Monday, 27 June 2016

Film Review No. 9: Warcraft: The Beginning (12+)

Strong Points:
Great CGI for both characters and environments
Twists and turns
Still able to enjoy it without knowing much backstory...
Good fight scenes
Potential for sequels
The Guardian was great
Showed that neither side was particularly evil

Weak Points:
...Not sure if all was intentional
Still don't know half the characters names
...Although you may lose some of the smaller details
Too obviously setting up for a sequel

Rating: 66%

Spoilers ahead:

In-depth Review:
In an alternate universe, video game movies are judged on the strength and entertaining nature of the film, not how close they can get to the source material without it becoming tedious. Alas, this is not that world, and Warcraft (and countless other video-game movie films before it) has been judged due to it not being able to meet the incredible standards of these popular games. It's a good, fun film with lessons to learn, twists you don't expect and characters you (start) to love.

The film opened with a little, albeit one-sided duel between a squishy human and a green, Fel infused, orc. This Fel is dark magic in a similar vein to The One Ring from TLOTR (not the last comparison to be made) whereby it gives the user immeasurable strength but slowly takes over them and makes them do its bidding. It's also powered by life force so there's that.

The Fel destroyed the Orc's home world so the only reasonable move forward is to open a massive great portal to Azeroth and bring the horde over. This job can only be done by Gul'dan an Orc mage with no regard for tradition or hygiene and who incidentally has been consumed by the Fel. Triple betraying happens and that brings me onto my next point. Deaths.

What I didn't think would happen was the amount of deaths in the film. I mean, normally a main character gets battered but the enemy never manages (or wants) to finish the job and the hero prevailed. Instead, the Orc War-chief Durotan, most of his clan, his wife, Lothar's son and more went to the grinder. For a planned trilogy this is a lot of cast space to fill for the next films but it was refreshing as we're so used to seeing what I like to call 'the Marvel effect' where characters aren't killed off as its more profitable to not.

Character development was a bit uneven with Lothar's son seeming to just appear randomly (as do the kings kids) while The Guardian was dealt with really well with a nice monologue showing that he really just wanted to protect everyone, even if that went very, very wrong. We're starting to get to grips with Lothar and Khadgar slowly, and with the closing of quite a few story arcs in this film, hopefully, the next will be slightly more streamlined as the characters are all unique and it would be nice to get to know them all more without having to research the lore outside the film.

The CGI was great with the orcs all looking incredibly detailed, as were the environments. The human character's armour was meant to be faithful to the game but ended up looking a bit cosplay although my eyes warmed to it later on. The fights were mostly good, with more comparisons to TLOTR, and the Mak'gora's especially well done, showing that Orcs aren't mindless beasts but are creatures of tradition.

The dialogue, while a bit jumpy in terms of pace was all right, with most of the actions of the characters being explained. It was funny as well, although if it was all intentional or not I can't be sure.

Conclusion: overall, it was a decent and entertaining film for anyone to watch, even if the obvious setting up of sequels and rushed opening let it down slightly.

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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