Warcraft (2016)


warcraftposterStarring Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell

Directed by Duncan Jones

So, here we are. After years and years of broken promises and false hopes, the Warcraft movie is finally upon us. One of the most successful MMORP games of all time has finally hit the big screen. But does it finally put an end to the curse of terrible video game movies, or does it end up being a steaming pile of Kraul Guano?

Well… it’s a bit of both, to be honest. While it’s not the unforgivably awful disaster that many other publications are making it out to be, it’s certainly not without its flaws. And they’re giant troll-sized flaws.

So, to start, I have to commend them from veering away from the usual humans good/ugly creatures bad route that we see all too often. The people in this film, human or not, are individuals with personalities and motives. Nobody here is predestined to be evil simply because of the particular group that they were born into, and in a world today where bigotry still exists on a massive scale, that’s saying something.

But the rest of the film sadly isn’t so commendable. What we mostly have is an overly convoluted and byzantine plot that will probably require several viewings for even the most meticulous viewer to fully understand. And if you’re not already acquainted with Warcraft lore, then forget it. They assume right from the offset that you know your shit when it comes to the world of Azeroth, and if you don’t, then good luck keeping track of the already bungled mess of a script. Hell, they even got in some cringeworthy Star Wars prequel-style political talk for good measure. George Lucas would be proud.

So yeah, the plot wasn’t great in that sense; but surprisingly, in the middle of it all, we actually have quite an entertaining road movie in which our heroes embark on their epic quest to stop the evil green magic from destroying everything or something (don’t ask me). If the film had put more focus on these rare scenes and less on the political meeting mumbo jumbo, then we might actually have the fantasy equivalent of Guardians of the Galaxy on the hands. But enough of that entertaining nonsense, we’ve got another long-winded speech about the morality of warfare to get to. By the time we finally get to the big huge climatic battle, it’s just as awesome as you would expect, but it’s too little too late.

And as for the performances, well, meh. They did what they could, I suppose. But you can’t really do much with dialogue like: “Some see death as having some greater purpose, but when it is one of your own, it is hard to grasp anything good comes from it.”

But (to be honest, I’m not sure if this should really still be a praise-worthy point for a huge blockbuster film or just a given), it was beautiful to look at. I would sure want to live in Azeroth were it not for the endless warfare. Although (again, to be honest, and please don’t kill me for saying this) the Warcraft MMORPG isn’t really a hugely rich cinematic gaming experience on par with, say, God of War, where you wish that you could play it the big screen just to look at it; but the film hits it out of the park in this category. From the shiny floating city of Dalaran to the charging hoards of Orcs, everything here looks like it was designed for the ultimate cinematic experience.

I have a lot of respect for Duncan Jones as a filmmaker, but with Warcraft being his first huge blockbuster, he clearly wasn’t given the level of creative freedom that we’ve become accustomed to seeing in his work, and that’s a shame because somewhere in Warcraft lies a great movie trying to get out. And although it hasn’t been a huge hit in the States, the Chinese gross currently stands at $156 million, so a sequel seems like a strong possibility. Whether or not Jones will return remains to be seen, but if he does, one can only hope that Universal takes the criticisms of the first film into account and gives him the autonomy to make it in his own way.


  • Film
User Rating 3.14 (14 votes)


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