Video game movies are a dime a dozen. Throughout the history of gaming Hollywood has tried jumping on board that bandwagon; by adapting of X game franchise. For the most part it’s safe to say that video game movies suck. From the likes of the horrid (yet hilariously bad) Super Mario Brothers movie to the embarrassing mess that was the Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat films. Video game film adaptations have garnered a bad rap with gamers for the plain simple fact that Hollywood doesn’t get it. What made X game work was not only the gameplay but the simple nature of its story and characters.
However, as of late video game movies have been improving from seeing fans praise the recent Ratchet and Clank movie and getting an okay response from critics. So where does Warcraft land in this? Well thankfully, Warcraft is what I consider to be the “best” example of a video game movie adaptation. Does that mean it’s the greatest film ever made? No, but Warcraft for what it has going for it is surprisingly okay.
Warcraft follows the story of humans and the world of Azeroth fighting against an Orc hoard lead by Gul’dan (played by Daniel Wu).
(This bad guy right here)
Why? The orcs own homeworld was destroyed and due to that being the case they open up a portal into Azeroth and plan to take it over by force! However, as the plot progresses one of the Orc leaders Durotan (played by Toby Kabbell) see’s the true sinister nature of Gul’dan as he wants to destroy everything and doesn’t care how he gets to that goal even going as so far to sacrifice his own people! So it is up to a group of rebel orcs and humans to team up to take down the incoming Orc army. The plot in this film is rather rudimentary it’s meant as a backdrop nothing more than that.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s bad it’s a simple case of good versus evil and for a movie based around a video game a simple narrative makes it easier to get into. Rather than trying to force many plot twists and characters every second. The film goes down a straightforward linear path. While the plot is thin the main attraction for Warcraft is it’s lore. Coming from a guy who has never played any Warcraft game the lore in this film helped give more depth to the world.
It’s simple to understand, easy to grasp, and was fun to learn more about it. However, past the lore given the plot is very by the numbers, which like what was mentioned before isn’t bad but if you are looking for the next Lord of the Rings you won’t find it here. As for the characters themselves unfortunately, they lack major development. A lot of the time when the movie gives them any depth the backstory that are told equates to “I came from this land and have this tragic upbringing or past” cliche. The actors do a decent enough job with the characters themselves that give them some form of personality plus they all come off as easy to identify with both heroes and villains. Still though it’s hard to be invested into a movie when the characters aren’t fully there. None of the main protagonist are by no means terrible, but a lot of the times when the film tries to let the audience know them better it’s rather sloppy. This is even more apparent when certain characters drop dead later in the movie. The paper thin development rears its ugly head making it hard to be invested into the character on screen or why the death of that person mattered in the grand scheme of things other than furthering the plot. Without giving too much away a scene near the end of the film where the humans were fighting off an ambush of Orcs. At the end of the fight a certain character dies that’s important to one of the protagonists and this character’s death feels rather rushed. The movie never fully develops this guy and by the time he drops dead nothing is really known about this him other than he was “important”!
Yet the biggest offender that Warcraft has going for it is its pacing. The pacing is bad it starts off very slow, by the middle it drags, and by the end the film starts to pick up, but at that point many will probably want it to end! However, while it is bothersome there were points that the slower pace managed to build more of the world which made it more interesting to learn more about it. Although I do wish Warcraft had a consistently decent pace it’s not the thing that to me kills the movie but it is a contributing factor of why this maybe a hard to sell to a general audience.
Moving on past the story and characters the special effects in this movie are damn impressive. The orcs look just what they look like in the game there movements the design everything about them was life like it was truly stunning! Same goes for the dwarfs for the small screen time they had in the film reflected the Warcraft games very well. The magic effects are also well done not all of them are the same color and the visuals of them are very different from the last.
Finally, let’s talk 3D while 3D may not be everyone’s thing the 3D effect in this movie is great. It manages to give a lot of depth and makes certain things pop out more. Many times when Azeroth is shown over head or really any point that flying is involved makes it give vast layers of depth. Is it worth paying the extra money to see it in 3D? No, but it’s certainly wasn’t a horrible use of the technology.
All in all Warcraft at its best is a decent flick and at its worst it’s okay. I certainly wasn’t going into this film expecting anything, but somehow it just barely managed to exceed my expectations. So the question is is this film worth paying money to see? I’d say yes but only if you’re a fan of the games it seemed to me the director had a love of the Warcraft games and wanted to make it the best he could and fans of Warcraft may find something in the movie they will like. As for the general audience this is more of a rent rather than spending 12 bucks at a theater just to not like it in the end. Still if this seems like something that interests you then it might be something worth your time checking out.
Final score: 6/10