Film / WarCraft
aka: War Craft

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A film based on the extremely successful Warcraft video game franchise by Blizzard Entertainment; more specifically, it is based on the first title in the series, the Real-Time Strategy game Warcraft: Orcs And Humans. It is produced by Legendary Pictures and Universal with Duncan Jones directing. Set primarily on the world of Azeroth, the story follows the events of the First War between humans and orcs as seen through the eyes of the great heroes of both the kingdom of Stormwind and the Horde.

The realm of Draenor is dying. Gul'dan, warlock and leader of the Orcish Horde, has a plan - to use deathly magic of fel, fuelled by souls of living creatures, to open a portal to another world. Durotan, chief of the Frostwolf clan, has his reservations, but for the sake of his pregnant wife and his clan, he agrees to joining Gul'dan Horde. The orcs - the one thousand that Gul'dan manages to send through - land in the peaceful realm of Azeroth, where they start to round up humans to reopen the Portal and bring the rest of the Horde to their world.

Defending humans are a care-free commander Anduin Lothar, brother-in-law to king Llane of Stormwind, and young runaway mage Khadgar, who can sense the growing presence of fel in Azeroth. Along with a half-orc ex-slave Garona, the old Guardian of Azeroth Medivh, and Durotan, who realizes that Gul'dan serves the fel rather than the orc race, they try to forge peace and stop Gul'dan as the work on the Portal is nearing closer to completion, threatening to bring in the Horde and doom all of Azeroth.

The film was released on May 26th, 2016 in various territories, specially in Europe, and on June 10th in the USA. The film has a prequel novel titled Durotan, written by Christie Golden.

Previews: Trailer Tease, Trailer 1.

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: A few, most notably the conversation where Garona talks about her late mother and Khadgar talks about his training with the Kirin Tor since childhood.
  • Action Girl:
    • All orc women, as they fight alongside men with no problem. Garona and Draka stand out especially - the former easily dispatches orcs two times her size, and the latter at one point kills an orc with nothing but her teeth.
    • There are also female human soldiers who fight for Stormwind, but it's hard to tell them from the men because of their bulky and obscuring armor.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Chris Metzen has compared it to Marvel Comics' Ultimate brand - which served as a foundation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The human kingdom is called "Stormwind" as in some maps of Warcraft III and most prominently in World of Warcraft instead of "Azeroth" as in the original RTS games (since "Azeroth" came to refer to the whole world, Blizzard changed the kingdom's name to avoid confusing WoW fans).
  • Adaptational Badass: Like his video game self, Gul'Dan is mostly seen casting spells and never take part in a battle, but when challenged to a mak'gora by Durotan, he holds his own in physical combat quite well.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Zig-Zagged. While Blizzard is known for establishing the heroic orc archetype, the Orcs in Warcraft weren't heroic from the start; in the first two games, they were genuinely villainous. Here, orcs are shown as redeemable from the start: though definitely violent and cruel, they are shown to have a strong honour culture when they, to Gul'dan's chagrin, spare and respect Lothar after he wins the mak'gora — and almost turned on Gul'dan earlier, when Gul'dan won his own mak'gora against Durotan by using his life-draining fel magic; only his highlighting how effortlessly he can kill them forced them back into line. They are also shown to be somewhat misguided, as they do not know that their world's grim condition is actually caused by their leader.
    • While Blackhand is still definitely a bad guy, his scenes with Durotan show that he has his reservations about Gul'dan and his plans, but believes he cannot change anything anymore. He is also willing to follow tradition when Gul'dan tries to opt out of his duel with Durotan, forcing him to continue.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Orgrim Doomhammer goes from the champion of the Blackrock Clan and later Warchief of the Horde to a Frostwolf and Durotan's second-in-command. He rats Durotan out to Gul'dan, only to regret this later. Also, at no point does he challenge Blackhand to a duel, which goes hand-in-hand with Blackhand's Adaptational Heroism.
  • Adapted Out
    • One of the most important MacGuffins in the Warcraft universe, the Blood of Mannoroth, is nowhere to be seen, and Gul'dan empowers the orcs with fel magic directly instead. While this is plausible for a few orcs (as Durotan and his Frostwolves, Thrall, and Orgrim didn't drink the Blood but still eventually developed green skin), it seems inefficient for the masses of them in the movie. Likewise, neither Kil'jaeden or Ner'zhul appear in the film.
    • On a similar note, Drek'Thar, the Frostwolf Clan's shaman, has been replaced by Orgrim Doomhammer (and fellow Frostwolf in this film) as Durotan's right hand Orc and closest advisor.
    • Aegwynn and the Council of Tirisfal do not show up in the film. Instead, Medivh was raised and trained by the Kirin Tor to become the Guardian, with Khadgar being trained to become his successor.
    • While Medivh did turn into a demon in the end, the concept of the Burning Legion is left almost completely untouched (Gul'dan is mentioned as having spoken to a demon to get the idea for invading Azeroth, but he's never named). Fans will recognize Eradar facial features appearing on Medivh when he starts turning into a demon.
    • Gul'Dan seems to be the only Warlock in the Horde, and his Shadow Council is never mentioned. In the main universe every clan had at least one Warlock (each formerly a Shaman), and the Shadow Council controlled the Horde jointly with Gul'Dan (although he was still their leader.)
  • Adult Fear:
    • Durotan doesn't express any concerns with following Gul'dan until he wonders aloud what sort of future his son will have in a Fel-ravaged world.
