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I'm not sure if my review should be counted because I never played the Warcraft games - I know that my friends and college roommates loved to play World of Warcraft non-stop when it came out.
This movie might be strictly for Warcraft players only, but I'll just state what I think of it:
Warcraft tries its hardest to get out of telling a cinematic story worthy of getting onto theaters as possible by making up really boring heroes who use magic, blue telekinetic bolts of energy and griffins in combat against orcs with giant wolves and the ability to drain life out of another living being. Not sure how it seems like a fair comparison for both sides. Comparing one side that has a magician with telekinesis to the other side that has a orc on a giant wolf really confused me. The movie made no sense to me on why the heroes and villains are both equipped with very unique skills and advantages. I mean, is the orcs' brute strength really a fair comparison of strategy and war against the humans' magic and blue energy bolts? And as if the orcs weren't menacing enough, the writers also provided them with giant wolves as transportation and as secondary soldiers.
I also didn't understand why the writers chose to make the main bad guy (Gul'dan) use a brainwashed orc to carry out the big final battle at the climax instead of doing it himself. So what, all Gul'dan does is talk angry and brainwash? He's so scary that he has no need to visually demonstrate how scary he is?
The Warcraft film was enjoyable, as a lore nerd I knew what was suppose to happen and while some of the things didn't happen and some characters did not have the same ties as they originally had in game Lore, it was fun. As someone who primarily plays one of the blue space goats I liked seeing them appear in the Movie. The fact that mounts actually partisipated in combat was awesome, and I really enjoyed how they showed magic. Medive felt nerft tho. The comparison to Mavel comic (Warcraft games) and the MCU (the movie) seems to be an accurate anology.
I've been hyping myself for this movie for an entire decade. Not only because it's Warcraft - but also because we could finally see the events that started it all - the First War depicted in Warcraft: Orcs and Humans - fully fleshed-out. Along with The Last Guardian, which is among my favorite pieces of Warcraft lore.
Visually, the movie leaves little to be desired, at least where the orcs are concerned. They are every bit as realistic and lively as The Hulk in MCU, and that's saying something. Now, we've seen Blizzard's latest cinematics, but orcs on the big screen, just as they looked in the games, not one bit less hulking and brutish, that was a sight.
Would that I could say the same about the plot. The First War is there, but we don't see much of it. There is no prelude for the orcs - how it came to the invasion, to their corruption and coalescing into the Horde. Khadgar's plot is underwhelming. Orgrim is reduced to being an undecisive nobody instead of an honorable leader. Gul'Dan rules openly, which ruins his dark charm of a behind-the-scenes manipulator.
This is not helped by the lot of the human characters, who I found unimpressive. Travis Fimmel might be a good actor, but his cocky smirk ruined the wise and seasoned knight I pictured Lothar to be. Llane is a background prop. Medivh invokes Jesus and it isn't helped that his struggle with fel magic is just that - no inherent corruption since before his conception, no quirky mentor relationship with Khadgar. Khadgar himself is adequate, but his adventure is only glossed over and ends with a "chosen one" ordeal. Garona's loyalty conflict does not exist, and with it her main character trait is gone. The hints that Medivh might be her father do not improve the situation, although it's better than them being lovers. Queen Taria was promised to be a strong female character but does nothing except bring Garona some blankets. Lothar's son was inserted as a plot device so his death can drive a wedge between Lothar and Medivh.
That said, the film did have some cool features beside visual effects. The explanation of Thrall's green skin as a result of Gul'Dan assisting his birth, and the birth itself being premature because of Draka's passing through the portal did sound plausible. Khadgar recognizing the fel. The orcs honoring Lothar after his victory over Blackhand. Even Durotan and Gul'Dan's duel was a nice thing to see, although out of character for the warlock. The opening of the Dark Portal by Draenei sacrifice, as well as the initial rift leading into the Black Morass kept me glued to my seat.
And still, I would have liked to see Khadgar and Garona summoning visions to discover Medivh's treachery, or Grom drinking Mannoroth's blood, or Stormwind being sacked - all pivotal events in the Warcraft lore. All in all, while I'm left underwhelmed, I'm willing to give Blizzard a chance to make a next film truer to the game's plot - because those games do have stories worth telling.
I have always been a big fan of most Blizzard games, so I was really worried if that movie was gonna be good or not, especially considering such movies usually turn out. As such, now that I finally saw it, I am happy to say this wasn't one of those movies. Indeed, while the Warcraft movie is by no mean a masterpiece, it is still an enjoyable, and, in my opinion, a pretty good flick.
Unlike many video game movies, where the filmakers take the story and just do what they want with it, you can tell here that the people who made this one really cared about making this close to the game: the visual, the designs, the characters, are almost entirely taken from it, and for the most part faithful. Admitedly, this can cause it to feel a bit weird, as the style doesn't necessarly transcribe well in live action; but on the other hand, it does help the film feel more unique-looking than the average fantasy movie. I especially like that Dwarves in this version actually do look like a separate species than humans, rather than just short men with beards.
Another thing I really appreciate is that they avoided falling into Black and White Morality; aside from Gul'dan (who always was a douche bag even in the game), all orcs are given some amount of redeemable qualities, and it's made clear that while they have the antagonistic role, they aren't entirely evil. Even Blackhand, who was entirely evil in the source material, is given some shades of grey. The humans don't get quite as much nuance, but still appreciated.
Now, as I said, the game still isn't without its fault. While I admire their effort in respecting the source material, they have very little time to explain much of the Universe and its lore. Now, I am a fan, so I know exactly what is going on, but people not familiar with the game are likely to get lost fast. Cameos from the Draenei, the High Elves and the Dwarves, while appreciated, don't feel particularly necessary and lack context, and the Burning Legion is only hinted at, making you wonder where the demon possessing Medhiv came from and why Gul'dan is using such an obviously destructive magic. In my opinion, this is a movie made for the fans of the game rather than people in general, and I sincerely hope that won't entrave its success to much.
Overall, it was an enjoyable experience, and I really hope it ends up having a sequel. I recommand it to anyone who is a fan of the Warcraft universe and games.
Summary: To enjoy the movie, you need to be familiar with the source material and focus on enjoying the action.
Frankly, I was kinda pessimistic since Video-Game Movies Suck and reviews were not very kind to it. But when I actually watched the movie, I found myself enjoying it more than I expected.
The whole thing is beautifully rendered and animated, as with any Blizzard games so far, and the computer-generated things actually meld well with the human actors. Storyline may be a Cliché Storm to the point of Foregone Conclusion, but by now Warcraft lore has been well-established and deviating from it too much may do more harm than good.
That said, to fully enjoy the movie requires you to be familiar with the original lore. The movie did not give much explanation on the history of Azeroth, of Draenor and the Human Kingdoms, of magic and Fel magic, of The Guardian, and more, which can easily alienate those not familiar with the franchise. Further, the movie has some pacing problem, where they try to cram too much in the short session resulting in frequent change of location in the movie, which can be disorienting.
Overall, I'd say the movie has weaknesses that make it less appealing to the general public, but if you are familiar with the Warcraft Universe, you may have a better chance to enjoy the movie.
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