The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf assessment: A brutal, stunning prequel

Followers of The Witcher, Netflix’s darkish adaptation of the sequence of fantasy novels of the identical title, nonetheless have just a few months to go earlier than the hit sequence returns, however the streaming service is hoping to make the wait extra tolerable with the discharge of The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, an animated spinoff movie set within the present’s universe.

Produced by The Witcher showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, Nightmare of the Wolf presents up a prequel story set years earlier than the occasions of The Witcher sequence. The movie follows Vesemir, a monster-hunting Witcher who will grow to be sequence protagonist Geralt’s mentor in later years, as he investigates a lethal creature terrorizing a metropolis — solely to make a discovery that modifications the course of each his life and people of all Witchers.

The Originals sequence author Beau DeMayo, who beforehand penned top-of-the-line episodes of The Witcher so far, season 1’s Betrayer Moon, supplied the script for Nightmare of the Wolf, which manages to supply each a satisfying stand-alone journey and one which reveals fairly a bit extra concerning the world the sequence inhabits.

Tetra and Vesemir in a scene from The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf.

Trying good

It’s no shock that The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf delivers a gorgeous visible expertise.

The resume of Studio Mir, the South Korean animation studio that labored on Nightmare of the Wolf, options a few of the finest animated initiatives to reach on the small display lately, from the critically acclaimed The Legend of Korra and Voltron: Legendary Defender to the criminally underappreciated Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts. With Nightmare of the Wolf, the studio pivots from all-ages adventures to a extra adult-themed sequence whereas retaining its knack for mixing crisp strains and vivid colours with an excellent grasp of each motion and emotion within the characters they bring about to the display.

Nightmare of the Wolf is as rewarding to observe in its quieter, extra dialogue-driven moments as it’s in its most frantic, fast-paced sequences, and Studio Mir rewards Netflix’s continued collaboration with one other visually beautiful undertaking that serves each the story and the range of the streamer’s library nicely.

Vesemir in the tub in a scene from The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf.

Sounding good, too

The forged of actors lending their voices to The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf presents a pleasant number of acquainted faces (if not names) and veteran voice actors, with The Divergent Sequence franchise actor Theo James portraying the grownup Vesemir. James delivers Vesemir’s dialogue with the right combination of roguish attraction and well-earned confidence, and the mixing of his line supply and the character’s on-screen persona works nicely for the character.

A lot of the identical could be mentioned of Sherlock actress Lara Pulver and Outlander actor Graham McTavish, who voice the sorceress Tetra and the veteran Witcher Deglan, respectively. Each characters maintain you guessing in relation to their true loyalties, and the actors voicing them do a pleasant job of sustaining that uncertainty of their supply of the characters’ strains.

Lady Zerbst and Tetra in a scene from The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf.

Huge world, small story

Though the visuals and voice performing in Nightmare of the Wolf deserve loads of reward, it’s the story that brings all of it collectively — and in addition presents probably the most compelling motive to observe the movie.

Telling a satisfying, self-contained story whereas additionally including depth to a world as wealthy as that of The Witcher is not any straightforward process, and the Nightmare of the Wolf artistic crew balances these wants nicely. Newcomers shouldn’t have any hassle leaping proper into the world of The Witcher by way of Nightmare of the Wolf, whereas these accustomed to the sequence — or the books they’re based mostly on, by novelist Andrzej Sapkowski — will seemingly get pleasure from the additional layers the movie provides to the present franchise saga.

When season 2 of The Witcher lastly premieres in December 2021, it will likely be practically two years because the sequence made its debut on Netflix. Thankfully, even with out actor Henry Cavill’s gruff monster hunter Geralt, Nightmare of the Wolf presents loads of rewarding components and an awesome reminder of why The Witcher is such an enchanting world to discover, it doesn’t matter what kind that exploration takes.

Animated function The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf is out there now on Netflix.

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