(DM) – Sunday June 12, 2016 Warcraft as a story is an insiders view or outsiders view. Those are the two ways people see this film. Game experience seems to be the difference between loving the film and not thinking much of it at all.
Generally, I don’t resort to first person references in articles, this one time it is needed. I’ve never once played Warcraft or any follow-up game. I have no reference of the game other than the cover art images. No more. I’ve watched over my son’s shoulder in passing, but aside from rationalizing this game is based on numbers I have no understanding of it.
This review is based on the story alone. Decide for yourself if any more is needed to make it worth your while.
Warcraft’s opening made no sense due to some bad editing in that it offered so little to the overall story (Pictured below). That fight scene showed a one-on-one fight between races and cut away before the action began.
With narration stating the fight between races has gone on for ages, it quickly guided us away with a narration from the perspective of a desolate world that will use dark power to enable a large group of Orcs to pass through a portal to Azeroth.
Azeroth is a medieval land lush with peace and abundance of life. We are meant to understand that this story is where that conflict started.
That’s it. That’s your story.
Within a few minutes you realize the affair feels almost totally rendered. Never mind that is a combined live action and CGI, it feels CGI and that leaves the film wanting. It’s 2016, CGI is come further than any time past of course, but it still looks rendered. Grass doesn’t really look like grass. Dirt doesn’t give you a true impression of dry ground.Lighting for depth of field is the real selling point. Lens flairs etc. Granted, you can’t make a story with Orcs with practical effects. You can argue it can't be made the same way you make a George Miller Mad Max film, but you get the impression George Miller could have worked some magic to make this work better.
The story didn’t exactly flesh out characters well either. References to lands in Warcraft’s Azeroth were fleeting fly overs that didn’t give you a time to feel any of the perspective shots. Everything had a glanced over feel, even dialogue.
Two main characters in the wizard community both seemed to want us to understand their importance but again you felt no connection as their back-story was too simple in its explanation.
What did save grace was the Orcs were not painted as mindless dumb asses without any honor or reasoning. In fact honor played out as a meaningful instrument as the story unfolded.
Other things such as the Fel were never explained. I learned after the film when I asked questions about what I witnessed for explanations. The fell was clearly understood as a dark magic but it had some very subtle behaviors that until you witnessed it up to the end of the story, you put two-and-two together a bit late.
As for the acting, I was only put off by the acting from the humans. The primary characters felt clunky and frankly as if they were in a b-movie. Ben Foster (Medivh), Travis Fimmel (Anduin Lothar) and Ben Schnetzer (Khadgar) are the three main offenders.
I love anything that respects and sticks to canon, I’ve been informed this film does just that. However good story telling and execution are equally important and for this reason I can’t say it was a film that WoW’d me.
I give it two out of three dangers.