Video game franchises that have attempted to make a movie off of their success have notoriously failed miserably. With that alone Warcraft had plenty to overcome, and in most cases it did just that. Warcraft comes from the famous massive multiplayer online game known as World of Warcraft that had been around for a very long time. World of Warcraft had created such a huge backstory and a rich universe that it had made the transition to the big screen that much easier. Pair that knowledge with the direction and writing under an imaginative director such as Duncan Jones and this film truly looked promising. Luckily, Warcraft did what Prince of Persia and other video game based properties did not. It stayed true to it's source content but didn't attempt to be to much of a fan service in the process.
The plot follows the Orcs and their attempt to leave their homeworld, Draenor which is dying. Thus a Orc by the name of Gul'dan unites the orc clans into an army called the Horde all the while using a mysterious magic force called the fel to create a portal to the realm of Azeroth. There, Anduin Lothor (Travis Fimmel), the military commander of the kingdom of Stormwind crosses paths with a young runaway mage, Khadgar, who had been tracing the fel due to how evil of a force it is. Meanwhile, within the Horde a orc chieftain Durotan (Toby Kebbell) doubts their leader Gul'dan due to how wherever he leads the Horde nothing is left behind besides death. This forces Durotan to come to the realization that the only for his clan and the realm to survive that a truce has to be made between mankind and the orcs.
Having barely played the video game World of Warcraft I did feel that I had missed out on some of the nuances of the film, but by no means did that make me enjoy the film any less or more nor did the film feel like it attempted to be a fan service but instead focused on being a solo story that stood on it's own merits. The reviews thus far have been a bit too negative, focusing on the visual effects as it's one strength and the acting as well as the story being it's weakest points. While the acting in spots was inconsistent, all the actors played their parts rather well with the highlights being that of Toby Kebbell as Durotan. Kebbell is gaining plenty of recognition in his young career as a capable actor portraying characters through plenty of visual effects. It is impressive and a showing of how good an actor that Kebbell is that Durotan is the most human character in the film. His cause and his motives are the most relatable of all the characters in the film. He differs from Lothar in that aspect who largely is a force of nature. His personal arc isn't as strong or relatable as Durotan's but Travis Fimmel brings enough in the role to make him likable. On the merits of acting, Ben Schnetzer as Khadgar is inconsistent at best. In the beginning he almost seemed like he belonged in a parody and would have moments where he would be perfectly fine. Overall, the film could have done a better job of casting the role as it is a rather important one.
Duncan Jones brought plenty of passion and his own flare to the film on the script as well as with his clear and obvious ability as a director. Before this film, he had been on the rise with two big science fiction films that were much more thought provoking then Warcraft but still were visual appealing much like Warcraft. Warcraft differs from them due to the fact that the environments and orcs are all Jones' vision. Sure, he had a template on how to portray these characters due to the video game franchise but he did an amazing job making all of these larger then life environments and characters look and move realistically. The orcs are these bigger brutish looking fiends and yet through great motion capture work they manage to be incredibly likable and real. Overall, Warcraft is exactly what you would expect from a big summer movie. It is big and fun while it also sets up a world that is ready for more films. That is after all what we get in summer movies.
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