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YMMV / Warcraft (2016)

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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: A rather unconventional example of the trope, to say the least. Universal were reluctant to make the movie in the first place due to the common perception from audiences and critics that Video-Game Movies Suck, and as such spent minimal time advertising it before it came to theaters. While they were proven right with the movie's weak $24.3 million domestic opening, the film's performance overseas made up for that shortcoming. Of special note is China, where the movie set new records and quickly put the movie on-course to become one of the highest-grossing films Universal ever released in the region. It ended up being the highest-grossing video game movie worldwide despite its domestic failure.
  • Awesome Music: Ramin Djawadi's score for the movie is one of its stronger points. Particulary, the "WarCraft" leitmotif.
    • Ramin Djawadi also included excerpts from World of Warcraft music at points. The first establishing shot of Stormwind playing its leitmotif, and the credits eventually playing the lead melody of Legends of Azeroth, which served as the main title song for the original game and (most) of the expansions and showed up occasionally in World of Warcraft.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Thanks to the movie having the foresight of twenty years of lore to draw upon, it's able to make sure that its timeline can have many of the later developments planned and worked in from the beginning instead of having to rely on retcons.
    • The film changes the origins of Garona's heritage from the official lore, this time going from half-draenei to half-human again, with the implication that Medivh was Garona's father. Though the change was controversial as per usual, many fans found this explantation to be superior than the one in game lore, citing how the Garona's heritage in the games was a subject of Continuity Snarl with previous attempts to retcon or explain away her half-"human" status only leading to more complications while the movie simply implies that Medivh travelled to Draenor through his powers and had an affair with an Orc woman there. Additionally, it also makes the fan-unfavorite Me'dan unlikely to appear since Medivh and Garona's status as father and daughter makes their original lore status as lovers incompatible with each other.
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    • In the game lore, Durotan and Draka, as well as most orcs, are already green before he is born because of merely being around fel magic, making exposure to fel a bit inconsistent. Here, they are still brown, and Thrall's skin turns green as a result of Gul'dan himself breathing stolen life into him after delivering him because Draka's passing through the portal caused his premature birth. With this, Thrall's birth is directly tied to one of the most important events in Warcraft history, and his connection (and, presumably, ideological opposition) to Gul'dan gains a personal element (in addition to Durotan's murder below).
    • Many people like that the film version of Durotan is much more proactive in rebelling against Gul'dan. In the game lore, Durotan reluctantly goes along with almost everything the Horde does so that his clan doesn't face persecution and the one time he tried to rebel against Gul'dan, he's killed by assassins loyal to the warlock. In the movie, he is openly critical of Gul'dan and his abilities, tries to negotiate peace with King Llane and almost averts the war and challenges Gul'dan to a mak'gora. And although he dies to the warlock's fel powers, he upsets Gul'dan's respect and authority in the Horde by showing everyone how much of an honorless traitor he really is.
  • Broken Base: Considering it's a movie adaptation of a really popular game franchise, there are sure to be many splits amongst the fandom.
    • The movie's treatment of the Warcraft lore. Some don't like the changes such as the Adaptational Heroism example mentioned below, whereas others see the changes as necessary Adaptation Expansion in order to make it work for a movie adaptation.
    • The film's use of CGI. Some fans were hoping for practical effects to make the universe seem real and gritty, and question why the whole movie wasn't done in CGI as it causes the scenes done with actual humans to come off feeling out-of-place. Others defend it as Scenery Porn that matches the style of the game universe.
    • The fact the film is Live Action. For some, making it live-action takes away much of the former charm the games have, unable to give the same feel of epicness shown through the animated roots the series comes from, and by doing so critics compared it unfavorably to the likes of The Lord of the Rings, regardless of whether it was intentional or not. Others claim that the live-action and CGI bring the world to life in a new way they always dreamed of, and the performances by the actors and actresses are good enough that the movie can stand on its own.
