If you haven't seen the trailer for Warcraft yet, this gives you a flavour of what you can expect in terms of story, art direction and CGI.
The premise of Warcraft
Just to clear up any confusion - Warcraft is based on the very first Warcraft game. Which was an RTS strategy game developed by Blizzard. It's not based on World of Warcraft MMO –which actually takes place several decades later. Sequel anyone?
In this movie – Warcraft tells the story of how the Orcs, manipulated by demon entities called the Burning Legion, came to the world of Azeroth from their own planet, Draenor, for the very first time.
- King Llane (Dominic Cooper)
- Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel)
- Lady Taria (Ruth Negga)
- Medivh (Ben Foster)
- Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer)
- Garona Halforcen (Paula Patton)
- Durotan (Toby Kebbel)
- Orgrim (Rob Kazinsky)
- Blackhand (Clancy Brown)
- Gul’Dan (Daniel Wu)
Reflections on Warcraft
Warcraft is the movie I would have loved six years ago when the World of Warcraft gaming community and hype was at it's strongest. Now it feels out of place in a world that has largely moved on. It would probably be much like someone telling you they love Alanis Morissette's album: Jagged Little Pill. That's great, but the world has moved on.
It's not a terrible movie, though it's not a great movie either. Which seriously puts it at risk of becoming 'Mehcraft the Movie'.
My biggest issue is that I'm not really sure what audience it's aimed at? Is it for the ex-Warcraft player, is it for anyone that likes fantasy movies, is it just for anyone who likes movies? The thing is that if it's for the ex-player, it's almost paying to much fan service to too many things. If it's for the fan of fantasy movies I don't think it quite gives enough context to what's going on to truly make it a succinct and clear story.
The Warcraft movie does however have plenty of great nods to everything Warcraft e.g. Murlocs, Night Elves, Dwarfs, Karazhan and more. And as an ex Warcraft and World of Warcraft player it definitely brought a smirk to my face on more than one occasion.
This brings me to the CGI and effects. The Orcs are incredible. The scenery and castles are incredible. The battles are incredible. Though when you start to combine the CGI elements with the real life actors it breaks the experience for me. Again it feels like they've maybe taken too much of a lead from the games, rather than making the art style work for the big screen.
The scene below, though impressive, has a very cartoony feel to it:
The movie does however do a pretty good job naturalising good vs evil. Warcraft has always very much been about shades of grey when it comes to the good guys and the bad.
I also couldn't help but see Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel) as Ragnar Lothbrok (Vikings) - Travis Fimmel has being a badass down-pat.
I feel like I've mostly been quite negative towards Warcraft as a movie. Though it's because I wanted to really like it. I wanted it to reinvigorate my passion for this universe - I think part of me even wanted to walk away considering if I should play the game again. Though unfortunately it didn't, it did nothing but remind me of why I have moved on to greener pastures.
Treat this movie like your first blue weapon drop in World of Warcraft. Exciting for a while, but you'll soon realise there are better out there.