    • It can't be easy watching your only child get infused with demonic energies mere seconds after being born, especially when it's done at the hands of an Ax-Crazy genocidal maniac.
    • Lothar's reservations about Callan being a part of the Stormwind infantry have a lot to do with this. Made worse when Callan dies while fighting the orcs
  • Alien Invasion: Recycled IN FANTASY! The orcs come to Azeroth from their dying homeworld through a portal fuelled by The Fel, rather than a starship, and carry big axes and hammers instead of laser guns. They still aim to colonize the planet and pollute the area with fire and fel, however.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Averted. Garona is the only one to both speak the human and orc tongue, and she has to act as a translator between Llane and Durotan. The side which is in focus speaks in English.
  • All Take and No Give: According to Llane, all of the other human kingdoms of Azeroth have always looked to Stormwind for troops or aid or providing a neutral party to arbitrate disputes. Now that Stormwind is in trouble, the other kingdoms refuse to help.
  • Anyone Can Die: Downplayed, but quite a few major characters bite it, including Durotan, Draka, Llane, Callan and Medivh.
  • As You Know: Used a few times, such as Medivh telling Llane the Guardian's purpose.
  • Ascended Extra: Durotan. While he is an important character it was established that he didn't play a major part in the First War. In the movie he is a main character on the side of the orcs.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • Everyone, basically. Durotan and Gul'dan resolve their feud through good ol' fashioned fistfight, Gul'dan control the orcs through a show of his powers, Lothar is the only character except for Garona who can singlehandedly kill scores of orcs, and Llane participates in the battle and kicks serious amounts of green ass.
    • Most blatantly shown in the mak'gora between Durotan and Gul'dan. When Gul'dan resorts to using his fel magic to kill Durotan, even the other fel-corrupted orcs are disgusted by him. He promptly vaporizes two or three of them with a gesture, at which point the entire warband is intimidated enough to fall back in line.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: While not all of the Horde managed to cross, there seem to be enough orcs, now, to carry a war against the Alliance. Not to mention that Gul'dan survived to try opening the portal another day and is still in control.
  • Badass Beard: Both Lothar and Llane have beards to confirm their badass credentials.
  • Badass Normal: Lothar and Llane. While Khadgar and Medivh have magic, Garona has the advantage of her orcish heritage and Durotan is an actual seven-foot-tall orc, those two are regular humans who are really good at killing.
  • Bald of Awesome: Orgrim, wielder of decidedly well-earned title "Doomhammer", is bald.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Indeed. Khadgar turns the soldier keeping watch on Lothar into a sheep.
  • Beard of Evil:
    • Medivh's Jesus-like beard, as he turns out to be a villain. It doesn't look particularly evil by itself, though.
    • Gul'dan has a long wizard-like beard.
  • The Big Board: King Llane has a board representing the kingdom of Stormwind and the legions at his disposal to counter the orcs' invasion.
  • Bigger on the Inside: When Khadgar is shown Alodi's cube, it's roughly four metres tall, wide and long. When he enters it, it's much bigger.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Dark Portal is closed and (most of) the human prisoners are saved, but the majority of the heroes is killed and Gul’dan, the one responsible for the whole mess in the first place, is still alive and has control over the Horde. To make matters worse, Llane’s Heroic Sacrifice is probably in vain, because even if Garona manages to convince the orcs to let the humans be, Anduin doesn’t trust her any longer, and will likely try to destroy the orcs as soon as the Alliance recovers. On the other hand, Durotan's son survives and grows up to be Thrall.
  • Black Magic: The fel. It's corrupting, it causes Body Horror, it requires souls of living creatures to work, and apart from the Portal, all uses - and users - of it are purely malevolent.
  • Body Horror: It's repeatedly shown that the Fel has grotesque mutative effects on those who are exposed to it. Beyond dyeing the orcs their characteristic green — and a keen observer will show it's also affected their blood as well as their skin, it's also subtly implied to be why the orc tusks can be so exaggerated and ridiculous-looking. More prominent examples include Gul'dan himself, whose "decorative" horns turn out to be spikes growing out of his back, and Blackhand, whose alien snake-skeleton pauldrons visibly fuse to his body whilst his prosthetic hand turns into a rotted-looking half-flesh, half-metal abomination.
  • Bond One-Liner: After Lothar kills Blackhand.
    Lothar: For my son.
  • Braids of Barbarism: Durotan the barbarian chieftain wears his hair in two thick braids. Played with in that he's the most civilized of all orcs.
  • Call That a Formation?: As most attacks the orcs launch against humans are surprise ones, humans have repeated problems with forming any sort of formation. Subverted by Callan, who manages to get his men into a makeshift testudo, which proves effective against the orc cavalry.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • Taria Wrynn, Queen of Stormwind, was created to give the movie another important female character (and to give a name and backstory to Llane's wife / Varian's mother). She is also Lothar's sister.
    • Callan, Lothar's son, is also a newcomer to the franchise - in the game, there's no word on Lothar having any relatives, and he's stated to be the last of the Arathi bloodline.
  • Canon Immigrant: Not characters, but phrases. Gul'dan's signature phrase in the movie, "Fuel for the fel!", has been used by demons in the World of Warcraft expansion Legion.
  • The Cameo:
    • At the beginning, some Draenei are seen in the sacrifice cages.
    • At the climax, Medivh turns into a demon, the only one seen in the movie.
