I went to see the Warcraft movie today. Going into it I had low expectations as reviews had not been kind to this movie. Despite poor box office returns in the US, it’s been a big hit in China, and made nearly double its money combined internationally. This is generally considered the sign that a movie’s been profitable.
Regardless, I went in with low expectations, and though there were some good things here there were also some pretty bad points too.
The first and biggest compliment I want to give this movie is that it looks astonishing. The world looks amazing, and the power of the CGI means the Orcs, Elves, Dwarves and monsters look amazing. The Orcs, all done with motion capture CJ look as real as one could imagine. The floating city of Dalaran, the city of Stormwind, the Dark Portal and more all look beautiful. I’ve honestly never seen a fantasy world portray magic and wonder so well. Lord of the Rings etc had little overt use of magic, but this is different.
If some of the effects sometimes look a bit artificial it’s only because the rest are so good that you notice.
There is also some serviceable acting here. Mention must go to Paula Patton (Garona), Travis Fimmel (Lothar), Dominic Cooper (King Llane) and Ben Schnetzer (Khadgar) for strong…if not brilliant performances. Some are less good, but none are outright ruinous, such as Ben Foster (Medivh), Toby Kebbell (Durotan) and Daniel Wu (Gul’dan).
The acting is just good enough not to detract from the enjoyment of the film.
The plot covers most of the original ‘Warcraft’ game relatively faithfully, though with some diversions about how things happen. For me, seeing that 1994 game come to life was quite impressive.
However, the plot is where the movie really suffers. Characters and their motivations are mysterious or downright confusing. Basically, the plot happens not so much in a logical way, but in a way which advances the plot. It seems like there are big chunks missing from this film, and the betrayal of Medivh especially seems oddly unexplained.
As someone who understands the Warcraft universe and lore I had little trouble picking this up. However, for those without that knowledge, it can be overwhelming. This explains a lot of negative reviews I’ve seen, though by no means all.
Overall, this is a movie I enjoyed watching, but it’s left little impression on me. The visuals are downright amazing, and I want to see the next film. However, I hope better characters, plots and acting comes along.
It was better than I expected, but not as good as I’d hoped.