Directed by: Duncan Jones
Starring: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Rob Kazinsky, Daniel Wu
Runtime: 100 min
The biggest video game ever is adapted to film with the early mythology story of Warcraft and the expectations (especially for gamers) were as high as the level of the game.
The orc's world is basically dying, so Gul'dan, a powerful warlock (sorcerer-like), opens up a portal to Azeroth, the world where humans live among other races, in order to save his race by literally collecting life out of humans' bodies. These have to defend themselves against the invaders before the rest of the horde gets through the portal, but they're not alone since an orc's group doesn't agree with Gul'dan's disrespect for their tradition and honor. Therefore, an alliance with the humans might be the right path to follow since there's a bigger evil that needs to be stopped.
First of all, I consider myself a gamer and I did play World Of Warcraft for a little bit, but never actually learned to enjoy the game as one should. I'll try my best to look at this with a critic's opinion instead of a biased player because that's what I'm here for ... To review movies and not games.
I really wanted this movie to be a major blockbuster, the best video game adaptation ever because every other video game with desires to become a film were hinged on this one (and I really want an Assassin's Creed series). The truth is that this is not as bad as the critics say, but it's not perfect either. It has some really great moments, but also a lot of issues. Let me start with the things I liked ...
Duncan Jones as the director: God, was he great! There are some visually stunning action scenes where you can really feel bones cracking and heads being smashed. This is a gorgeous looking movie, there's a lot of CGI (really, a lot), but it's mostly well incorporated, especially in the battle sequences and on the orcs' appearance. Furthermore, the score is so addictive that I'm actually listening to the main theme while writing this review ... It transformed good scenes into amazing sequences!
Durotan (Toby Kebbell) was the Frostwolf clan's chieftain and the character that I cared the most (and probably the only one). He blamed Gul'dan for the destruction of their world, so he tries to form an alliance with the humans to save his race from further misery. He is, by far, the best character in the entire movie. Travis Fimmel was good portraying Anduin Lothar, the commander of the humans' forces and a character that I didn't quite connected with. He has a stupid, nonsense romance with another character throughout the movie and that didn't help his story at all. Actually, one of the things that bugged me the most were the human characters since I didn't really care for any of them! Still, another character I liked was Gul'dan (Daniel Wu), he was pretty cool and I think the film should have used him more.
When all the budget is spent on visual effects and directing, something has to suffer ... And that's the pacing and some plot issues. Oh my God, the pacing! I understand that hardcore fans of the game were completely fine with the jumping around from location to location ... For about 15min. After that, it's impossible not to feel the abrupt and constant transitions that almost made me lose sight of where the story was. This film tried to tell us in a 2-hour runtime what can barely be done in a 10-episode TV series! It's ludicrous to believe that this much material would be able to fit perfectly in a movie of such short length.
Additionally, there are some characters that are introduced to us, near the end of the film, that come out of nowhere and suddenly we have to deal with them and how relevant they happen to be. They're mentioned a couple of times in the movie, but for the importance that they had, they should've got a lot more screentime. Also, as I mentioned above, there's a romance that is awfully bad, it's one of those love stories that nowadays (for some reason) every movie seems to need one and that didn't help the party at all.
These are only a couple of examples on how the pacing ruined what could've been a great movie. There's some good characters, excellent directing and visual effects, some amazing fan-service scenes (more than I could think of, for sure), but the pacing brought the movie down in an enormous way as well as the narrative problems.
Warcraft is still a great entertainment, especially for fans of the game, who will probably love this movie just for the battle sequences alone, but as a whole ... It should've been a lot better.