Sunday, June 12, 2016

Movie Review: WARCRAFT (Review #2)


I have always been an avid fan of the Warcraft games and all it's lore, it started with Warcraft 3 for me and continued on into World of Warcraft. Furthermore, I have loved everything Duncan Jones has done so far with Moon (2009) and Source Code (2011), I feel as though his films are different and he is a very talented filmmaker. There has been a large amount of dislike towards this film but I'm going to say straight up that I loved it. It's not perfect, but I felt that there were so many great moments that outweigh the flaws, especially as I'm someone who feels as though I have a deep understanding of Warcraft lore.

I'm going to start with the negatives. I thought that despite liking most of the film, I felt as though there were some parts missing, it felt like it should have been a longer film and that scenes were cut out simply to satisfy the commercial demands placed on this film, which although is understandable considering the large budget ($160 million), should not have been sacrificed for the purpose of making money. Some jumps would have been understandably jarring for someone not familiar with Warcraft lore as there are many locations used throughout the film.

I also thought that some of the humans in the movie did not have enough character depth, in particular King Llane Wrynn, who was almost used as a plot device for the betterment of other main characters. Interestingly enough though, his wife is an original character created for this film, to add a further layer of relationship between Anduin Lothar and Llane. I personally enjoyed both the orc and human stories, and feel like the criticism of the human side is harsh by most critics. Also, although I mostly liked Lothar, I thought his relationship with Garona was forced and was sidelined by some weak dialogue with their interactions, but separately both of these characters were strong, and I liked the prosthetics Paula Patton donned for Garona.

As expected from Jones' directing, Warcraft is visually stunning, some of the scenes were breathtaking and this can also be largely attributed to the fantastic CGI on display, while it's also clear that a number of sets were built especially in the human areas of Goldshire and Stormwind. It would be shameful not to mention some of the best motion capture in recent years with the orcs, that had such detail in the skin, the eyes and the teeth, allowed Durotan Frostwolf (Toby Kebbell), and Orgrim Doomhammer to probably be the best characters in the film, due to some heartfelt moments between Durotan and his wife (Draka) and Orgrim (Rob Kazinsky).

For me, the story flowed nicely, it's hard to tell whether or not there were gaps in the story for others, as I must have naturally filled them in with my knowledge of the games' lore. This meant that the politics on the orc side (with Daniel Wu's strong performance as Gul'dan), was particularly interesting to watch as a power struggle unfolded culminating in the death of Durotan, which ended up spurring on the orcs to turn against Gul'dan. I enjoyed Ben Foster's Medivh and although Khadgar was a slightly weaker character (Ben Schnetzer), I liked seeing the difference in thought between these mages and the traditional warrior type characters like Lothar.

I thought that the score was strong (with a few easter eggs in there for World of Warcraft players), as well as a plethora of other easter eggs including Murlocs (if you know what I'm talking about then you will be happy). Other than that, I really felt as though I emotionally connected with characters in the film through strong performances, great motion capture, and a mostly good script.

Overall, it's hard to tell whether or not scenes were cut but I will be interested to see if any news on that comes out in the next few months, I think that the movie was a fun ride with some genuinely funny and touching moments, displaying Duncan Jones directing talent. As a player of the games who has waited on this film for over 10 years, I can happily say I am not disappointed.

Chris's Score: 8.5/10

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