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Movies & Series 29 November 2019, 17:45

author: Mike Manka

Can it wait for a bit? I'm in the middle of some calibrations.

I Have Seen Alzur's Legacy – Fan-Made Witcher without Geralt Actually Works

The premiere of the fan-made, feature-length Witcher movie is fianally upon us. I had the opportunity to see it a few days ago, and I was mostly curious how it works with Lambert as the protagonist.

I recently wrote an extensive coverage on the works on Alzur's Legacy, so I won't write much about the behind-the-scenes of this project. However, if you don't feel like going through that, after all lengthy, article, I'll give you a quick recap: Alzur's Legacy is a fan project set in the Witcher universe, unrelated to the Netflix production, created in 4 years, mainly funded by the community, which came to existance thanks to the persistence of a group of madmen who said they want to see a proper Witcher movie. And soon, they will finally release the result achieved with blood, sweat and tears – and probably more than one White Gull.

THE FINAL DELAY

Just before the publication of our text, we learned that the premiere of Alzur’s Legacy will take place with a week's delay, on December 7, 2019. At the same time, the authors informed us that the show at the Warsaw Fantasy Fair will be held according to the plan.

Vesemir or Boromir?

Lambert as a witcher looks great. Photo Cezary Pomykalo

The story of Alzur's Legacy focuses on the famous monster slayer, Lambert, who seeks revenge on those who pillaged the Witches' dwelling. Many years later, he meets Triss Merigold, the elderly bard Jaskier (Dandelion), and Julian, a handsome boy with an irresistible attraction to women, which should already give you an idea about his kinship. Merigold's mission is to bring to the pupil who escaped Aretuze, Ornella, before the Sorceresses' Lodge – she indulges in quite unexpected practices as for a sorceress of those times. The motivations are simple and clear, and make for the perfect starting point for the whole story.

The way the plot develops resembles the the first Witcher game fron CD projekt Red, but with its own identity, increasingly apparent towards the end. The screenwriters gracefully adapted the tale of Hansel and Gretel to give some context to the naughty student and seed her in the minds of the characters, playing with convention and, at the same time, stuffing the film with a mass of references to Tolkien's classics. Even the director's (Jakub Nurzynski) cameo triggers an immediate association with the appearance of Peter Jackson in The Fellowship of the Ring. When it comes to the story, we get a decent tale, although there are no big twists that would make your head spin.

Photo Cezary Pomykalo

The film quickly establishes the character's relationships, and clearly reveals the chemistry between them. Lambert's famously complicated relationship with Triss is fantastically complemented by Julian, who adds a bit of frivolity to the cast and often brings comic relief. The cast includes Mariusz Drezek (Lambert), Marcin Bubolka (Julian) and Kamila Kaminska (Ornella), and they all come out on top, no doubt. Then, there are some really good supporting roles from Bartosz Wesolowski and Andrzej Strzelecki. And then, there's of course the one-and-only Zbigniew Zamachowski, who plays Dandelion (Jaskier), harking back to the original, Polish TV series about the Witcher, where he performed the same role. He doesn't get too much screentime, but when he's there, he exhibits expected acting mastery, really tying the entire movie together.

The views of Dol Blathanna

Alzur's Legacy is really enchanting at times. I never expected such a great cinematography from a niche production like this – it combines cozy locations with stunning sceneries (the wideshot in Brenna is stunning!). Scenography and costumes are also top-notch, combining the stylistics of the original Witcher movie, some obvious inspirations with the CDPR's game, and at the same time bringing some unique flavor. On top of that, we have really good soundtrack, which – again – could be considered derivative, as it sounds a lot like what Percival did with Marcin Przybylowicz in The Wild Hunt, but that's not really a bad thing.

Merigold, do you remember the best bed in Kaer Morhen? Photo Cezary Pomykalo

If there was something I found sort of off-putting, it were the dialogs. On the one hand, the conversations are pretty witty, combining typical Sapkowski's style with references to other works of literature and even... old Polish memes; on the other hand, however, Lambert is a bit too heavy on one-liners, and his exchanges with Agaius, the rather generic villain, were rather unconvincing. On top of that, some scenes seem more like TV theatre, rather than a movie – the impression might be generated by rather static camera works. It does not spoil the overall impression, but it's certainly noticeable.

I was a little disappointed with combat scenes. For some reason they're either too fast, or too static; either way, somethings odd about the dynamics of the whole thing, and it's hard to focus on what we're actually looking at. Then, some of the special effects also look rather bland. Most of the time it's ok, the spells used by the sorcerers and sorcresses are mostly economical and fit well with the rest, there was a few instances – such as Triss' offensive spells, or the portal used for teleportation – when the VFX looked out-of-the-place. It's not flagrant, but it's not exactly state-of-the-art.

"Lambert caen me a'baeth aep arse"

Famous Polish actor played the role od Dandelion. Photo Cezary Pomykalo

Although the decision to replace Geralt with Lambert as the protagonist initially raised some eyebrows, this decision really paid off. This allowed a fresh new approach to the story, allowing more exposition of characters that were always in the shade of Geralt, Yennefer and Ciri. The new characters also work really well with the familiar cast, which is one of the biggest successes of the creators. I'm certain that if they had a bigger budget, this production would really be outstanding, and there certainly would be far less shortcomings.

The ultimate question is, of course, whether Alzur's Legacy is worth the 90 minutes of your life. The answer is simple: definitely. It's certainly the most enjoyable fan production I've ever seen. Just keep in mind that the budget for this film was virtually nonexistent, and you'll notice some flaws arising specifically from budget constraints: too few doubles, and not enough professionals working on some particular elements. Not all the acting is convincing, combat scenes are not sometimes underwhelming – nonetheless, we get an extraordinary adventure that's a good watch if you're a fan of Andrzej Sapkowski's output. If I was to give the film a score from one (terrible) to ten (groundbreaking), I'd give Alzur's Legacy a crate full of Mandrake cordial and a pinch of fisstech. What does this score mean? You tell me after watching the movie. And be sure to stick around for the scene after the credits.

Mike Manka | Gamepressure.com

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