It really shouldn't be hard not to screw up a Monster Hunter movie. After all, there aren't any fan-favourite characters to ruin, and there certainly isn't much of a story; all it really needs are big monsters, big weapons, lavish scenery, and, yes, big cats. So it's gratifying to see Paul W.S. Anderson's Monster Hunter movie finally being presented, in a new trailer for its Chinese release, as the kind of Monster Hunter movie fans of the series might actually want to watch.
Gone is the inexplicable emphasis on the US military seen in Sony Pictures' last Monster Hunter trailer, which largely seemed to suggest that everyone involved hadn't got even the faintest clue what Monster Hunter actually was, and in are a host of familiar elements that finally makes this cinematic spin on Capcom's long-running franchise feel like part of the same universe.
There are sweeping, fantastical landscapes that go beyond 'brown desert', there's a heaving menagerie of creatures that indicate Anderson did more research than a cursory glance at a Monster Hunter box cover, and we also get a brief tease of the Palico chef in his natural cooking habitat. There's even a welcome bit of humour, notably absent in the previous stony faced trailer, to go with all the prerequisite big weapons and action set-pieces.
All in all, after years of questionable on-set photos and pre-release teases, Paul W.S. Anderson's Monster Hunter movie is, I'd say, starting to look considerably more like Monster Hunter. Granted, Anderson's rather uneven cinematic track record means there's no guarantee his Milla-Jovovich-starring vehicle will actually be a good movie, let alone a good Monster Hunter movie, but at least it looks like effort has been made to get the right pieces in place.
We'll know more when the Monster Hunter movie - which also stars Ron Perlman, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta, TI Harris, and Ong-Bak's Tony Jaa - releases on 4th December in the UK.