    • When heroes are crossing the river in Elwynn Forest, a random murloc gets a moment of screentime. He even delivers the canonical mrglmrglmrgl.
    • During the meeting of King Llane, the other human kingdoms, the Dwarves and the High Elves of Quel'thelas, sharp-eyed viewers will notice one of the High Elves with a very distinctive scar over his left eye. Fans and players of the Warcraft franchise will immediately recognize him as the future regent lord of Quel'Thalas, Lor'themar Theron.
    • Grom Hellscream wielding Gorehowl can be spotted in the background during Lothar's duel with Blackhand.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Averted; when Garona joins the Alliance's forces, she's given a leather breastplate that's made to serve its purpose rather than provide fanservice.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • That golem Medivh is working on in his first scene? What do you think a fel-corrupted Medivh is going to do with it?
    • The dagger Taria gives Garona as a show of trust is later used by Garona to kill Taria's husband, Llane.
    • The book Khadgar is directed to early in the film is later shown to contain a clue to Medivh's true loyalties. Said book is also heavily implied to be the Book of Medivh, which appears in Warcraft III when Arthas and Kel'thuzad steal it from Dalaran so the latter can summon Archimonde.
    • The boomstick presented to Lothar in his first scene is later used by him to shoot off Blackhand's hand, saving Lothar's life.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The mysterious black figure that points Khadgar to the book on the Portal later turns out to be Alodi, and tells Khadgar of Medivh's corruption.
  • Cold Open: The film starts with a scene taking place after the events of the film, with human and orc fighting by the portal. The rest of the film is one big How We Got Here.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Fel is green, and everything it touches becomes green - skin in orcs' case, eyes in humans'. Lothar utilizes this to see if Khadgar has been corrupted.
  • Cool Sword: Hey, this is Warcraft we're talking about. Both Lothar and Llane have really cool-looking swords, one of which figures in the poster.
  • Combat Parkour: Garona's fighting style incorporates a lot of jumping around. Justified somewhat, as she's the third of most of other orcs' size, so she has to jump to get to places where she can actually hurt them.
  • Composite Character: The movie version of Gul'dan, though based mostly on the original game's version of him (a warlock with dark magic who corrupted the orcs and manipulated them behind the scenes), is also influenced greatly by his recent World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor incarnation from an alternate timeline, in that he is openly ordering the orcs around and shares a similar design. Blackhand, the original ruler of the Old Horde, is also seen, and bears the title of Warchief, but he is more of a military commander in the movie.
  • The Corruption: How fel works - attempting to control it causes one to slowly become dedicated to its cause and start using fel themselves.
  • Covers Always Lie: The characters' don't actually wear red and blue facepaint as depicted on posters. They're simply depicted that way as another visual cue to keep the two factions distinct, and a Mythology Gag for their faction colors in Warcraft III
  • Creator Cameo: Chris Metzen in a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance as a merchant in Stormwind's Market District.
  • Cunning Linguist: Garona is shown to be the only character to know multiple languages, and acts as interpreter several times - at first, when translating draenai's pleas to Gul'dan, and then when Llane and Durotan are negotiating. It seems like translation is one of the reasons Gul'dan has kept her alive.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Blackhand dies to Lothar in their duel quite quickly, especially considering Blackhand's beef with Lothar cutting Blackhand's left hand off. They charge at one another, Lothar dives underneath Blackhand's legs with his sword cutting through over top, and Lothar then simply finishes Blackhand off with a stab from behind while he's clutching in pain.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Garona Halforcen. She looks like a Half-Human Hybrid, and is actually implied to be Medivh's daughter.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Alodi's "real" shape is a black cube, and she first appears to Khadgar as a dementor-like figure in black cloak. She proves to be of assistance to Khadgar, and has been protecting Azeroth from fel for centuries.
  • Death by Childbirth: Happened to Lothar's wife, during the birth of their son, Callan.
  • Defector from Decadence: Alodi suggests that the reason Khadgar ran away from Kirin Tor is that he could subconsciously sense decadence setting on them.
  • Demonic Possession: The Fel is basically this.
  • Demoted to Extra: Grommash Hellscream, Kilrogg Deadeye and Kargath Bladefist are present, and quite distinct, but have no role in the story whatsoever. Can also count as an Early-Bird Cameo for each of them, as they had all stayed on Draenor for the invasion of Stormwind, only appearing in Beyond the Dark Portal.
  • Deuteragonist: The story follows four main characters: Durotan, Khadgar, Lothar and Garona. Durotan is a Decoy Protagonist though.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Llane's order to Garona to kill him. He plans it so that she can gain respect in the orc ranks and later come to lead peace negotiations with the humans. Which happens exactly as planned, she stabs him in the neck and the orcs carry her away as a hero. What Llane didn't count on was Lothar coming to the battlefield and finding Garona's dagger in the throat as he comes for the king's body.
  • During the War: The story is set during the First War between Orcs and Humans.
  • Drop the Hammer: Orgrim's weapon is a positively enormous hammer from which he takes his nickname, "Doomhammer".
