Warcraft, based on the popular Blizzard game finally reaches the big screen.
When the peaceful realm of Azeroth faces the sudden appearance of the fearsome orc clans, two worlds collide. Fleeing from a dying world are the orcs who resort to some desperate measures they’re not sure they agree with when they arrive at a promised land. The ruler of Azeroth King Llane (Dominic Cooper) sends his army leader Anduin (Travis Fimmel) and the guardian of the realm Medivh (Ben Foster) to scope out the threat. Along with a young wizard named Khadgar (Ben Schwetzer) and half-orc Garona (Paula Patton), they come to realize that the war they’re about to start is complexly split apart within even their own sides.
Director Duncan Jones has crafted a world filled with so many interesting characters, both human and CG. The fact that the sets were mostly practical to offset the CG characters rooted the world with realism. Toby Kebbel plays Durotan, an honorable orc leader, with impressive motion capture tech that mashed with the actors incredible talent has created the most relatable non-human character in CG history. The moments between the orcs don’t feel fake thanks to the tech and the actors were able to breathe life into their roles. Their performances far outpaced the real life actors which was kind of a bummer. So as a audience member not too familiar with the game, I was totally converted to be ‘For the Horde!’.
The action sequences in the film were exciting. Seeing both real armies against more tangible CG orc armies with fantastical elements was a treat. There has never been magic on the screen like this. Felt like Harry Potter spells and Gandalf sorcery got amped up with the way it works in the game.
The story threads and dense history got a little too much at points to keep up with in between the action. People seemed to allude to relationships that don’t get discussed further because suddenly we’re teleported to another battle. So while each moment kept our interest to try and process what was happening, another moment would pop up before being able to keep up.
Travis Fimmel was miscast. All of the Anduin moments fell flat and felt out of place. Paula Patton was also a bit wooden and the choice to make her wildly different from the Orcs made her look like a cosplayer wandered onto set. Would have liked a more hybrid look from her. Because this portion of the cast was harder to connect to than the orcs, the Alliance storyline created a imbalance that took away from the film.
The film is an entertaining and action packed fantasy film like no other. It manages to be good considering the tentpoles that have come out recently. Jones makes bold choices, commits to creating interesting characters despite the questions the film raises and makes you want to see more.