It’s been 5 long years since I first discovered The Lord Inquisitor and 5 long years since I interviewed it’s creator, Erasmus Brosdau who, back then was making a 30 minute movie because he loved the Warhammer 40,000 universe. A project he actually began the year before.
The prologue is a 9 minute 42 second chunk of what’s to come. Take a look and then you can sit through 1,400 words of me explaining why I’m struggling to find any fucks to give. I even checked under the bed.
Credit where credit’s due, Erasmus achieved the impossible by convincing the Games Workshop to (a) not sue him and (b) let him finish the project. There were, however, some conditions of course. The first being that he had to let Aaron Demski-Bowden work on the script because it was, frankly, shit.
No disrespect to the guy but it was classic fan fiction that crammed in all the shit he liked, held together by something vaguely resembling a plot that failed to stay true to the lore.
I can say that because I’ve been guilty of the same sin in the past. Although thankfully all those atrocious attempts at writing have long been deleted.
If you’ve watched the video you may have noticed that not a single mention was given to our favourite beanie wearing Black Library author. The man himself said on two different websites that he and Erasmus were co-writing the script so I find it irksome that his name was left off. There may be a perfectly reasonable explanation for this. There may not.
In the interests of transparency, I have a bit of a beef with Mr Brosdau.
Having discovered his project in 2011 I tried really hard to help raise its profile. After two interviews on The Shell Case and heavily promoting his project on social media, he promptly declined any further contact after the first trailer hit.
In his words, he wanted to save interviews and exclusives for bigger websites than mine.
Maybe it’s sour grapes. Personally I feel it was an unnecessary snub towards a site and its readers that had shown enthusiasm for his project.
Despite all that though, I’ve kept close tabs on the project and now, after months of hinting, the prologue was been revealed to the world.
I’ve been keen to see things move forward and the movie to be a success although my enthusiasm has been tempered by Erasmus’ tendency to pull focus. I don’t like showoffs.
Which brings me neatly on to the video. If you’d never heard of Erasmus Brosdau before now and you’ve watched the trailer you’d know exactly who I was banging on about because his name is on almost everything.
As mentioned, it really annoyed me that Aaron Demski-Bowden isn’t mentioned until the end credits. It also annoyed me that Erasmus rather vaguely claimed creator credit. I can think of several people who live in Nottinghamshire that may feel differently.
The unnecessary credits aside, on to the the prologue itself.
It’s gorgeous. I mean really really lovely to look at. The first couple of frames remind me slightly of Transformers: The Movie with Unicron but I admit, I’m showing my age.
The opening shots of the various Imperial ships and the soundtrack booming over the top is excellent. Exactly what I’d expect if a feature film was ever made.
I’m pretty sure Terra doesn’t have an atmosphere any more but we’ll call that creative license.
Terra itself is impressive. Vast, gothic, ancient, unfathomable, cramped. It also feels a little Blade Runner in places and a little Final Fantasy VII in others. Look up Midgar and you’ll totally see my point. This ins’t a problem per se but it did detract from the imposing gothic style slightly.
That said, absolutely top marks to Erasmus and everyone involved for creating something that looks and feels very ’40k’. At least for the most part. Arguably more so than anything that’s come before it, including the Space Marine video game.
Also the soundtrack is fucking brilliant. Fantastically dramatic and orchestral yet there’s lots of contemporary influences to make it perfectly, delightfully science fantasy. I would buy that score happily.
It will shock none of you that there were things I didn’t like.
The big red balloons for one. They just seem a bit odd to me. The palanquins were stupid. Why they looked akin to Mars pattern warships is beyond me.
The procession was a confused mess of a military parade and a carnival. It’s as if the The trouping of the colour and the Day of the Dead had made an unholy, ghoulish baby.
The Space Marine animations annoyed me. They felt too lumbering and the perfect pace was to hide the fact they were all identical. Literally no difference. Plus I’m not convinced they would have been there in the first place. The Dreadnought’s definitely wouldn’t have been.
I have to accept that all these things fall under artistic license and at least are 40k and more or less accurate.
But seriously though, what the fuck is the deal with the mental hats the ecclesiarch are all wearing?
Sadly my gripes don’t stop there.
The animation of the characters is very rough around the edges. The Imperial Guard in the procession look super imposed. Their movement along the processional was faster than their footfalls so they appeared to slide down the road.
The death cult assassin is typically over sexualised complete with a bottom that, to coin a phrase, you could park a bike in. It’s okay if Erasmus is an ass man, I just think the rest of her needs to match.
Oh and it would have been nice if she wasn’t dressed in such a way to suggest she was going to chain you up and then assault your back passage with an array of silicone sex aids. It was lame when it was done in the Inquisitor game, it’s still lame 15 years later.
Whilst the features of the characters are very detailed and undoubtedly impressive, the facial animations are rubbery and the mouths don’t match the dialogue. I appreciate this is incredibly difficult but seeing as some video games have this down now, I feel my standards have been raised for me.
The voice acting is poor. I don’t know how else to put it. I’m not sure if it’s the script or the direction but it swings from being quite forced to very hurried. There’s no pace so during Marcus’ big scene he comes of as a sociopath, taking delight in the torment of his victim.
I have a real problem with this as whilst Inquisitors can be egomaniacs and their methods and perspectives vary wildly, I always feel like they would appreciate the gravity of finding and executing a traitor on Holy Terra.
Instead he’s the Inquisitorial equivalent of the kid who pulls wings off flies. Which makes him a total dick and a fairly unlikable protagonist.
Where it really falls down though, where it’s left me cold instead of ringing the sex-wee from my pants, is nothing really happens.
We’ve waited 6 years for basically eight and a half minutes of showing off. Before you start throwing objects at your screen and trying to find out where I live, really watch it.
I’ve watched it around ten times now to make sure.
We get a full minute of sexy ships. That’s fine. The ships are sexy and they deserve their time in the sun being sexy. The sequence is also beautifully, perfectly, shot.
We then get 4 minutes and forty seconds of shots of Terra: various locations, lots of dramatic panoramics and the parade. All the while with that brilliant soundtrack playing over the top.
Finally we see Marcus and co tormenting their prey. That scene lasts 2 minutes 19 seconds.
Then there’s 1 minutes 42 seconds of credits in which Erasmus is mentioned 15 times. Whilst I’m all for people getting the credit they deserve, I feel like this could have been done with a little less narcissism, with more time spent making the prologue good and less time spent making Erasmus’ career.
It’s entirely possible that I’m being too harsh, but I really don’t think I am. For all the time, hype and attention seeking that’s gone on these last five or six years I was expecting a lot more.
I don’t think it’s enough to reward your audience’s patience with 5 minutes of impressive visuals, 2 minutes of talking and almost 2 minutes of patting oneself on the back.
For all that though, I still want The Lord Inquisitor to be good and I want it to be a success. I want the glitches with bird animations to be smoothed out and the voice actors to find their feet with the material.
More than anything I want myself the other fans out there to lose their minds over how awesome it is and not get to the end, shrug their shoulders and say ‘meh’. Which is exactly what’s just happened.