flush down the toilet.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 8:37 a.m. CST

    sooo.. what now?

    by MurderMostFowl

    So you've got all thi heavy armor on, but helmets are optional and swords can cut straight through said armor? <BR><BR> I know Warhammer is supposed to be a medieval war meets Scifi future, but that's kind of ridiculous.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 1:01 p.m. CST

    To cine-guy

    by chronicallydepressedlemming

    'labours of love' do not get to charge $40 for a 75 minute cutscene from the Playstation 1 era. 'labours of love' would have alot more attention to fucking detail to show the, you know...LOVE. This looks hacked together. I stand by my post.<p>And you're right I wouldn't make something like this. I'm quite fond of 40k, and would want to do it justice or not at all.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 4:17 p.m. CST

    Always preferred Ral Partha back in

    by Dennis_Moore

    the day. Citadel figurines looked like they were designed to look like what an eighth-grader would think was bad ass. So tacky, those Warhammer llustrations.

  • Nov. 26, 2010, 4:21 p.m. CST

    very cool

    by Dillactus

  • Nov. 28, 2010, 10 p.m. CST

    To Chronicallydepressedlemming

    by cine-guy

    I can see your point, but you don't have to spend the $40 if you don't want it. They've made a movie for a limited audience are just trying to recoup their cost and a little money for their time. I've worked on many, many movies and all were budget challenged. You make the best movie with the resources you have. I guess in the end, the audience doesn't care that you didn't have millions of dollars. All they care about are results. Being on the end where I wished I had more, I tend to give people a break.