Before you start reading my thoughts regarding the Warcraft movie, know that it will contain some spoilers. If you simply wanna know if I like it or not, then yes, I do like it. It’s nothing groundbreaking, and it’s definitely not the curse breaker of Video Game Movies, but it’s a good movie nonetheless. With that out of the way, let’s get to it!
The movie had a lot of anticipation, since the director is Duncan Jones, famed for his work on Moon (2009) and Source Code (2011)
Both are generally well received movies by critics and fans alike.
When it was first announced that Duncan Jones would take the helm as Warcraft’s director, the hype for the movie was set so very high, to the point where a lot of people felt like this was going to be the movie that’ll finally break the curse of bad video game movies, put an end to it’s dark history. Duncan Jones had big shoes to fill now, a huge responsibility. He was making a movie for a game with one of the biggest fanbases out there. Luckily, Jones is both a good filmmaker, and someone who played the games.
I’m not a huge Warcraft fan. I only played Warcraft 3, and not even the entirety of it. But I’m very interested in the lore of Warcraft, I read a lot about it, I frequently spend time in the wiki, and I watched a lot of videos regarding the lore of the game. I’ve been doing this for a long time now, to the point where I would discuss the stories with veterans of the series. So by the way time the movie was announced, I was already aware of the origin stories, the characters, key locations and events.
So, I have watched the movie recently. Is it any good? The answer is yes, but it suffers from a lot of problems. But I guess starting with the good things would be better.
First of all, the movie is based on the very early mythologies of Warcraft, and by that, I mean the story of Humans Vs Orcs. It starts with the orcs’ world dying, as the Orc Warlock Gul’dan opens a portal to another world to conquer and take over. The world of the humans. Right from the beginning they present one of my favorite things in the movie, which is a much more focused personality on the orcs. Seeing Durotan, father of Thrall, banter with his wife, and talking about how their world is dying, and that he needs to save his clan, just shows how much Jones understands the characters in the world of Warcraft, as they’re not treated as the monstrous green creatures like other fantasy works, such as Lord Of The Rings. Right from that scene, I knew they were gonna do justice to both races, humans and orcs.
This leads me to my next point, which is that the movie is totally consistent compared to the source material. There are some changes here and there regarding some of the events, but all in all, it’s so true to the game in such a respectful way. Most video game movies tend to feel disconnected, take the first Resident Evil movie for an example. Some might argue that it’s a good action flick, but it’s nowhere slightly representative of the Resident Evil games. This is totally not the case for Warcraft, as everything has been carefully crafted in detail to be on par with the game’s presentation of characters and world.
An example when it comes to attention to detail, is a scene where Khadgar was travelling alongside one of Lothar’s knights (For those who don’t know, Khadgar is a wizard, and Lothar is supreme commander of the king of Azeroth) to meet with the king, and on their way, they pass a river. In the river is a creature called a Murloc, and once he sees them, he lets out his infamous “Rwwwwgghhhhh” sound from the game. It was so authentic to the game, and it might be a small moment, but truth be told, these small moments like this are what shows how true the movie is to the games. I should also mention that some of acting was really great, especially from the orcs (Durotan is AWESOME!)
Another thing I like throughout the movie, is how they introduced the main conflict in the story, which is Durotan thinking that maybe betraying Gul’dan and trying to make peace with the humans is the right thing to do for his clan. This leads to a series of very captivating events that were presented properly, and ends on a very tragic way. I should also note that the visual effects were on point, seeing how the orcs look superb, and the magic effects looking amazing (Except for one very awkward looking scene with Khadgar)
One last thing is the fight scenes between the humans and the orcs (Also orcs vs orcs) were spectacular. The movie delivers perfectly to the skirmishes that a world like Warcraft should have. Orcs crushing and smashing with their hammers and axes looked great, you can almost feel as if the bones are actually getting crushed. And the same applies to some of the human fighting style. Also, the movie just respects the fact that magic is very powerful in this world, as Medivh, also known as the guardian, shows some pretty mean and powerful magic throughout the film. You can feel it’s weight and presence, and that’s just great. (I think mage players would very much like this)
Now let’s talk about the issues that movie has, and they’re not minor, they’re actually holding it back… A lot.
First of all is the pacing of the movie. You see, the movie like I mentioned before, is trying to be so true to the lore, and that’s technically a good thing, but not when you’re trying to show off everything about the world in a 2 hour movie. The film just keeps jumping from one place to the other in a very explicit way, that almost feels unnecessary. I understand the need to properly introduce everything, so people can get the hang of everything, but then again, this is an origin story, and focusing on some aspects, such as characters, could’ve been a better way. They clearly implicate that they’re gonna make another movie, and in this case, they could’ve expanded more and more on the lore with the other upcoming movie, instead of cramming everything in the first one. I personally believe that if the movie tackled a much personal story, such as Arthus’s, it would’ve benefited the movie better when it comes to pacing, or maybe if they made it longer, it could’ve worked. Yet, that’s not the case here. It’s mainly trying to focus on telling an origin story, and for me personally, I think it would have been better to tell the story itself, without cramming much into, just like the first original Warcraft game, and then expand, and tell more with the next ones.
Another big issues is character development, and the degrading of some very important characters in the Warcraft world. A very big example for character development is Medivh. The movie just doesn’t give him enough screen time, nor does it illustrate him enough for viewers to understand (I know the people who played the game don’t need that, but still, movie is aimed at everyone) His character arc just quickly escalates to it’s demising end. To add even more, is the degrading of some characters loved by a lot, such as Grommash Hellscream. He might not play a big role in the story events at that specific time, but he is in the movie, and thus he should play some kine of role, but guess what?… He’s a background decoration… Grommash Hellscream, from the Warlords of Dreanor cinematic trailer, that was so badass and chilling on the screen, is a background decoration. That really bothered me. If you’re not gonna use an important character like him, then you might as well just remove him from the movie. The same applies to Orgrim Doomhammer, his role in the story and relevance is just too small.
One final thing I really hated, is the most unnecessary, and force romance I have ever seen. Anduin Lothar and Garona. It makes no sense, it’s not needed, it’s cliche, and it’s just… Nope. Don’t do it ever again, please.
With that said, these were my main issues with the movie, and they’re big ones, I’ll admit. But other than that, it’s a pretty enjoyable movie, for fans and newcomers alike (Maybe not so much for newcomers) but it’s not the movie that’ll set the standard for Video game movies, nor will it break the curse sadly.
So, in conclusion, is it worth watching? Yep, it’s fun time. Is it mind blowing? Nope, not at all. Maybe they’ll do better with the next one hopefully, as the ending implicates there’s definitely a new one, maybe with Thrall this time.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post, and please if I wrote any lore mistakes, take it easy on me… With this, I bid you farewell. Here’s some epic World Of Warcraft music before I go:
Till next time…