STARRING: TRAVIS FIMMEL; PAULA PATTON; BEN FOSTER; DOMINIC COOPER
DIRECTED BY: DUNCAN JONES
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 2 STARS (Out of 4)
Warcraft is not the worst movie on my list by any stretch of the imagination, but it could be the most alienating film to ever play at the multiplexes. If you play Blizzard Entertainment's popular Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game you might follow along with ease. If the extent of your "Craft" knowledge is a South Park episode which poked fun at the addictive nature of these games, you will be as completely lost as I was. Director Duncan Jones (Moon; Source Code) tries his best with state of the art effects and fan service for the gamers, but ends up boring his audience in the process.
I'm going to give explaining the plot a good college try. It might be easier to understand if I painted the picture that the characters and worlds which exists in Warcraft have been stolen from the fresh ideas that J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings series already came up with. As each dwarf or elf crossed the screen I wanted to shout “Tolkien did it first!” Only, LOTR is elegant, with rich characters and allegories; whereas Warcraft is a video game inspired movie without the fun of actually being able to control the characters.
There are two sides, one inhabited by giant axe wielding, warthog teethed beasts known as Orcs (is there not a copyright on the term ORC?). Evil hunchbacked Gul'dan (Daniel Wu) possesses the power of “The Fell”?, which sucks the life out of the humans and villages as they pass through. With his pregnant wife Draka by his side, Durotan (Fantastic Four star Tony Kebbell) does not believe in the destruction that is being caused. On the human side, is the long haired warrior Anduin Lothar, who would be called Aragorn if he were in Lord of the Rings or Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. He is a protector of the people in Azeroth and when he and young wizard Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer) discover the Orcs on their doorstep, they must alert dimwitted king Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper) and consult the watcher known as Medivh (Ben Foster playing a flavorless, ridiculous mixture of Obi-Wan and Gandalf).
Through the majority of Warcraft you are simply straining to follow along with Jones, Charles Leavitt, and Chris Metzen's overblown script. Meanwhile, the CGI and green screen graphics distract from the typical good vs. evil themes. When Paula Patton arrives as Garona- the half Orc/half human- it is impossible to not stare at her plastic costume store bottom chompers, which cause vocal issues for the 2 Guns star throughout. Her performance is painfully bad, as she plays the love-interest for Lothar in uncomfortable, unnatural, and abrupt fashion. Jones's film truly fails at its ability to establish characters for us to care about and emotionally invest in. I wanted to buckle-up and enjoy the action on screen, but when we hear names like Orgrilm or Frost riders...with nothing to explain or understand what is being talked about, you lose interest quickly.
Warcraft lacks all of the things that make movies of the fantasy genre become timeless classics. It has none of the charm and lovable characters that became household names in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and pales in comparison to the practical effects and laughs from Ron Howard's Willow. The video-gamers are going to flock to this one, as they enjoy the massive sword wielding computer action. What it won't do, is convince new audience members that this is a game you should go out and play. It convinced me that those Peter Jackson's Hobbit movies didn't seem so bad after all.
1 ½ Stars
Written by: Leo Brady