  • Duel to the Death: The mak'gora, orcish one-on-one duel where they try to murder each other. It's considered sacred, and a very Serious Business - Blackhand refuses to stop an ongoing mak'gora in an emergency situation, when Gul'dan wins one by using his fel-provided life-draining powers the rest of the warband almost revolts, and when Lothar wins his mak'gora and Gul'dan tries to have him murdered, the Horde openly defies him and respectfully sends Lothar back to the Alliance.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Medivh, now free of the demonic possession and fel corruption but crushed by his own golem, uses his last forces to shift the portal from Draenor to Stormwind, allowing an escape route for the humans as they are overrun by the orcs.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • The Alliance as a whole, which wasn't formed until the second war. There are several scenes where representatives from various member nations and races are shown. Special shout out to the Dwarves, as their city of Ironforge appeared early in the movie, and various Dwarves were given spoken lines, as well as the ambassador (presumably from Lordaeron.)
    • As mentioned above in The Cameo, Lor'themar Theron appears as part of the High Elven representatives in several scenes.
    • Despite being Demoted to Extra, Grommash Hellscream, Kilrogg Deadeye and Kargath Bladefist all appear in the film at several points.
  • Emerald Power: The malevolent magic of fel, which lets one open gates to another world and suck out souls, is vibrantly green.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The orcs hold Mak'gora sacred and don't take kindly to any attempts to interfere. They nearly turn on Gul'dan for cheating in his own Mak'gora and later refuse his demands to kill Lothar after the latter wins his own Mak'gora.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: After some human soldiers are trapped with the orcs in the wrong side of Medivh's lightning wall.
    Callan Lothar: For Azeroth!
  • Fantastic Racism: A prevailing opinion from Humankind are that Orcs are mindless beasts. The more heroic characters look past this.
    • There are also hints of this as part of the general disunity of the Alliance during their initial meeting; when one delegate demands the dwarf forges work overtime to provide more armor and weapon, King Magni angrily proclaims that the humans treat dwarves like dogs. In the deleted version of the scene, one human woman also whispers a disdainful "pointy-eared fucks" to her human neighbor, who nods in agreement, when a High Elf delegate asks why the Guardian hasn't been summoned about this crisis.
  • Fanservice Extra: The well-endowed High Elf noblewoman at the Alliance meeting in Stromwind note  wears robes which show off her cleavage and midriff.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Averted, the humans use plenty of gunpowder weapons, even though this wasn't actually the case in the main Warcraft universe. The first alliance scene in the film in fact revolves around their creation, and Lothar is allowed to take a prototype. The entire Stormwind force inexplicably gains them for the final confrontation and uses them heavily there; presumably, the dwarves were convinced to give them more. This is hinted at during the Alliance scene where one human voice demands that the Dwarves work their forges harder implying they are supplying Stormwind with war material.
  • Fiery Coverup: Medivh burns down all of Khadgar's research on the Portal, claiming that it's too dangerous for a runaway apprentice to learn about it. He's actually doing this to hide the fact that he was the one to bring the orcs to the Portal, and the fact that the coverup happens, along with a page that survives by being in Khadgar's cloak, implicates him.
  • Fingore: Blackhand, not realizing just how dangerous that boomstick is, grabs it from the front. Inevitable happens.
  • First Contact: The main story is about the the orcs making contact with the Human race, and how it leads to war.
  • Forced to Watch: When Medivh's shield accidentally separates Lothar and Callan, Lothar can do nothing but watch as Blackhand picks him up and stabs him to death. Blackhand even makes sure that Lothar watches before doing the deed.
  • The Foreign Subtitle: Warcraft: The Beginning in many markets, Warcraft: The First Encounter of Two Worlds in Portuguese (and some Spanish countries).
  • Foregone Conclusion:
    • Anyone with even a basic knowledge of Warcraft lore will know who the major characters are, the main plot points, major twists, who survives, who wins and who loses... Well, there are a few Not His Sled moments, but on the whole, the story follows the original plotline.
    • The movie starts with the scene of orc and human fighting by the Portal in a barren land, restricting possible outcomes of the plot to Bittersweet Ending and Downer Ending. It's the former.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the first fight against the orcs, Medivh singlehandedly turns the tide with a spell that "ignites" the fel in the corrupted orcs, turning them into living bonfires that die in a matter of moments. This foreshadows two things: the fact Medivh has been corrupted by the fel, and that Gul'dan can use the same trick, which is how he intimidates the warband into following him again after he cheats in his mak'gora.
    • Every time Medivh and Khadgar talk, there's a reference to Khadgar being the Guardian novitiate that one day will succeed Medivh. By the end of the movie, he basically has.
  • Freak Out: Callan's death causes Lothar to break down emotionally and lash out against his friend Medivh in anger. It is completely true Medivh is untrustworthy, though.
  • Funny Background Event: Quite some.
    • When the dwarf in Ironforge reads a message brought to him, Lothar can be seen in the background examining the "boomstick", including looking into the muzzle and pulling the bullet out and smelling it.
    • When Medivh confronts Khadgar and starts throwing him around by magic for intruding into his library, Lothar can be seen wincing and leaning back with most hilarious facial expression.
    • When Medivh absent-mindedly gives his staff to Khadgar and starts casting teleportation, Khadgar can be seen in the back looking at it with something approaching religious reverence. The same happens again when Medivh plants his staff in the ground and Khadgar picks it up and looks at it in awe.
    • When Llane and Lothar are having war council, Khadgar can be seen in the back stumbling around the armory.
    • After he charges the Horde at the Dark Portal and leaping off to fight, Lothar's gryphon can be seen right behind him beating anything that comes at it.
  • Fur Bikini:
    • Garona wears it when she's Gul'dan's slave. When she joins Stormwind, she's given a more practical outfit.
