Warcraft: Movie Review
A Blizzard swept across the dry landscape of gaming in 1994 as a group of orcs from the land of Draenor entered the realm of Azeroth and went to war against the humans living there. While many won’t remember the plot of one of the first real-time strategy games (before the boom of the RTS launches in the 90s), it would be hard to forget the iconic birds-eye view. Nostalgic flashes come and go throughout the 123 minute, $160 million dollar pre-Summer blockbuster to capture the attention of fans to the series, but how does the movie fare without its relationship to the video game it’s based off of? Let’s discuss it all.
Whether you played one of the first three RTS releases, the MMORPG known as World of Warcraft (WoW), or the captivating digital card-based game Hearthstone, there were various moments throughout the film where you found yourself reminded of the plot that has been created over the past two decades. While many think the film acts as a prequel to the gaming series, it seems to match chronologically with the first game and provides an origin story to how the orcs came from their homeland to this new realm. It also feeds from the second release, Beyond the Dark Portal (which I played for hundreds of hours). For those newer to the gaming franchise, there are many connections with the 2014 Warlords of Draenor expansion to WoW.
The movie respects the series by using many locations, characters, and races from the series including Stormwind, Gul’Dan, Khadgar, and Blackhand. It also mimics the travel system that players have gotten so used to over the years via Gryphon mounts. Even the appearance of certain races is eerily accurate so it’s no shock that nearly every fan we’ve spoken with (ourselves included) enjoyed the experience. We could discuss the similarities for hours because they’re so common. The question is, for those who cannot relate to the experience, was it entertaining enough to make it enjoyable?
We don’t expect the movie to win the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture, but it’s not unreasonable to see nominations for costume design and soundtrack at the very least. You could argue about how compelling the performances were, especially with mediocre writing and an abundance of solid CGI. The actions and effects definitely take a lot of focus from the actors and actresses, but some of the leads (Patton and Kebbell) had moments of greatness. We argued over whether Fimmel’s performance was inspired by a deep understanding of the character or the use of substances before filming; the look in his eyes was unique to one of those ends.
It was apparent throughout the movie and very much so at the end, that they were sacrificing the integrity of this film to build a strong franchise and we were thrilled to find out that the movie did so well overseas (thank you, China!), so that we might see what they are planning to do moving forward. Hopefully, the lack of plot and character development in this film was a painful means to a better end. After finishing the movie, you can see a few avenues where they might be going and certain areas where it’s impossible, since the film was soaked in a green-hued field of blood.
At the end of the day, it might have seemed longer than necessary but fans should enjoy this adaptation that shows its appreciation for the twenty-two year old franchise while others might just enjoy a few moments of beautiful CGI and scenery. And as always, stay hungry and fit!
*Question of the Day: Did you see Warcraft? What did you think?