The film adaptation of the popular video game, Warcraft opened to mixed reviews. Director Duncan Jones (Moon) stated in various interviews he is a big fan of the film, and wanted to make a film aimed at both fans of the game and newcomers.
For this writer, a non-gamer, Warcraft is decent enough to set up some of the main characters in the story along with one of the major battles in the game. In Tolkenian fashion, the film is populated by humans and Orcs, set in a high fantasy world.
At the brink of extinction, the Orcs — led by Durotan (Tony Kebbell) and Orgrim (Rob Kazinsky) — risk survival by going through a portal created by one of their evil leaders, Gul’dan (Daniel Wu). This portal allows the Orcs to leave their planet of Drainer and move into Azeroth, a planet inhabited by humans. Their arrival immediately brings conflict with Sir Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel), King Llane (Dominic Cooper), and the rest of the Alliance. War quickly ensues.
Along the way, Lothar meets half-orc Garona (Paula Patton), who decides to help the humans in order to gain her full freedom. Up until their arrival in Azeroth, Garona was a prisoner of Gul’dan. As war pushes on, some of the Orcs, mainly Durotan, realize Gul’dan is only going to lead to more destruction. This is where Durotan tries to forge an alliance with King Llane and company.
This is only part of the story. Lots more is going on, there is the wizard Medivh (Ben Foster), and the magical apprentice Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer). At first, it appears as if Medivh will definitely protect the humans for the Gul’dan and the Orcs. But soon, we realize he’s been taken over by an evil ‘plague’ called the Fell. As the movie unfolds, Khadgar proves to be more of a hero than Medivh.
Surely there is not much in terms of character development, nor a clear set up of the story from the beginning, but Warcraft is a film adapted from a real-time strategy game. Duncan and Charles Leavitt put some passion into this film. They created a story that will appeal to some, but not all.
Where Warcraft really works — in this writer’s opinion — is in the motion capture, the 3D modelling, and animation. It is quite an undertaking but Jones manages to keep it afloat for the most part. The emphasis is clearly on the 3D animated characters, as they are memorable. They are also memorable thanks to the voice talent like that of Kebbel.
The film is clearly part one of a much bigger story, as it leaves you hanging on various points. After speaking with someone who’s actually played WoW, he described Warcraft like “a quest arc. It feels like you are watching someone else play the game, in a way… Visually, it puts you inside the game.”
All in all, Warcraft does not fail completely as an adaptation of the game. For those expecting some type of ‘high brow’ piece of cinema, it’s highly suggested you leave your expectations at the door. Go on this tour of Azeroth and follow the characters; suspend disbelief for the time you are there. For those who are fans of the WoW games, just enjoy.
- Release Date: 6/10/2015
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