    • Orcs being given Adaptational Heroism for the First War. For detractors, it's a sore spot amongst older fans since the Orcs were the ones who attacked and started the war, killing innocent people without reason. This feeling was made worse by the fact that Durotan is being promoted as a protagonist when he was a fairly normal orc in the games. Others don't care or think it's good that the orcs are getting depth that isn't just savage orcs. Not to mention, the savage orcs are still technically there. There's just going to be orcs amongst them that have the ability to listen to reason. Durotan was always against the Orc-Draenei and later Orc-Human wars. In fact, in the game timeline, Durotan and his entire clan (the Frostwolves) were exiled for refusing to drink the demon blood and continue the war. And even in exile, the Frostwolves avoided conflict unless they were attacked and had to defend themselves.
  • Cliché Storm: A common criticism of the film is that it lacks the charm and soul that was put into the games it was based on, and replaces said charm with a Darker and Edgier plot similar to those of many other fantasy films, making it seem more depressing than exciting. Reviewers with no knowledge or gaming experience of the Warcraft universe meanwhile just treated the film as such, unfavorably (and kind of unfairly) comparing it to The Lord of the Rings.
  • Complete Monster: Gul'dan is a ruthless orc warlock who reigns over the Horde with an iron fist. Addicted to dark fel magic, Gul'dan seeks to expand the Horde into the world of Azeroth to conquer. Opening a portal by draining the lives of hundreds of innocent Draenei prisoners, he sends the Horde out to conquer and destroy all in its path. Eventually it is revealed that Draenor was rendered a dying world by Gul'dan's own abuse of the fel, and Gul'dan has zero compunction about doing the same to Azeroth. Rounding up human captives to empower his magic, Gul'dan tortures one by slowly draining his life, plotting to use the rest to open up the portal for the rest of the Horde. When the honorable chieftain Durotan tries to stand against Gul'dan, Gul'dan orders his clan slaughtered, including Durotan's baby son. When Durotan challenges Gul'dan to a duel, Gul'dan cheats to win by using his magic to drain Durotan's life after he finds himself without the advantage and promptly murders several orcs when they turn from him in disgust. Even at the end, Gul'dan demonstrates he has no loyalty to his people or their traditions when he orders the heroic Anduin Lothar killed after Lothar defeats Gul'dan right-hand orc Blackhand in fair combat. Greedy, power-hungry, and insatiable in his desires, Gul'dan will happily condemn any world to destruction as long as he can fuel his addiction to the fel.
  • Continuity Lockout: One common criticism of the movie even by fans of the game is that it tries to pack too much lore within one movie and confuses the general movie going audience. On the other hand, even the director has mentioned getting about equal praise from established Warcraft fans and people who were introduced to the franchise through the movie.
    • Another common criticism of the movie is that it chose to adapt the original RTS instead of something more familiar to current fans, like a plot from World of Warcraft or at least Warcraft III's beloved story. One of the reasons Warcraft I was chosen was so the film series could start at the beginning and avoid as much Continuity Lockout as possible.
  • Critical Dissonance: There is a big divide with critics who panned the film and audiences who enjoyed it. Nowhere this was exemplified like Rotten Tomatoes: Critic score is roughly about 30% while the audience score is about 80%, indicating a big disparity in terms of enjoyment.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Khadgar, as most fanfiction that has sprung up from the movie has him front and center. Being both Adorkable and somewhat of a Pretty Boy, this was to be expected.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Although the movie does borrow a lot to the game's aesthetics and world / lore building (due to them being obviously way more developed and recent than the older RTS games) and throws in some Mythology Gags, saying that this movie is based on World of Warcraft (the More Popular Spin-Off) will trigger a bad reaction from some fans since its story is based on the 1994 RTS game.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Assassin's Creed (2016). The two fandoms clash over which will be the better video game movie. Wacraft was ultimately more financially successful, was (a tad) better received critically speaking, and had better audience scores.