    • Female orcs as a general wear only a fur band on their breasts to cover them, but lower parts of their bodies are covered as well as their male counterparts'. Then again, most male orcs don't wear anything on their upper bodies, so the female orcs are even more clothed and armored than they are.
    • Averted with the female Stormwind soldiers, who wear the same bulky, obscuring armor as their male counterparts.
  • Gender Flip: Alodi, a male character in the original lore, is played here by Glenn Close in an uncredited role.
  • Gender Is No Object: For both the Orcs and humans, women fight alongside the men in battle.
  • Geometric Magic: Magic involves drawing or casting various spells, with runes to compliment them. Medihv still needs them for his most powerful spells, but he doesn't need to bother actually drawing them.
  • Glowing Eyes: Whenever a magic user casts a spell, their eyes glow an appropriate color. The mages of the Kirin Tor and the high elves have their eyes constantly glowing. This seems to be a deliberate choice on their part, as Medihv is far more powerful than any of them, but his eyes only glow during spellwork.
  • The Good King: Llane is ultimately just and good, even telling Garona that he won't threaten her and promising her freedom, and he commits Heroic Sacrifice to give orcs and humans a chance to live in peace.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: After the battle at the Dark Portal, Lothar is able to recover King Llane's body for funeral and discovers Garona's dagger still lodged in the neck. From this he concludes that Garona betrayed the trust of his king and that the orcs still intend to conquer the world. Nobody is aware that Llane convinced Garona to kill him as part of a gambit to earn her enough honor among her people that she could pursue a peaceful resolution to the war, except Garona herself.
  • Groin Attack: How Lothar defeats Blackhand. And with a sword. Ouch.
  • The Hero: Unlike most war stories, there is one for each side in the war, Lothar for the Humans and Durotan for the Orcs most prominently. Khadgar's story also has the elements of a typical hero's journey.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: After the death of his son Lothar starts to mildly lose it; it's only the fact that Medivh is a traitor being revealed to him that causes him to snap out of it.
  • Heroic Willpower: Khadgar manages to resist the fel by sheer force of will, and banish it from Medivh as well.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Orgrim. He betrays Durotan's meeting with King Llane to Gul'Dan because he can't stand the thought of fighting alongside humans. He later ensures Draka's escape during the Frostwolf slaughter, frees Durotan from imprisonment, and publicly swears fealty to Durotan so that the latter can retain his status as chieftan and challenge Gul'Dan to Mak'Gora Lampshaded by Durotan "Now you're at war with everyone."
  • Hollywood Tactics: While it's understandable in Horde's case, at the final battle by the portal the two sides charge at each other with little regard for formation - despite the fact that humans have earlier seen that shield-walls are some of the best ways to kill orcs.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The journey through the Dark Portal from Draka's perspective can be best described as helpless floating through a dark nebulous void note  filled with nothing but forest fragments falling from Azeroth's side and orc warriors rising upward. The experience was traumatic enough that it nearly killed her unborn child.
  • I Am X, Son of Y: Orcs in the prequel Durotan address themselves by naming their father and grandfather. For example, Durotan, son of Garad, son of Durkosh. The fact that Gul'dan dismisses the names of his father or clan as unimportant is shameful in orc culture.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Lothar tries this on fel-corrupted Medivh. It seems to work for a moment, but it turns out the moment of peace just a prelude to Medivh going full-blown demonic.
  • In the Hood: All main magic users (Gul'dan, Medivh and Khadgar) sport this look at one point or another.
  • Instant Runes: Medihv's more powerful spells require runes, but they simply draw themselves as he speaks the spell. This contrasts sharply with Khadgar, who has to draw them manually.
  • Just Before the End: Parts of the movie set on Draenor invoke this. There are barely enough draenai to send a thousand warriors through the portal - by contrast, it only took few days of collecting enough Azeroth humans to bring the far bigger chunk of the Horde - the world is a barren wasteland, the entire Horde fits into one (admittedly large) valley, and at some point, when already in Azeroth, Orgrim and Durotan notice snow in the distance and wonder when was the last time they've seen it.
  • King of Beasts: Invoked; lion is the symbol of Stormwind.
  • Last Name Basis: Everyone refers to Anduin Lothar as Lothar though on a few occasions he is refereed to as Anduin.
  • Last-Minute Baby Naming: Durotan only names his son quite a while after the boy is already born, when he's about to be taken prisoner for conspiring with humans.
  • Laughing Mad: The Laughing Skull clan, predictably, can be picked out by the fact that they find brutal murder hilarious.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: When wielded by Medivh, it can create humongous impenetrable walls that span entire canyons.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: Still notably more stylized than your average fantasy epic. It's been regularly compared to a Blizzard-made intro movies with live actors plugged in, rather than mostly realistic landscapes with CGI creatures. Some massive sets have also been involved, but they, too, are made to match the games' exaggerated architectural style rather than realistic castles and fortifications.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: It's an adaptation of the in-game magic system, after all. It always has three components - hand gestures, glowing shapes/runes and spoken incantation. Overall, the spells are distinct enough that after one use, you can recognize which one is about to be cast when it's still being manifested.
  • Magical Incantation: Saying a spell out-loud is necessary for magic to work. Both Durotan and Lothar take advantage of this to incapacitate Khadgar by clasping a hand over his mouth, and later, to stop Medivh's golem from opening the portal, Lothar cuts off its head.
