I had a lot of feelings when they cast Henry Cavill as The Witcher. The first was, why should I care, I have very little involvement with this franchise beyond reading the first book. And two, my poor gaming friends forced to watch Cavill’s wooden acting.
I was wrong on that front. Cavill was probably the perfect choice. He’s huge, he loves the source material, and his wooden acting works very well for the quiet intensity and vulgarity of Geralt of Riviera.
Now, the only thing he has to really fight against is the storytelling. The Witcher is an amazing combo of really bad and really good writing. And they bounce between the two in back to back scenes in a manner that’s almost impressive. For a show called The Witcher and ostensibly about monster hunting, there’s not much of either. Or not as much as you’d expect. An amazingly choreographed fight scene from the first episode teases fully fleshed out action that only occasionally comes to fruition in the rest of the series. In every episode, there’s just enough good to balance out the bad.
There was clearly a fight between the editor and the directors. Missing shots, reused shots, dropped transitions – all trying their best to maintain a coherent narrative that chose different timelines as the avenue they wanted to explore in season one. It’s almost comical.
The end result is a lore rich fantasy series that holds promise but you could easily see falling into obscurity because of bloated budgets and story telling. Case in point, if you want people to like a main character, don’t write them like Yennifer. She is miserable and I could give two goats to what happens to her or what she wants. Because it changes every episode and she copes by being an asshole to everyone.
Give me more Witcher. Give me more monsters. Give me the fight choreographer from The Raid.
2.5 out of 4 stars