To date, early glimpses of Capcom's long-in-the-planning Monster Hunter movie haven't done much to impress, focussing largely, and unpromisingly, on a cast of generic military personnel. Concerned parties can finally breathe a touch easier, however, with a new on-set photo offering the most Monster Hunter-y look at the Monster Hunter movie yet.
A Monster Hunter film was first rumoured in 2012 and was made official by Capcom earlier this year. Resident Evil and Event Horizon director Paul W. S. Anderson will be helming the cinema adaptation, with Milla Jovovich, Diego Boneta, Ron Perlman, and Tony Jaa to star.
Unsurprisingly, some Monster Hunter fans have raised concerns at Anderson's name being connected to the project, given how radical a departure the director's Resident Evil movies were from their source material. And those concerns have only grown as on-set and in-character photos from the movie have started to be shared by those involved.
Boneta, for instance, recently took to Instagram to unveil an image of himself in costume as Sergeant Marshall. It's fair to say that the overall 'generic soldier with gun' look didn't immediately bring to mind the distinctive aesthetic of the Monster Hunter games.
A little later, it was Milla Jovovich's turn. Unfortunately, her selected image, which also had a touch of the 'generic soldier' about it, despite the tiniest glimpse of a familiar Monster Hunter Slinger, didn't do a whole lot more to placate anxious fans.
And then there was this photo of many generic soldiers with guns that Jovovich chose to share as Hallowe'en rolled around.
Today, however, things are looking a little brighter. In a new official photo unveiled by IGN, there's finally some evidence that those involved in the movie have in fact played a Monster Hunter game. Alongside Jovovich's character (UN military team leader Captain Natalie Artemis), we're granted a first glimpse of Tony Jaa as The Hunter, dressed in much more familiar Monster Hunter garb, and wielding one of the series' distinctive Great Swords. As an added bonus, Jovovich carries her own Dual Blades, carving knife, and Slinger.
According to Capcom, the film "tells the story of two heroes who come from different worlds to defeat a shared danger, the powerful, deadly and magnificent monsters that inhabit the land." The image above is almost certainly a shot of this beautiful inter-dimensional union.
It's also worth noting that the new photo features quite a lot of sand, which Anderson got very excited about previously. "The Monster Hunter world includes these huge deserts that make the Gobi Desert look like a sandbox," he told Deadline in 2016, revealing that "We've found a way of connecting the Dune-like sand covered world of Monster Hunter with our world. So we're bringing this massive Japanese game into the world of America."
It's unlikely that one single image of a furry collar and a big ol' sword is going to be enough to convince fans that the Monster Hunter movie is in good hands, but it's certainly reassuring to see more familiar elements from the game world. And I still maintain that Anderson is more than capable of conjuring up some brainlessly enjoyable fun. Whatever happens, expect to see plenty more of the Monster Hunter movie as its planned 2020 release draws nearer.