  • Magic Staff: Medivh has one he uses to aid some of his spells.
  • Make an Example of Them: Gul'dan's favourite method of asserting his control over the horde.
    • When some orcs try to abandon him after he wins with Durotan by cheating, he vaporizes them on spot.
    • Several members of the Frostwolf Clan are slaughtered and crucified to show what happens when you defy Gul'dan.
  • Male Gaze: During the meeting called by King Llane, the camera lingers for a gratuitous shot of the High Elven noblewoman (see above).
  • Mama Bear: If you try to attack Go'el, Draka will tear out your throat with her bare teeth.
  • Man Bites Man: Well, orcs do - when unarmed and protecting her child, Draka kills her assailant by jumping at him and biting out his throat.
  • Mass Teleportation: What the Portal does.
  • Mercy Kill: In the Final Battle, Llane orders Garona to kill him so her life will be spared and she will be trusted and respected by the orcs, leaving her a chance to build peace between orcs and humans. It also prevents him a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Messy Hair: Garona's hairdo is a flurry of tight curls that looks like it'd be impossible to comb.
  • Mordor: Draenor is a barren wasteland corrupted by Fel magic, with little more than dull rocks and smoking volcanoes. Durotan and Orgrim talk about how Azeroth reminds them of Draenor after Gul'Dan's fel magicks have tainted the land surrounding the orcs' settlement. Part of the reason they fight against Gul'Dan is because they don't want the same thing to happen again.
  • Moses in the Bullrushes: Durotan's son ends up this way as a Sequel Hook.
  • Mutual Kill: Draka and the Orc chasing after her son end up killing one another at almost the same time - the Orc by having his throat bitten, and Draka by a sword to the gut.
  • Mythology Gag: Lots of them.
    • The very first scene of the movie, where a human and an orc fight over a narration about the war, is almost pulled straight from Warcraft 3 's intro, where a fight between a human soldier and an orc over a narration of the war is interrupted by a demon falling from the sky and killing them both.
    • The dwarf who offers Lothar a newly designed pistol calls it a boomstick, which is a reference to the dwarven soldier's Stop Poking Me! comment in Warcraft 3... which is itself a reference to Army of Darkness.
    • As Lothar and Khadgar travel in Elwynn forest, a murloc (from World of Warcraft) can be seen, and it utters the race's trademark "Aaaaaughibbrgubugbugrguburgle!".
    • Similarly, in a later scene in the orc camp after Lothar is dragged to the brig, the voice of the Orc Peon can be heard.
    • Among the captives of Guldan when he first opens the Dark Portal are some Draenei as they appear in World of Warcraft, the result of a bit of Ret Canon after the grossly different Draenei in Warcraft III were designated as "broken Draenei" in The Burning Crusade.
    • After transforming a guard into a sheep, Khadgar says it last for about a minute. In World Of Warcraft, the "Polymorph" spell had indeed a duration of 60 (later shortened to 50) seconds. He also notes that "it only works on the weak-minded", which in itself references the fact that bosses in the game are immune to being polymorphed. Keep in mind that every single named character in the movie would have been a boss in the game.
    • Medivh turns his golem into something very like an Infernal to deal with Lothar and Khadgar.
    • Khadgar is handed Medivh's staff Atiesh several times and always looks at it extremely reverently. In World of Warcraft, he eventually inherits that staff (which was a legendary item in Vanilla WOW).
    • When Khadgar travels to Dalaran to see the Kirin Tor, the city is floating in the sky just like it does in Wrath of the Lich King onward.
    • After exorcising Medivh, Khadgar is surrounded by golden light in a way that looks very much like a World of Warcraft Player Character levelling up. It could also be a reference to The Light, ones of the fundamental forces in the Warcraft universe, which may or may not be sentient, and the focus of Draenei philosophy and the humans main religion The Church of the Holy Light.
    • Go'el's basket is a miniature orc transport ship from Warcraft II, only made of straw.
    • The orc base around the portal contains variations of structures from all ages of Warcraft orcs, the towers especially.
    • When Khadgar returns from Dalaran, the gryphon he's riding flies into the same part of Stormwind's ramparts that the Flight Master is located in-game.
    • The Translation Convention mentioned below could be an example of this, representing the language barrier employed in-game to prevent verbal harassment between Horde and Alliance players.
    • The mak'gora between Gul'dan and Durotan obeys the established pre-Thrall rules for a mak'gora in the main universe, each fighter has one witness (Orgrim for Durotan, Blackhand for Gul'dan), each fighter has up to one weapon (in this case, neither uses a weapon), body armor is forbidden, the fight is to the death and using magic is forbidden.
    • Medivh's initial demonic form looks quite like an eredar, most specifically Archimonde. His upgraded demonic form looks much like Illidan's, except worse.
    • Durotan mentions hunting on the dunes as a child. This is a reference to the fact that the ancestral homeland of the Frostwolves, Frostfire Ridge, is actually a desert (albeit a very cold one).
    • When Khadgar expels the fel magic that's infected Medivh, he releases the energies into the forests surrounding Karazhan which kills all the trees. This explains how the now lifeless area becomes known as Deadwind Pass.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailers for the film place focus on an orc wearing a skull mask who resembles Ner'zhul, who in the games was the one who was tricked into leading the orcs into war against the draenei and kicked off the events of the series. In the film, Ner'zhul played no part in the corruption of the orcs and the masked orc shown in the trailer probably isn't even him since many other orcs wear similar masks.
