Title – Warcraft (2016)
Director – Duncan Jones (Moon)
Cast – Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Toby Kebbell, Dominic Cooper, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky
Plot – The peaceful lands of Azeroth are thrown into disarray after an orc army led by dark magic and an intent to claim the lands for their own invades the world through use of a magical portal.
“Our hope is destroyed; there is nothing to go back to. Is war the only answer?”
Review by Eddie on 29/09/2016
The fact that Warcraft, the long mooted and eagerly anticipated adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment’s industry dominating video game of the same name failed so miserably upon release (saved at the box office by an outstanding display in China) is both sad for the continued disappointment of video game to movie adaptations and also the career of director Duncan Jones.
The viability and reasoning of turning video games into movie entertainment has, and will, be rightfully debated as we head forward on the back of this highest profile experience that failed to ignite the movie going public’s imagination and it’s a shame that Jones, the son of David Bowie and the man responsible for the Sci-Fi classic Moon has helmed this project he was so passionate about.
Its not hard to see what attracted him to the universe that has enthralled millions for many moons, but along with his screenwriting partner Charles Leavitt, Jones has tried but failed to capture what’s so appealing about these fantasy lands to the big screen.
Perhaps unfairly labelled by many before release as not only the biggest chance for video game movies to succeed but a new trilogy to rival LOTR, Warcraft had not only the weight of long time fanatics riding on its shoulders but a general public expecting the characters, spectacle and experience that we were so lucky to have with Peter Jackson’s masterful series. Jones, though, seems out of his depth to handle all the various elements of the huge universe and the film’s runtime that comes in under 2 hours feels rushed and unfulfilled, as we’re thrown into a world filled with orcs, guardians and people in green makeup with some token prosthetic tusks.
We never get the connection we almost instantaneously felt towards say Frodo and his merry band, as Jones gives us Vikings Travis Fimmel’s fearsome warrior Anduin Lothar, Toby Kebbell’s (continuing on his quest to become the new Andy Serkis) dedicated orc chieftain Durotan, Ben Foster’s wizard extraordinaire Medivh and Paula Patton’s misjudged orc outcast Garona, but none of these characters or performers feel like figures that can bring the films rather lacklustre story of portal traveling orcs trying to take over peaceful lands to life.
The films script is sadly one of the years worst, as dialogue is delivered in wooden fashion and feels like an odd mix of fan service and trying to appeal to a mass audience less inclined to dress up for a LARP party, and for many average movie goer, Warcraft’s intense lore and talk about all manner of fantastical possibilities will be far from engaging.
The biggest shame of all about this potentially exciting and fun adventure is that very fact: it has potential.
There’s moments spread throughout this journey from stunning CGI scenery and battles that could’ve easily matched LOTR for sword-lead spectacle (even if some of the films computer generated effects seem rather suspect for such a big budgeted event) that suggest a film that really could’ve been something special for both the diehard fans and those that just like good old fashioned movie escapism, and Jones as we’ve come to expect from him over his short career shows directional tics that reassure us his long gestating Moon follow up (of sorts) Mute is still a film to get rather excited for.
There have been a huge collection of worse films than Warcraft released this year, a number of which share just a big of a budget and name brand recognition, but with the weight of expectation comes standards many expect and unfortunately for this wannabe franchise starter (which will unlikely spawn films of similar budget and release hype), Warcraft is neither the film fans waited years for or the film movie fans quietly hoped would finally break the video game to movie curse in a big way.
2 Shrek like orc babies out of 5