TL;DR – A film with a lot of promise, held down by too many competing demands.
Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars
So there is this stigma about movies based on Video Game franchises, that they simply will never be good, indeed Good Game did a whole episode on this very issue. To be fair, at best we have only ever got passable Video Game movies, and the only good film in this genre was Wreck-It Ralph and it only used Video Games as a setting, and of course the less said about Pixels the better. So with all this, is Warcraft the movie that will break the curse? No, no it won’t. So before we go on I should qualify that I never played World of Warcraft, so I am coming to this movie with only the knowledge that you get from being on the Internet, Alliance and Horde and all that jazz. That being said, for a movie to be good I should be able to understand everything without playing the source material, and a good adaption would make that happen.
So Warcraft tells the story of the beginning of the war between the Alliance and the Horde on the fantasy continent of Azeroth. The story beings somewhere else, where we are introduced to Strangely White Orc (Toby Kebbell) and his Baby Mama (Anna Galvin), they are waiting to enter a portal to Azeroth powered by Big Bad Creepy Orc (Daniel Wu) sucking the souls out of people. On the Azeroth side, Not Aragon (Travis Fimmel) was investigating why all his soldiers are starting to die and runs into CSI Merlin (Ben Schnetzer) who warns him of the evil that is coming. From here we run back and forth across Azeroth, far too quickly for the distances involved, running into People Really Trust Her Quickly (Paula Patton), Not Raiden (Ben Foster) and King I Was Better As Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper).
There are many things that just don’t work in Warcraft, and the most frustrating thing is the story. It is just so bland, at best it is by the numbers, introduce the two sides, play them off against each other until the finale. However, most of the time the story is just sloppy, things happen not because they feel natural, but because the plot needed them to happen. Characters which there is no way people would trust are instantly trusted, people walk around with big ‘I will Die’ labels above their heads, honestly you will be able to tell in the first 20 minutes everything that will happen in the movie.
The acting is not the greatest, I can’t tell you where the problem for that arises, is it from the actors, or the direction, or the script, but it just falls a bit flat. In many cases, I think it may have been trying to act like they have tusks in your mouth and that just did not translate well.
Given this movie is built on its CGI, most of the CGI is pretty good, with some really nice wide shot landscapes, and that Griffin was superb. However, some of the graphics felt really underdone, like I saw better CGI in the Lord of the Rings. Also, the action felt a bit weird like they could not decide what rating they wanted the film to be, so they couldn’t decide if they wanted to be dark and gritty, or just go for that safe PG-13 rating. As well as this, while I am sure the costume design is faithful to the video game, it just does not translate all that well to the film, it felt like everyone was wearing armour that was too big for them.
In the end, I wanted to really like Warcraft because I love me some fantasy, and there is just not enough of it at the movies, however, I simply did not enjoy my time in Azeroth. The whole time I was watching this movie it was reminding me of better films I could be watching, or indeed better games I could be playing. So can I recommend Warcraft, no sorry I really can’t, spend your money elsewhere.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Directed by – Duncan Jones
Screenplay by – Charles Leavitt & Duncan Jones
Story by – Chris Metzen
Based on – Warcraft by Blizzard Entertainment
Starring – Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky, Daniel Wu, Ruth Negga, Anna Galvin & Glenn Close
Rating – Australia: M; Canada: 14A; Germany: 12; NZ: M; USA: PG-13