This review is bound to inflame other Warhammer 40,000 fans but I feel like I would betraying the franchise not to express my opinion. The Ultramarines movie was a big step for the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and it generated a lot of excitement. When I found out about the movie I was ecstatic. At one point in time I even had the special edition box set pre-ordered from the official website. Fortunately for me funds ran low and I wasn't able to make the purchase. A month later I watched the movie with a friend who had gotten the movie and I couldn't have been more disappointed.
A lot of the excitement around the Ultramarines Movie project came from the announcement that mega author Dan Abnett would be writing the screenplay. First let me say that I have nothing but respect for Dan Abnett. I cannot name a single Warhammer 40,000 book he has written that I have not enjoyed completely. And I've read them all. Dan Abnett is by far the best author in the ranks of the Black Library publishing company and if there was ever anyone who could write the script for a 40K movie it would be him. That said, I'd like to believe that Abnett never even touched the script. There is no depth to the plot. None whatsoever. My guess is that Abnett jokingly handed the Ultramarines Movie staff a couple sentences scribbled on a restaurant napkin and told them to run with it. And they did.
The plot of the Ultramarines movie is thin, watery, and linear. A squad of Ultramarines (don't expect them to remember their names or faces) travel to a desolate world to relieve a beleaguered force of Imperial Fists. Once upon the planet the squad walks for a bit, bickers back and forth like school kids, walks for a bit more, bickers, walks, bickers, walks...you get my drift. The dialogue is laughable though the voice acting is very well done. The Ultramarines do not act anything like the Ultramarines depicted in 40K fiction. Their enemies, the Black Legion behave more like Khorne beserkers than the cunning remnant of Horus Lupercal's sons. The characters are so flat and interchangeable that you won't really be sure who died when. The twists aren't at all twisty. The character models are ugly and muddled as are the backgrounds and set pieces. The architecture doesn't come close to resembling the gothic style of the fiction. The action is bland and boring. I really can't find enough bad things to say about the movie.
This is one of those movies that people say, "For fans only." But in all honesty, fans of 40K need to stay way clear of the Ultramarines Movie. I hope I didn't offend anyone, this is after all just my opinion. But the truth is that this is a very bleak omen that lessens the possibilities of a REAL 40K movie down the road.