    • The trailers also implied that Durotan and Lothar would join forces to fight Gul'dan and his army. Though Durotan does arrange a meeting and truce with the humans, he and Lothar only interact once, and never work together.
  • No OSHA Compliance: The mages of Kirin Tor don't seem to care about railings. Made even worse by the fact that the city is hovering hundred of metres above the ground, so any stumble is likely to result in more than just a broken bone. Possibly justified, mages are shown being able to both teleport and create a blue magic bubble around themselves (and others) that makes them invulnerable to pretty much everything.
  • Not a Mask: Gul'dan's spikes are initially presented as part of his Sorcerous Overlord garb, akin to Blackhand's animal spines decorating his back. But when he undresses for mak'gor, it turns out they're his fel mutation.
  • Not His Sled: Several cases:
    • Garona kills Llane in the movie, like in the game lore, but under a very different context: instead of doing it on Gul'Dan's orders and having conflicting loyalties about it, she gives Llane a Mercy Kill so that Blackhand can't kill him and defile his corpse, and so that Garona will receive the respect among her people that she was previously denied. Also, this happens during the battle at the Dark Portal and not during the sack of Stormwind. Additionally, in the game 'verse, she cuts out his heart; in the film, she stabs him in the neck (and it certainly would be feasible for her to do so while he's dressed in plate armor).
    • It is not Orgrim who kills Blackhand, but Lothar.
    • Stormwind is still standing at the end of the movie. If anything, the worst is yet to come.
    • Durotan is not killed by Gul'Dan's assassins, but rather by Gul'Dan himself in a one-on-one fistfighting duel (Gul'Dan cheated, using magic). Draka manages to set their son in a makeshift raft into a river and then dies in a Mutual Kill with her assassin.
    • Khadgar, while playing his part in Medivh's defeat, does not get magically aged.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • Many orcs and humans are killed either by beheading or the head being crushed. The probability of the latter happening increases exponentially whenever Orgrim is on-screen.
    • Lothar stops Medivh's golem from finishing Portal-opening incantation by cutting its head off, although it doesn't kill it.
  • One-Winged Angel: When Khadgar and Lothar confront him, Medivh hulks out into a giant, horned demon.
  • Onrushing Army: In the final battle under the Portal, both forces charge at one another with little thought of tactics.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Given that Blizzard is well known for establishing this trope, the orcs in this film are more fleshed out than the ones depicted in other universes, The Lord of the Rings in particular.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Lothar's son doesn't make it to the end of the film.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: Durotan is freaking out when Draka is giving birth; mostly because they're surrounded by a bunch of orcs furious that he brought a pregnant woman thorugh the portal.
  • Pet the Dog: Even Gul'dan gets a moment, though it's motivated by his own evil motives: Draka's son is stillborn, so he absorbs the life of a deer and infuses it into the baby (which he also helped deliver). It's also mentioned that he had Garona spared after her mother gave birth to her, and after her mother was burned alive he allowed Garona to keep one of her tusks to remember her.
  • Portal Door:
    • How the orcs get to Azeroth in the first place.
    • In the climax, Medivh shakes off the fel corruption long enough to redirect the portal to Stormwind.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Fel Magic is powered by life force. As such, in order to activate the portal, Gul'dan has thousands of Draenei,and later humans, drained to provide the recquired power.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The mages of Kirin Tor have purple-glowing eyes.
  • Real Is Brown: Very averted: the movie is just as colorful as the video games, from the bright green forests to bright green fel orcs, not to mention the gold-trimmed blue armor and weapons of human soldiers. It can be a little jarring if you're used to other fantasy films such as Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: As guns are a recent invention, Lothar doesn't have a basic grasp of gun safety. When testing out a prototype in Ironforge, he casually points the barrel at his face.
  • Red Baron: Orc titles lean in this direction. Specifically, Doomhammer and Blackhand.
  • Redshirt Army: The human footmen, but not for lack of trying; after a long era of peace and pitted against an unknown, battle-hardened foe, they just don't have the experience or the intel to be much more than armored punching bags. Remarkably, they still manage to accomplish all of their goals through a combination of magical support and sheer determination.
  • Related in the Adaptation:
    • In the original Warcraft lore, Orgrim Doomhammer was part of the Blackrock Clan as Blackhand's second-in-command. His brotherly friendship with Durotan of the Frostwolf Clan is described to be a rare occurrence in Orcish society given how segregated the clans were before the war. The film simplified this relationship to Orgrim being part of the Frostwolf Clan as Durotan's second-in-command.
    • Queen Taria, married to Llane, is Lothar's sister.
    • Garona, Medivh's lover in the comic (though not many want to remember that) is implied to be his daughter.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Llane leads the armies to stop the Portal from opening himself, and takes active participation in the fighting, even refusing to escape through the portal until as many of his people as possible are saved.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Humans and Orcs fight one time during each act, with every time the battle being somehow stopped or interfered with by Medivh.
    • Every time Gul'dan is seen using the Fel on someone not already touched by it or not as part of the Portal spell, he's seen drawing their life force three times, with the third time killing the victim. First on a random prisoner, then on Durotan. Apparently, animals are killed instantly.
  • Scenery Porn: Stormwind looks gorgeous.
  • Screaming Birth: Draka screams when giving birth, as she went into labour when crossing the Portal, which causes complications.
