I finally managed to watch all of Ultramarines thanks to the /tg/ community and Livestream. My thoughts:
Having caught a glimpse or two of the film beforehand, I was prepared to be underwhelmed by the CGI and animation. Yes, the CG is very, very bad, and the animation tends to be more choppy then not, but I looked past this. I was expecting a strong story, or at least a passable one and lots of marines killing heretics. What I got was, well, let me put it this way. If it hadn't been a 40k movie, I would have passed it off a average. It was OK, the action scenes where somewhat interesting, and the plot was passable.
BUT, this isn't a generic sci-fi film, this is a movie set in the 40k universe. It doesn't ignore the fluff ,it runs it over with a car and sticks it in a blender. Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine a frat boy at a college party in the closet with a drunken freshman girl. Now, Codex Pictures is the frat boy and the girl is 40k fluff. I don't know what Abnett was thinking when he decided to write this, but there where numerous things that where just plain wrong, or didn't make sense. A few of which, without revealing anything, are:
A Shrine World with an important relic, being guarded by an entire company, yes, an entire company of Imperial Fists, is nothing but a huge dessert. No Hive Cities, Soritas, Ecclesiarchy or Inquisition presence, no priests, pilgrims, houses, nothing but a dustball with a chapel. Going into the fluff why always see the Shrines Worlds a covered from pole-to-pole or sea to sea in cities and monuments, not a single ruined cathedral.
A space marine captain, yes, a captain, leader of an entire company of marines, decides to lead the little visit himself, accompanied by a command squad made entirely of novices. Why? Every current SM codex clearly states that the members of a command squad are hardened veterans.
A chaplain shoots a laser field from his crozuis. This is pure and simple, a crozius does not work that way, a crozius is a fancy power maul, thats it.
It goes on and on and on and on. A Thunder hawk the size of a Valkyrie, Space marines dieing from being shot in A heart, with normal bullets, the presence of only what seems to be about twelve marines on a battlebarge. Now, one would think that if the CGI was poor, and that Codex/Abnett blatantly disregard fluff than maybe the overall plot would be good to make up for it right? Wrong.
I say again, it is PASSABLE, in a direct to TV, Sy-Fy channel kind of way. The characters are bland and not very memorable, the story is simple, and the twists are seen coming from a mile away.
The only saving grace(s) are the sound effects and voice work, which are of top notch quality. the voice actors give a good performance and the sounds of battle, from the blast of bolter fire,the roar of chain swords or the thrumming of a Land Speeders grav engines, the sound makes the world come alive in a way the CG cannot.
I can't say I was expecting this to be a triple A project but all in all I can only say that I am very disappointed. Furthermore, I will not being purchasing this movie. It isn't worth my $40 and isn't worth yours. I can't recommend this to a die hard 40k fan, but maybe, just maybe, a curious new player or fan of sci-fi action may get some enjoyment out of this, but I still wouldn't suggest buying it at its current price tag. It just isn't ultra enough.