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The Surprising Way John Wayne Inspired The Monster Hunter Movie

The latest video game adaptation, Monster Hunter, is now out in theaters, and anyone who's been wanting to see some ferocious battles between behemoths on the big screen is in luck. The film delivers on its title as well as the video game series it's based on by dropping a group of military personnel into another dimension that's inhabited by deadly creatures as well as The Hunter (Tony Jaa), who shows them how they can overcome these monstrosities. 

Critics may be divided over the movie, but fans who just want to see people shooting at giant monsters are in for an action-packed thrill ride that's sure to satisfy. It's safe to say if you're a fan of director Paul W.S. Anderson's other video game adaptations, namely the Resident Evil series, then you'll like what he's done here. The influences from the director's other films are obvious, but you may be surprised to learn what other works inspired this monster movie. 

Paul W.S. Anderson took some cues from the 'epic landscapes' of classic Westerns

Monster Hunter primarily takes place in an alternate reality where there are a bunch of monsters and not much else. It's mostly a sandy, desolate environment, so when it came to making sure that setting was intriguing enough on its own, Anderson looked toward other genres of film for inspiration. He found the aesthetic that Monster Hunter needed in an unlikely place: the classic American Western.

"When you're shooting in massive landscapes, you don't have the same sense of claustrophobia," Anderson said in an interview with Inverse. "What I did try to do was put people within smaller boxes within those landscapes; it's a classic Western thing to do, going back to John Ford and The Searchers where you have the epic landscapes but what's really beautiful is seeing John Wayne walk out of a doorway." As revealed later in the interview, they didn't shoot much of the film against green screens. When you see them out in that sand, the actors were actually put in those grueling conditions with sand cannons set up to simulate what it would be like to have a huge monster rampaging next to them.

While it would be easy for characters to become lost in a great, big nothing, it sounds as though Anderson made sure to pull the scope in at times to really hone in on those big moments. Making Monster Hunter essentially a Western with monsters is definitely a far cry from an earlier version of the script, which had more "Harry Potter" vibes, but it sounds as though Anderson really hit on something special here. 

Monster Hunter is now available to watch in theaters. What a novelty!