  • Fantasy Ghetto: Both hit hard in one way and averted in another. On one hand, some critics have dismissed it as the adaptation of "a generic fantasy game with little cinematic value" (although, oddly, others dismissed it because it wasn't close enough to fantasy they were used to, with complaints about things like American accentsnote ). On the other, the crew and cast clearly embraced the movie and are seemingly proud of it, including and specially the director, Duncan Jones.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The film only grossed $24.3 million on its opening weekend in North America, but somehow managed to turn a profit thanks to overseas gross. China is especially noteworthy, considering its strong opening there, in part due to World of Warcraft's still large presence in the country (while subscriptions in the USA and Europe have dwindled significantly in the last couple of years). Given that Legendary Pictures is now co-owned by a Chinese company, they get to keep a bigger share of the ticket sales than typical "foreign-made" movies and might play a key role should a sequel happen.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In the film, Gul'dan uses his fel powers to kill Durotan in their mak'gora is proclaimed an honorless cheater for it. In the games, this is almost exactly how Thrall used his shamanistic powers to kill Garrosh Hellscream in their mak'gora, lending credence to the accusation that he cheated and lost his honor because of it.
    • Durotan's sacrificial mak'gora against the corrupt and honorless leader Gul'dan would play out in Battle for Azeroth with Varrok Saurfang giving his life in mak'gora to prove to the Horde that Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner had no honor and cared nothing for the Horde.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Universal once had its own video game division, mainly known for Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon. Eventually, thanks to a series of buyouts and spinoffs, what had been renamed by that point Vivendi Games (including the remnants of Sierra) was absorbed into Activision in 2009. Come 2015, and Universal is distributing a movie based off Activision Blizzard's biggest franchise.
    • This isn't the first time Clancy Brown worked on the Warcraft franchise, only this time there are absolutely no cancellations.
    • Kilian Experience made a video called "A Garbage Retrospective Of Warcraft" that goes over every game in the series. When talking about Warcraft 2 and onward, he calls Khadgar a "pretty shit wizard" every time the Dark Portal is opened. Then the movie comes out a few months later and, for a while, Khadgar is a "shit wizard".
    • In the What Could Have Been game Warcraft: Lord Of The Clans, Clancy Brown voiced Thrall. Now he is voicing his father's leader Blackhand.
    • The film's main premise (the humans and the orcs trying to sustain peace while certain members on either side want war) is similar to the plot of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Durotan, who essentially plays the same role Caesar played in Dawn, is played by Toby Kebbell, who played Koba in that film, though Durotan is Killed Off for Real before the final battle, while Koba attempted to kill Caesar to provoke conflict between apes and humans.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: There are a surprising amount of viewers who aren't interested in the Warcraft mythos at all, but want to support the movie just because Duncan Jones made it, and they want to ensure that the movie's doesn't end up being a Box Office Bomb and a Creator Killer for him.
  • Narm:
    • The scene where the camera makes quick uninterrupted pans from one sacked village to another is faithful to the RTS games, but does not translate very well on film. Then again, it's endearing to see.
    • Gul'Dan's line about the lives of enemies being used as "FUUUUUUUUUUEL" can also come off this way.
    • Paula Patton hamming it up in every single scenes make the more subdue scenes with Garona this.
    • Some of the casting choices result in weird relations between the cast, such as Lothar somehow having a biological sister that's an entirely different skin shade than him, and him and Medivh (both played by actors in their mid-30s) both apparently having adult children.
    • The vocal effects used for many of the orcs. While meant to make their voices more fitting for their bellowing voices, it can just as often make them sound like an entire society of chain-smokers.
  • Newer Than They Think: While an adaptation of the First War (which was covered in the first RTS in 1994), almost all of the lore drawn on for this movie was established well after that game. Even the story of Khadgar, Karazhan, Moroes, and the pair that ultimately brought Medivh down comes from the novel The Last Guardian, which came out shortly before Warcraft III in 2002. While the idea of the orcs having been corrupted by fel blood was introduced in Warcraft III, the idea that their skin was originally brown wasn't established until the first expansion to World of Warcraft, The Burning Crusade, released in 2007. Fel corruption causing strange mutations and not just skin color changes wasn't shown on this level until the end of Warlords of Draenor, which was the current World of Warcraft expansion at the time of the movie's release (in 2016).
