Posted June 17, 2016 by in

Quick Stats

Genre: fantasy, action
Director: Duncan Jones
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Actors: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster
Length: 123 minutes
Release Date: 6-10-2016
Studio: Atlas Entertainment, Legendary Pictures, Blizzard Entertainment, Universal Pictures
What We Thought

Warcraft is a video game-to-film adaptation, but at least it’s one of the better ones strictly from a production standpoint. It’s watchable enough, especially for fans of the franchise.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
World of Warcraft had 12 million subscribers around the world at the height of its popularity.Warcraft  I was not one of them.  I approached the Warcraft film as an outsider to the phenomenon, unfamiliar with its rich lore, its legendary heroes and epic tales, spanning over 20 years of books, games, comics and more.
     Warcraft takes place in the high fantasy setting of Azaroth, where humans, dwarves, elves, and others live in harmony.  However, their world is invaded by Orcs, muscle-bound humanoids of towering stature.  The Orcs, a warrior race, clad in armor adorned with bones and skulls, are lead by the evil sorcerer Gul’dan (Daniel Wu), who uses powerful magic, known as The Fel, to transport the Orc from their dying world to the land of Azaroth.
     If this were Lord of the Rings, the Orcs would be left at that, mere monsters who threaten the human characters and must be vanquished.  However, writer-director Duncan Jones tells much of Warcraft from their point of view.  They are a proud race with a strict code of honor.  One of their chieftains, Durotan (Toby Kebbell), is a loving husband, who’s son is born just as he and his wife Draka (Anna Galvin) enter the human world.  He’s not a villain—he’s the sympathetic hero of the story, doing what’s best for his people.
     The Orcs, and some of the other races, are CGI characters brought to life through the motion capture process.  Each Orc looks unique and fairly realistic;  you’ll quickly come to recognize each of the significant Orc characters.  The best thing that Warcraft has going for it is that it’s a high-quality production, worthy of the big screen.  Many of the interiors are real sets rather than green screen fakery, and the costumes and armor look like they were made with care.
     What Warcraft lacks, though, are interesting human characters with compelling motivations Warcrafton the other side of the story.  Llane Wrynn is their king, portrayed by Dominic Cooper.  He is protected by Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel), a knight, whose own son serves in the army.  Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer), an apprentice wizard, joins him on his quest to stop the Orcish Horde.  Along the way, they capture Garona (Paula Patton), who is half-orc and half-human, who aids them, and serves as the story’s love interest.
     You’ll notice that Cooper is the biggest name in the cast.  He is both a star and a capable actor, but not quite a household name.  Stars are not necessary for a good film, there are many without any stars, but the name Sir Ian McKellan, for example, brings gravitas to the role of Gandalf, and Warcraft has little in the way of that.  It’s strange to see a big budget production so lacking in star power.  The cast of near-unknowns in Warcraft, however, have little to work with in thinly written characters to make up for what they lack in recognizability.
     Warcraft does have a sense of humor about itself, which is the next best thing it has going for it.  There are a few laughs, one especially good, but the film struggles tonally, and rushes through dramatic moments, of which there are too many with too little impact.
     At the end of the day, Warcraft is a video game-to-film adaptation, but at least it’s one of the better ones strictly from a production standpoint.  It’s watchable enough, especially for fans of the franchise.  For the rest of us, well, it’s a way to kill 2 hours, but not much else.  2.5 out of 5 stars.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.


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