  • Sequel Hook: The film ends with the formation of the Alliance and Go'el/Thrall being found by a human.
  • Serious Business: The mak'gora, a ritual honor-duel between orc chieftains, is truly sacred even amongst the fel-corrupted orcs. When Gul'dan wins one against Durotan by using his magical ability to drain life, the watching orcs almost revolt against him until he scares them back into line with his powers. And when Lothar kills Blackhand in one shot during their mak'gora, he impresses the Horde so much that they respectfully salute and free him, despite Gul'dan's demands.
  • Shoot the Messenger: Averted. Considering his imprisonment and harsh treatment, Khadgar may have been trying to avoid this trope when he insisted that Medivh explain the Fel.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Like in the games, the demonic fel glows green.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: How Lothar kills Blackhand.
  • Slave Collar: Garona has one, as she's pretty much Gul'dan's property. When Queen Taria notices it, she has it removed.
  • Soul Power: Gul'dan's fel powers center around manipulation of souls.
  • Sound Of Darkness: The Fell makes a sinister sound, as does Gul'dan's sucking of souls out of his victims.
  • Spotting the Thread: Khadgar realizes that something's off about Medivh when the latter burns down his research on the Portal.
  • The Stinger: After the title flashes for the last time, but before the credits, it shows Durotan's baby son being found by some human lord.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Lothar, when in throes of his Heroic B.S.O.D..
    Lothar: [quietly] Look... I've calmed down. Could you... open the cell now? So that I can go and help the king?
    Guard: [shakes head]
    Lothar: LET ME OUT!
  • Survival Mantra: When Khadgar resists fel, he repeats what Alodi has told him earlier:
    Khadgar: From light... cometh darkness, from... darkness... cometh... light!
  • Tears of Fear: Poor Khadgar starts crying in terror when he's unexpectedly grabbed by an orc and prevented from spellcasting. Fortunately, the orc is Durotan.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Llane tells Garona to kill him, bringing her back in power with the Horde, and hopefully bring peace.
    • Likewise Durotan challenges Gul'dan, knowing the latter will not be able to resist using his magic to kill him quickly, causing the sorcerer to lose face with the Horde.
  • Thinking Up Portals: By far the most common spell used by Medivh and Khadgar in the film is teleportation.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The ornate book Khadgar finds in Medivh's library contains information on Portal and using fel magic to open it, both of which are a huge no-noes.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: Fel's calling card is physical transformation of those it impacts.
    • The orcs empowered by Gul'dan turn green.
    • Blackhand, when empowered by Gul'dan, regrows his hand around the claw he was wearing on the stump of the previous one but with sickly-looking flesh, grows skin on the spines he is using as a cape, and looks less orcish and more bestial with more teeth among other things.
    • Gul'dan himself sprouts a crown of horns on his back from oft usage of fel.
    • When he's fully corrupted, Medivh's skin wrinkles and turns dark blue, and he starts to sprout horns from his chin.
  • Translation Convention: The people of Azeroth and the orcs of Draenor each speak different languages, but it is heard in English depending on which side is in focus. This leads to some interesting moments, where a character can be heard speaking in an unknown language for half a sentence before suddenly speaking English, but it turns out that this trope is in full effect.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Medivh, under fel's influence, convinces Llane that the rebellion among the orcs is rising and that three legions should be enough to tip the scales in humans' favour and win the day. He also pushes Lothar further into Sanity Slippage with well-placed comments.
  • Trespassing Hero: Lothar and Khadgar meet for the first time when the latter breaks into garrison morgue to examine the bodies he believes he's smelled fel on.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: After benefitting from Stormwind's protection and help for years Llane is abandoned by his allies with shouts of "Fight your own wars!"
  • Weaponized Teleportation: Khadgar incapacitates demon!Medivh by teleporting a golem over his head, crushing the sorcerer.
  • White and Grey Morality: With one big exception on each side (Gul'dan is jet-black and Medivh is a very dark gray). All major orc characters (including Blackhand) are shown to have some redeemable qualities, and it's made rather clear they are invading Azeroth because their own world is dying note , making their motivations sympathetic. Meanwhile, humans are overall portrayed as unambiguously good and just defending themselves against the Horde's assaults.
  • Wizard Duel: At the end, between Khadgar and Medivh. It ends with Khadgar teleporting Medivh's own Golem on top of him and then purifying him from the Fel's corruption.
  • Worthy Opponent: Lothar becomes Blackhand's, to the point that Blackhand lets Lothar live just to fight a mak'gora against him. Once Lothar wins in just two moves, the entire Horde except Gul'dan consider him one.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: "From light comes darkness, and from darkness comes light". Khadagar uses this to counteract the Fel magic corrupting Medivh and himself.
  • You Are Too Late: Lothar arrives too late to save Llane, or any of his men, and can only kill Blackhand and take Llane's body home.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: Gul'dan's main schtick throughout the film involves taking a soul out of a creature and using it as fuel for his magic. At one point, he's toying with a human he "feeds" on, taking it out bit by bit until the third time kills the man. This is also how he kills Durotan.
  • 0% Approval Rating: Zigzagged. After Gul'dan cheats in a mak'gora against Durotan by using his life-draining magic to win, the rest of the warband is disgusted and starts to defy him, disdainfully calling him a "demon". It's only when he showcases that he can kill them effortlessly with his magic that they fall back in line. And even then, they're still willing to defy him to free Lothar after he kills Blackhand in an honorable mak'gora.

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