This is an advanced spoiler-free review of The Witcher: Blood Origin miniseries, which will arrive on Netflix on December 25, 2022..
Following the latest news that Henry Cavill leaves The Witcher after its third season broadcast in 2023 on Netflix (Liam Hemsworth will reprise the lead role in season 4), it’s easy to assume that the popular fantasy franchise might be on the decline. However, Netflix is proving there are still plenty of enjoyable stories to be told in author Andrzej Sapkowski’s imaginative world with his entertaining prequel miniseries, The Witcher: Blood Origin. Set 1200 years before the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, in a time before monsters and humans roamed the continent, Blood Origin is mighty, with a gripping cast of misfits wonderfully reminiscent of popular American western movies, The Magnificent Seven.
Blood Origin’s story excels in building up to the conjunction of the spheres and the creation of the first Witcher prototype more than the actual payoff at the end. Part of the story is hampered by political machinations in the ancient city of Xin-Trea (sin-tray-ya), where young Princess Merwyn (Mirren Mack) and low-born wizard Balor (Lenny Henry) conspire to gain ultimate power. in The Continent. We’ll let you find out what this power is for yourself and why the Golden Empire desires it. While Mack and Henry deliver great performances throughout, their characters lack the vibrancy and development of our group of misfits.
The Seven Outcasts and their respective adventures are definitely the highlight of Blood Origin and worth the watch alone. Each individual has their own story and their own personality. If I had one complaint about the band, I just wish we could spend more than four episodes with them.
The first two entries in the miniseries are mostly used to bring them together, with Laurence O’Fuarain’s Fjall and Sophia Brown’s Éile acting as the de facto leaders of the group. Michelle Yeoh brings some welcome gravity as the Elfan Scian Swordmaster. Yeoh continues her reign as the absolute badass in whatever she finds herself in, as she fights her way through waves of enemy soldiers. In typical Witcher form, the action scenes are a joy to behold with stellar fight choreography and plenty of blood.
Besides the action, creator Declan De Barra (The Witcher) – alongside directors Vicky Jewson and Sarah O’Gorman – also makes excellent use of Iceland’s breathtaking scenery. Each scene with Fjall, Scian and Éile traversing the stunning landscape on their journey adds to the otherworldly aspect of the show, transporting us to a fantasyland unlike any other. The excellent use of on-site settings with our heroes overshadows the less interesting aspects of the story once it focuses on what happens in Xin-Trea, where lush landscapes are swapped for pre-built settings that look like …well, to sets.
Speaking of visuals, the special effects plans, especially when it comes to monsters, aren’t as polished as what we’ve seen in The Witcher or more recent big-budget fantasy series such as Dragon House Where power rings. But while some of Blood Origin’s creatures may lack polish in the VFX department, it never quite took me out of the story.
Back to the sevens, one of Blood Origin’s most unexpected and welcome surprises is a fearsome dwarf called Meldof, memorably played by Francesca Mills, who wields a mighty hammer she calls “Gwen.” Meldof’s story and his reason for wanting revenge on the Golden Empire rivals any of his comrades. And Mills is so funny and charming that his character could easily star in his own spin-off series.
The series also has some fun Easter eggs for video game and book fans, complete with cameos and references to some notable names from Witcher lore. But as the show comes to an end and the battle for power in The Continent comes to a head with the seven and the Golden Empire, the series begins to unravel a bit. While it’s nice to have this entry into The Witcher universe to offer more context on why the conjunction of the spheres happened and how the first Witcher was born, it all seems very rushed in the game. final episode. While I applaud the creators for not wanting to extend their welcome, Blood Origin could have used a few more hours to bring the show to a satisfying conclusion.