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Despite being an Alternate Continuity, many of the plots points in the movie that come across as retcons were actually the original lore of the games themselves. For instance, Garona being half human was her original story in the games before being retconned into half draenei. Also, the idea that warlocks helped the orcs leave a doomed homeworld (which only started to corrupt the new one) is as old as the original Warcraft I manual. Even the idea of the initial portal involving a shimmering hole in the ground was alluded to in that manual (although from the other side).
    • ERod infamously accused this movie of ripping off The Avengers by having the plot be about a villain trying to open a portal to allows an alien army to invade the good guys. This actually was the plot of the original Warcraft game, which came out in 1994, decades before The Avengers did.
  • Presumed Flop: The film is often cited as yet another embarrassing flop in the history of video game adaptations. Nevertheless, it made $439 million on a $160 million budget, becoming the highest grossing movie based on a video game at the time. While the movie reportedly failed to break even despite this large margin, its reputation is based on the idea that it alienated audiences and sold poorly as a result, not that it sold great but had its money poorly managed.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Anduin Lothar jumping off a cliff onto the back of a Gryphon as it flies by. The trailers enjoy capping the videos off with the shot.
    • Durotan's emotional face seems to be the defining moment that the marketing likes to exploit to show off the motion-capture for the orcs.
    • And of course, the opening of the Dark Portal and passing through it (from Draka's point of view).
  • So Okay, It's Average: A general consensus among the professional critics who were a little more positive with the film, which is somewhat a step in the right direction considering the video-game movies that have come before this. Praise of the movie includes respect of the source material, decent world-building and special effects, as well as the orcs being well-developed overall, and worth getting invested in. Criticisms, such as what is mentioned in Cliché Storm above, also includes the human side not being well-acted, or interesting, with some of its characters. The fast-pacing is also a commonly mentioned issue with many believing that about 30 more minutes of downtime was needed to help flesh out the characters (granted 40 minutes have been cut from the theatrical release version).
  • Tainted by the Preview: One thing that is almost universally agreed upon at the moment is that Universal's marketing department has not been doing this movie any favors trying to get people hyped to see the movie, and perhaps serves as a reminder that no one knows how to sell a game adaptation just yet. The first trailer was thought to be nothing special, but by the time of the second trailer, they chose to add what is described as some out-of-place "dubstep" type of music note  that even the movie director, Duncan Jones, thought it didn't represent the movie well.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Despite all the effort to create Queen Taria Wrynn to have more female characters, she ended up doing very little in the movie itself. Her familial relationship with Lothar is also never really explored.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: A common criticism of the movie is that it tried to pack too much lore within one movie that ultimately ended up making the film's pacing muddled, and the characters not sympathetic or interesting enough (especially for the human side) to carry that much story. Not to mention there is about 40 minutes of footage that were cut from the film according to Duncan Jones, who stated they had plans to release a director's cut with the 40 extra minutes restored in the future.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: While the "bad" part is subjective here, it's quite clear with the immersive special effects and cast performances that the film crew were trying as hard as they could to make a good film. Dominic Cooper in particular received lots of praise for his role as Llane.
  • Video-Game Movies Suck: At least according to critics, who trashed the movie across the board for being too derivative of other fantasy films. Critical Dissonance is in full force here, as fans generally felt it was a decent adaptation faithful to its source material, something most video game movies before it had real problems with, and audience scores are generally pretty high.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Pointed as one of the movie's saving graces. Even the most negative reviews of the movie point out the visual effects as one of the high points. Orcs, the city of Stormwind and spell effects are some of the best CGI effects put on screen in recent years.
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency?: Ruth Negga and Travis Fimmel as siblings. Not only do they have completely different features, they have different skin color to the point that Negga has to put on an entire white makeup to lighten her skin. They also have very little chemistry in the film itself. That's not to mention that Fimmel uses a Fake American accent as Lothar, while Ruth Negga keeps her natural Irish accentnote .
  • The Woobie: Garona has been shunned by her people for being a half-breed all her life, and treated as a slave. She's given the opportunity to lead a new life with the humans and even fall in love with Lothar. She's forced to kill Llane at his own suggestion to earn the respect of her people, in the process alienating the people who showed her kindness.