“The Witcher” is manufactured for you if you’re still having withdrawal symptoms of “Game Of Thrones”, but were hungering for something new within the fantasy fable genre. Although you don’t miss a whiff of “Dungeons And Dragons here or a nod from “The Lord Of The Rings” there, the series overall dishes out an original flavour, duly spiced by impressive CGI and abundant violence.
“The Witcher” sticks to genre formula. The series is grand in terms of visuals, action and musical score. Its multi-million dollar budget is extravagantly well-spent in bringing to life Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski’s book series of the same name, and the final product looks more apt for the big screen. Although there are political subtexts, these remain subtle. The emphasis is more on larger-than-life action drama as monsters, monster slayers, sorceresses and princesses play out the adventure.
Henry Cavill lets go of his Superman cape to slip into the armour of Geralt of Rivia, a mutated Witcher, or monster hunter with supernatural powers. Geralt is a loner and he seems more comfortable battling beasts than dealing with humans, who can often be more dangerous than monsters.
The series basically follows Geralt the Witcher’s exploits. Without giving away spoilers, he works at fending off the many beasts plaguing his world — known as the Continent. The princess Ciri (Freya Allan) and Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra) are key participants in the storyline as the episodes roll.
Cavill makes a fine Witcher. He has possibly guaranteed himself a new, bankable franchise option beyond his days as the Man of Steel. The Hollywood hunk renders moody machismo to Geralt. He is quite the intense action hero, suitably balancing quiet cynicism with an obsession to get his job done.
In fact, Cavill’s sombre rendition is almost symbolic of the show itself, which, despite its expensive and spectacular production value, would seem nihilistic at the core.
Series showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich has delivered a brisk-paced watch that mixes R-rated violence and nudity judiciously with the evenly-mounted drama. The show in this first season isn’t extraordinary in any way, but it is already garnering a loyal fan base. The widely-discussed possibility of season two would seem like a lucrative idea.
“The Witcher” is an oddly enjoyable piece, by turns mesmerising with the sheer visual quality of its frames and at other times stunning you with its sheer overload of violence. It is a quaint thriller that, although familiar in form and execution, reimagines the idea of ‘fairytale’ with nightmarish urge. [By Vinayak Chakravorty]