If you’re like me and you only made it through your early teenage years by playing Warhammer 40,000 then Ultramarines will be instantly familiar to you. It’s got some good names in it, it just isn’t that great a film.
For those who haven’t ever played Warhammer 40,000, or 40k as everyone calls it, it is a tabletop game where armies battle it out in a futuristic world where there is only war. Created by British company Games Workshop in the mid-1980s it has now spread out into books and films.
In 40k the defenders of the universe are the Space Marines, the elite soldiers of the Imperium. They are ruled by the emperor on Earth, but they roam much further out into the galaxy where they encounter a number of alien races such as: orks, eldar (elves) but also the corrupting force called chaos.
This is akin to nuclear contamination as it mutates and deforms those that come into contact with it. It also spawns demons and the such. What this means is that the Space Marines often come into contact with chaos Space Marines.
It’s this idea that is at the centre of the Ultramarines. As to the name, the Space Marines are divided up into Chapters, regiments, and they all have different names, uniforms, relics and stuff like that. This all builds up into a rich and detailed universe, the perfect thing for a movie really. Well it should be at least.
In Ultramarines a detachment of Marines are sent down to a planet to see what has happened to some other Space Marines who were there. You won’t be surprised to hear that something bad has happened to them.
Ultramarines has some big names in it: John Hurt, Terence Stamp and Sean Pertwee. The trouble is the animation doesn’t live up to their billing. I have seen better cut scenes in games than in the film. This is most evident in the way that the Marines walk but also in the faces of the Marines. The suits they are in do look good though, especially the Chaplain whose helmet resembles a skull.
Storywise it’s not the greatest either, but then it is surely aimed at the hardcore 40k fan who would just be happy to see their favourite thing on screen.
The funny thing about Ultramarines though is that it’s a 15 certificate, which would mean that many 40k fans will be too young to watch it and they would be the ones who’d like it most.
Review by Henry Tucker