OK. Now the dust has settled from the tsunami of words I hit you with in my last post*, I thought I’d follow up The World’ Shortest Film review with a slightly longer one.
I haven’t read the books so was coming at this cold.**
Short version: I’m glad I stuck with it.
It started badly. I was prepared to quit after the first episode. The dialogue was clunky. There were too many manly grunts. Too many sections of ‘and now I will tell you my back story’. There were jumps in the plot that made no sense. More cliches than you could shake a magic stick at. I had the feeling I was being asked to care about people I knew nothing about. The scenery felt cheap. And the eyes! Seriously, what was going on with all those random eye colours?
The highlight of the episode was a great tweet about the episode by Joe Abercrombie: ‘the incel mage and his garden of boobies’. But otherwise, apart from the fight at the end (and I got the feeling that we were building up to that for almost an hour), I didn’t enjoy it.
I didn’t enjoy episodes 2 or 3, either.
I was encouraged to stick with it, so I did. (I didn’t need much encouragement, to be fair. It’s an affliction of mine, I rarely don’t finish books, either.) And, part-way through episode 4, things seemed to click.
The time lines converged. The people I felt I was being asked to care about in episode one I now cared about. Some of the monsters were suitably horrible. Some of the choices facing the protagonists also. The fight scenes were enjoyable. There were still moments when I found myself thinking: ‘what just happened?’ or ‘why did he/she/it do that?’ or ‘that makes no sense’. But, by then, I could roll with it.
Why the change? Mark Lawrence may explain it better. He made a good point in that The Witcher is almost like a fairy tale and in fairy tales somethings ‘just are’. If you can accept that the reason behind an action is ‘because’, then it makes sense. It took me a while to get there with this series.
As for those Hunting for a New Game of Thrones. This is not the show you’re looking for.
To paraphrase Mark Lawrence again – the shows are different beasts. GoT is essentially dirty politics (Would sir like a side-serving of cynicism to go with his tautology?) with some magic and dragons thrown in to spice it up, The Witcher reverses it. Maybe this will change in future series, but so far one is fantastical, the other fantastic. (At least until the last season, but that’s another post)
I’ll get round to reading the books at some point but for now I’ll stick with the show. And after a slow start, I’m actually looking forwards to seeing where it goes.
*That was ironical.**
**If you are one of the people who thinks not having read the books invalidates an opinion of the show, why? Shouldn’t the Netflix series stand on its own? Or do you believe that you can only have an opinion on something if you have read/ watched/ encountered the source material? Not read the James Bond books? Can’t comment on the films. Same applies for The Godfather, Jason Bourne series, Clockwork Orange, Fight Club, Trainspotting, Harry Potter, Twilight, LOTR etc etc I’m not looking for a fight, this is a genuine question.
***So was that. 🙂