aking a break from CAB movie events, I decided to hit the new release shelf and pick up something I’ve been ignoring: Warcraft, an adaptation of the ’90s video game that birthed the online juggernaut that is World of Warcraft.
Judging by my history of adaptations, can it stand on its own two magic feet?
The story follows two sets of characters: the orcs fleeing their dying world though a magic portal, and the humans trying to defend their homes from these invaders. The orcs are represented by the protagonist Durotan, who wants to free his people from the leash held by evil warlock Gul’Dan. Lothar, hero of humanity, is accompanied by failed mage Khadgar and orc turncoat Garona in his fight to save king and country.
First thing first, the movie wasn’t as bad as I’d heard it was. The film realizes that that description above is ludicrous. It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve seen all year. It tries very hard to be approachable by people who aren’t fans and, for the most part, it succeeds. It also sprinkles in a lot for the fans to enjoy.
The film is thick with CGI and while it’s good quality, it is noticeable. The cinematography is excellent, something I attribute to director Duncan Jones, who’s rather good at capturing special effects visuals in a believable way. The actors are really good, especially considering how little scenery they had to work with.
One issue is many characters don’t get named till their third or fourth scene. It’s not important to know the name of the orc with the dragon bone formal wear, but I kept referring to him as boss bone orc for about an hour. I’d heard that the relationships between characters were also hard to follow, but I didn’t have that problem. I’m wondering if maybe some extra scenes were added in the DVD release after complaints, which isn’t unheard of.
The other big issue is that the final conflict is sort of strained. The film went to so much trouble to make the orcs likeable it forgot to make the humans likeable, and the last 20 minutes is really about humanity. I find it hard to feel for the humans, which is funny, seeing as how I am one.
I appreciate that this film didn’t just make the Orc Horde mindless monsters, and it really does cut itself as a different film than something like Lord of the Rings. This film was made for a sequel and, knowing what’s coming, I expect the next film will be even better.
Pick up Warcraft today; it’s one of the better action and fantasy films of the year. It’s not the most memorable film, but it’ll make the fan nostalgic and give the newcomer an experience without having to deal with their own chat in the Barrens.