Review: Warcraft – The Beginning (2D)

warcraft
Duncan Jones directing this fantastic epic isn’t the only thing that’s totally baffling and confusing with this project!

The realm of Azeroth is at peace with its native races working together, but when a barbaric race known as Orcs build a portal between their worlds and invade, alliances must be forged and sides must be chosen to save the civilized world.

Blizzard Entertainment is one of the biggest, most financially successful video game companies in the world; dominating multiple genres of the industry and becoming highly competitive in others. Warcraft is based off one of their founding products back in 1994 for Windows PC and Macintosh computers, and would start a consistent trend of world building and immersive storytelling within the company’s projects.
The Warcraft movie has been in development for years, Blizzard making the announcement as far back as 2006, including twenty months of post production. They really, really want to make a difference in the languishing “video game film adaptation” genre…

Sadly even Blizzard Entertainment struggle.

I am not a fan of Warcraft (I have not played the games, not even World of Warcraft – the company’s most popular game with over 60 million players) but since this movie was finally given the subtitle “The Beginning”, I had hoped for a good entry way into the franchise.
Sadly I felt very lost!
Within the opening twenty minutes there are perhaps four unique locations all across the land of Azeroth; the audience are tossed backwards and forwards from location to location through excessive editing. I had no bearing over where anything was, add to the issue with a mage constantly teleporting himself and others instantly from place to place. I don’t even know where the Orcs came from… another world? Continent? If another world, then… how? There are other worlds?

This film is definitely designed for the fans. Duncan Jones even altered the script to make The Horde characters more sympathetic, and the overall story isn’t just designed from the 1994 game but by using elements from two Warcraft novels.

I had real difficulty understanding what was happening, but also difficulty appreciating motivations or even sympathy for the characters. Heck, even their names were hard to remember.

But this is perhaps what they wanted? With appeasing the fans they are making a successful adaptation? To break the cycle of inaccurate game adaptation? All I can tell you is that I didn’t learn very much about Azeroth! Apart from all the characters being archetypes. As an introductory chapter… that’s a severe problem.

I’ve spent a lot of time criticising Warcraft, what is there to praise? The animation for sure. While the human characters are actors in costume, the creatures, surroundings and especially Orc characters are fully CGI. It is impressive; there’s a lot of subtle animation going on (in fact the first scene between Orcs is designed to show off subtle facial animation!)

I cannot fathom the same man directed Moon and Source Code directed this. I hope it does well enough to warrant a sequel, but as an outsider I was pretty bored and lost watching it. I reckon I could pick up the games and have just as much fun learning the world. Not worth a cinema trip, but perhaps TV or rental.

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Additional Marshmallows: Kudos to Blizzard Entertainment, early on in development notorious director Uwe Boll approached them to helm the project. Blizzard politely declined, knowing Boll’s terrible reputation for video game adaptations, by saying:

“We will not sell the movie rights, not to you… especially not to you. Because it’s such a big online game success, maybe a bad movie would destroy that ongoing income.”

That is awesome.

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