Originally posted by Scott Sedman
Warcraft is a film based upon the series of real-time strategy games by Blizzard Entertainment, my familiarity with the franchise prior to viewing the film was playing a little bit of Warcraft 3 and dabbling very briefly with World of Warcraft so I understood the lore loosely.
The story for the film as simple as it could be for a wider audience outside of the fans of the games, which sees the orcs (The horde) invading Azeroth in search of a new home thus leading to a confrontation with the humans and subsequently the alliance to some extent. Warcraft chooses to show both sides of the conflict which fundamentally is about finding peace their respective races, leading to some emotional beats that lead to honest reactions to characters I didn’t think I cared about which is a testament to the performances of the cast.
That being said is Warcraft accessible? The answer, at least for me is yes, which was Warcraft’s biggest hurdle in succeeding as a movie. However although it may be accessible it does fall short in explaining what exactly is going on to audience at times and when the film does slow down for exposition it is at the detriment to the film as the scenes in which exposition is given are rather unengaging, thus leading to parts of the film being hard to follow.
Another potential pitfall for Warcraft was the heavy use of computer generated imagery, Duncan Jones had his work cut out in trying to take such a beloved and rich universe and translate it to the screen and naturally the use of CGI was inevitable and for the effects on the orcs and most of the magic the effects are some of the best I have seen, the way they scale the orcs to be very imposing in contrast to the humans is subtle and very effective at proving their threat. The CG is not always as good as is with orcs, spells and mounts, as some of the green screen effects are rough and a few times broke my immersion from a fantastically realised fictional world.
As alluded to earlier the characters are a stand out emphasised by really strong performances across the board the believability of said performances are enhanced by the beautifully crafted armour and weapons for all the humans. Dominic Cooper’s horse armour dlc and his king’s blade and armour are magnificent and fit the world created by Duncan Jones’ vision for Warcraft.
The world of Azeroth is compelling and the brief exploration and long establishing shots we do get of the world hold tantalising teases of a world yearning to be explored in future installments what is shown is some beautiful cityscapes that are magnificent to gaze upon and really help build a living breathing world of Warcraft (hehe)
Cinematography wise Warcraft has some stuffing visuals and utilises a highly CG world to its advantage we get epic establishing shots of massive battles that push into a huge battle with our heroes of the story. One of the highlights of the movie has to be the second act break which involves a visceral action scene that ends on a rather somber note the film doesn’t reach the same heights until the final few moments of the film.
Warcraft is a tale of two sides a father and a King both leaders in their respective rights and although the film has an unenviable task of establishing a vast world and a multitude of characters and viewpoints stumbling along the way making it a little hard to follow the film pulls everything together in the closing acts setting up a promising future for a franchise I am now yearning for more in. The action pieces make Warcraft an enjoyable blockbuster but the appreciation for the source material and attention to setting up an organic world really lends to its strengths as a must see movie and truly sparking the start of a video game movie renaissance.