“They’re stronger, *BE* smarter” – Lothar
I’m still thinking about ‘Warcraft’ hours later.
Having been a huge fan of the World of Warcraft game for many years and anticipating the movie for years as well- I only allowed myself smallest of exposure to what the movie would be about. I didn’t want to go into it with preconceived notions or spoilers. I just wanted to enjoy what they were going to show me. All I knew was that it was going to take place in a time before the World of Warcraft game was going to have taken place.
This is a fantasy war movie focused on an invasion of the race of Orc folk into the world of Human, Dwarves, and the Elvish. Using dark magic an Orc wizard penetrates the world barriers to open a Dark Portal to invade, conquer, and “move in” to the world of Azeroth, a fantasy realm in itself. In defiance and resistance to this hostile take over situation the Humans, Dwarves, and Elvish-kind set out to find out more about the invaders and how to stop them.
Fans of the game will get to see familiar sights such as Stormwind, Elwynn Forest, Ironforge, Dalaran, Hellfire Peninsula, Blackrock Mountain, Westfall, Karazhan, and likely others that I didn’t catch in one viewing. The gryphons were majestic and wonderful to see – and if you look close you’ll catch a few murlocs crying out as a gryphon passes overhead in a river. The magic was amazing and the CGI is born of all the special effects movies that have all come before it- and you can tell homework has been done here. For instance- I love that Paula Patton who plays bi-racial Orc named ‘Garona’ – was just the right shade of green (they rotoscoped her body for this reason). Anyone remember how Zoe Saldana as Gamora looked in Guardians of the Galaxy? Her green skin looked painted and a bit weird. Garona in Warcraft is excellent with these perfect little tusk teeth. She looks real and as authentic for being half Orc as you can get.
In the same vein, I love that all of the Orcs look really fantastic. Draka is the wife of one of our focus characters, Durotan, and she’s just sublime.
And can I talk a little about Ben Foster? Yes- from the movie, “Pandorum”. He portrays magic and the scope of its use with a masterful grace. As if he’s actually conducting magic on screen and I thought he was great. His familiar face made a lot of the unfamiliar Orc faces that much more inviting to see, “oh, look- someone I can recognize with all that CGI and makeup effects going on everywhere else.”
It took me a few moments to place the face of the King since I haven’t seen ‘Preacher’ yet, but he plays ‘Howard Stark’ in the Marvel cinematic Universe. While he didn’t exactly stand out as a primary character, once again Dominic Cooper was a sight for sore eyes when trying to pick out familiar faces among many tusked ones.
Travis Fimmel plays ‘Lothar’ and you may recognize him as ‘Ragnar’ from the ‘Vikings’ tv show. I don’t care what anyone says- I thought he was excellent in this movie and I’m so glad he was cast in the role of a leader. He isn’t meant to be the “Chris Pratt of Warcraft”, chucking jokes all over the place. His humor is meant to be subtle and quiet. Wry, even. I felt it was just that. When he wins you can see it in his eyes, even if it’s a verbal victory. When he loses, it’s all in his glassy gaze.
The plot choices made in this movie make sense to me. The casting felt spot on to me. It plays out the way it should and I am thankful and grateful that I am here to see it as a realized and delivered film. Is it clunky in some places? I’d say, yes. I felt the first ten-ish minutes were a little bit of a way to give everyone the down and dirty quick scenic route to the world (and pay some service to loyal fans who know the areas we were being shown). I wish there’d been a little more dramatic flair (as with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) with the characters that I was supposed to have an emotional connection with since I feel as though I didn’t have time to build up those ties, but this is just the first movie of its kind. It also needs to get its feet under it as a massive video game turned movie concept.
I went into this movie not knowing what to expect. I’ve heard bad reviews- but I held out hope because…well, I’ve seen Blizzard’s cut scenes in the games. I’ve seen how they make so many game players invested in their next new expansion with blockbuster like trailers (“You are not prepared!”). I wanted to believe that even with live action characters- that they could pull off a great video game movie too. They know their writing, they know their expected audience. This movie is not going to be cut out for any viewer who doesn’t have an appreciation for a video game. Be realistic about the kind of movie this is and understand what you’re going to watch before you go in and decide that you hate it. This has all the grand special effects of Lord of the Rings without perhaps some of the emotional connections you made along the way. It does lack in a couple places and you shouldn’t go in comparing it to perhaps any other movie— and certainly, in case you were wondering– it’s leaps and bounds above what Uwe Boll produces (and he wanted to work on Warcraft too- but he was turned away. Thank God.)
Proving itself even more worthy of adoration, developer Blizzard has rejected an offer that would have seen reviled director Uwe Boll working on a World of Warcraft film.
“I got in contact with Paul Sams of Blizzard [about a World of Warcraft film] and he said, ‘We will not sell the movie rights, not to you…especially not to you,'” Boll informed MTV News
“Because it’s such a big online game success, maybe a bad movie would destroy that ongoing income
The director of such game-to-film adaptations as Far Cry, BloodRayne, Alone in the Dark, Postal, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale and House of the Dead also spoke on the importance of ignoring a game’s core fanbase.
“To be honest, the real gamers are the typical download guys, right?” Boll reasoned. “They don’t pay anything for movies, because they illegally download the movies. So why [should I] please these guys? I need the normal audience.”
I cannot tell you if you will like it but I can tell you that I did. Very much. And that I want to see it again for everything I missed the first time and I have plans to buy it when it becomes available to own it because it hit the right chord with me. Will it with you? I don’t know. It depends how you decide to go into the movie but I enjoyed the hell out of it and I want to see where it might go next. It’s doing excellent in the box office in China but not as well domestically. I guess we’ll see if a sequel is in the cards or not.
Until then- I’m very glad I got a chance to go see it in theaters. It was a ton of fun and I intend to see it multiple times. It’s my type of spectacle blockbuster movie!
DA Chaney – Warcraft & Shaman buttons
For more Warcraft movie articles, visit a favorite of mine, The Hollywood Outsider:
Uwe Boll article and quote: