Sometimes living in Britain has its benefits, and I would certainly put “being able to see the Warcraft movie 10 days ahead of the US” in that basket. Having played World of Warcraft, albeit on/off in more recent years, since around 2005 and even meeting my husband in the game, the Warcraft franchise holds a dear place in my heart and so I was not put off by some of the more scathing movie reviews that have appeared over the past couple of weeks and we opted to attend the midnight showing at our local cinema. As such, we were limited to watching the movie in 3D which we usually avoid, but we decided that it would be worth it. And to be honest, it was.
Let’s just begin with the elephant in the room: the Warcraft movie reviews have so far not looked good. With some calling the film “soulless” and “a lumbering disaster”, but why? Well, for starters, the story speeds on ahead at breakneck speed with hardly any time put aside for character development.
What we don’t know is why we should care and there is a lot left unexplained that creates more questions than answers. This is the area where Warcraft fans have an advantage going into the movie because for the most part we already know these things, but to the average cinema-goer it is easy to understand why it might come across as a rambling mess. And in all honesty, if you’re going to open up a movie to a mainstream audience, that simply is not good enough because knowledge of what is going on between characters and worlds is fundamental to the movie going experience.
It isn’t all bad, though. The story of Warcraft contains plenty of tropes and clichés, sure, but it owns them and does so with its own spin and Blizzardy flavor. It is a story of loss, betrayal, and friendship told in two halves: that of the humans of Stormwind and the invading Orc armies, the latter of which really were the shining light of the Warcraft movie.
Durotan (Toby Kebbell) was a deep and fantastic lead alongside his mate, Draka (Anna Galvin), and clanmate, Orgim (Rob Kazinsky). The tribal politics and traditions of the Orc people showed through subtly and built steadily where the humans did not. While Lothar, Khadgar, and Medivh (Ben Foster) were all absolutely superb in their respective roles, the rest of the human cast felt a little as though they had stumbled onto the wrong film set, with acting more suited to the likes of Lord of the Rings.
The Warcraft movie’s biggest issue seems to be its editing. With several awkward scene transitions and a rushed and somewhat choppy story, we’re sure that an extended cut of the movie would offer a far superior movie, and character growth was one of the biggest casualties of this fault. There was one part of Warcraft, in particular, that just didn’t pack the punch that it really needed to propel several areas of the story but as it were, it kind of hit me like a wet noodle. This could, in part, have been down to cut scenes that may have further developed that character, or perhaps it was simply poor acting but needless to say, the movie had a couple of stumbling blocks.
That being said, I absolutely must praise the costuming department, who I felt did a stellar job all around of faithfully creating armor and clothing that fits within the Warcraft universe well. Some have argued that some costumes felt like “bad cosplay” but I disagree on this point. The CGI and effects department outdid themselves. We see magic and it just is the magic of Warcraft, and seeing these portals and barriers and Fel energies in 3D was probably my favorite part of the entire movie because the effects just looked incredible, and the Orcs and gryphons looked so lifelike I almost wanted to reach out and touch them. This was especially prominent in Warcraft’s battle scenes, where we see humans taking on the hulking Orcs without breaking pace. The environments, also, were breathtaking. Seeing these buildings, cities, and lands that we’ve played through for many years is bound to make you feel emotions, and boy did it.
The Warcraft movie is a must see for any Warcraft fan, and perhaps to fantasy fanatics also. However, this is a film created by a fan and it clearly suffers from many issues. Can we call it a flawed masterpiece? Perhaps not. What it does well it truly excels at, but its flaws are detrimental to the film as a whole if you’re not “in the know”. As such, I cannot in good faith give the movie too high a score, despite loving it personally.Related: Movie, Review, Warcraft Movie