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the slow adaptation of a successful saga

Henry Cavill, whom we knew notably as Superman, plays Geralt de Riv in “The Witcher” (whose season 1 was released on Netflix on December 21). KATALIN VERMES / AP

NETFLIX – ON DEMAND – SERIES

Blood, sex, swords, dragons … You don't watch Game Of Thrones but good The Witcher, Netflix's latest original production, which explores the coveted land of theheroic fantasy. The first season, released online on December 21, is the adaptation of an adaptation. She draws her script from a fantastic medieval fresco written by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski since the 1990s, but her aesthetic is closer to the video games that were made, sold by tens of millions of copies in the 2010s.

We follow the adventures of Geralt de Riv: the Witcher, played here by Henry Cavill. This silent mutant with white hair tied in a bun earns his crust by ridding the villagers, lords or intriguers of the monsters and curses that haunt the mountains and forests of the continent. While the episodes are linked together like a collection of short stories, the main arc and the fate of the characters – the witch Yennefer, the princess Cirilla, the bard Jaskier … – follow literally the writings of Sapkowski and keep their Slavic blackness.

Weak special effects

Few good feelings inhabit the lands traveled by Geralt on his horse Ablette. Humans have shaken up the lives of local elves and dwarves badly, and the kingdom of Nilfgaard wants to extend its empire by blood over various provinces of the North. Betrayals, corruption, intervention of supernatural forces … The rare moments of respite take place in banquets where we end up fighting all the same, or in a bath in gallant company.

This mixture of political intrigue, haunted destinies, pitched battles, monsters and romance gives The Witcher an air of soap opera stuck in a depressive remake of Lord of the Rings. Allergic to fantasy will immediately see elsewhere: is not Game Of Thrones wants. But benevolent novices too could quickly let go of this first season with weak special effects.

After a botched first episode, however, we manage to follow Geralt's odyssey thanks to a nervous realization and a bunch of charismatic female characters, who finally steal the show from a Witcher trapped in his digital model: actor Henry Cavill goes until resuming the timbre of voices and the groans of its double pixel.

The Witcher, created by Lauren Schmidt Hissrich. With Henry Cavill, Freya Allan, Anya Chalotra (EU / Pol., 2019, 8 x 60 min). On demand on Netflix.

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