“I wanted to recapture the feeling of when I first played the video game. I came to the game not knowing anything about it. And as a stranger, I was immersed in this world containing these amazing landscapes and these amazing creatures that would kick my ass,” Anderson said. “And I thought, ‘I want that. That should be the film going experience as well.'”
This approach necessitated creating a protagonist who was an outsider, which led to the creation of Jovovich’s character Captain Natalie Artemis, a military officer whose elite unit finds themselves transported to the hostile, nameless realm of Monster Hunter where there are so many gruesome ways to die thanks to the local, ahem, wildlife.Anderson called Artemis “a very, very different character for her to play. She’s never played a character like this before.” He explained that, as Artemis, “Milla is the avatar for the audience. She’s the newbie going into this world. She’s the person from our world. Then there’s nothing about the Monster Hunter world that’s going in for the first time.”
The director continued: “What’s nice for the game players about that is it recreates your first experience when you first played Monster Hunter. But also what’s nice is that it doesn’t exclude anyone because if you don’t know anything about the game, she’s the character who goes, ‘Oh my God, what are these creatures? What is this world? How does it work?'”
Over the course of the movie, Artemis encounters Tony Jaa’s Hunter and Ron Perlman’s Admiral, both characters from Monster Hunter World. Anderson says that these characters end up teaching Artemis how to survive in this strange new world. Artemis, as Anderson put it, might be “a fierce warrior from our world, but the skill she’s learned as a U.S. Army Ranger, which is badass in our world, those skills don’t mean too much when you’re fighting these 50-foot tall monsters.”
Anderson also pointed out that the military weaponry wielded by Artemis and her team might have been impressive on Earth, but such firepower “doesn’t quite work so good against a Rathalos and Diablos. So she has to learn a new way to fight and she has to learn how to cooperate. And I feel that’s one of the main themes of the video game that I really liked was cooperation is key. You have to fight with other people, you have to cooperate with other people to bring down these big creatures.”
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Cooperation among diverse peoples is also the theme of the Monster Hunter movie, something Anderson found to be “a good message for our world right now. We live in such a divisive world where people are closing off their borders and closing off their minds, that to have a movie that in the most fun way possible basically tells you that people from different cultures, from different backgrounds, need to cooperate for the greater good. For me, that’s a good message for our times.”
Monster Hunter opens December 30, recently pushed up from an April 2021 date.
While waiting for Monster Hunter, check out Jovovich using her Slinger, an iconic in-game weapon she showed off on Twitter in response to fan backlash against the movie. After that, look at IGN’s list of 12 cool Monster Hunter movie details we’ve already discovered.