Thursday, June 16, 2016

Movie Review #439: "Warcraft" (2016)

Director: Duncan Jones
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 3 minutes
Image Source
A war party of orcs leaves their dying world through a portal to Azeroth, which has been opened by a dark magic know as the Fel. These orcs wants to wipe out the people of Azeroth so they can bring in their entire Horde to make Azeroth their new home. A seemingly impossible task, the army of Azeroth must find a way to defeat this immense enemy, and they may receive help from the last place they expect.

"Warcraft" is based on the massive global gaming series of the same name. It is directed by Duncan Jones, who made the stellar movie "Moon" and the relatively good movie "Source Code." This film has been highly anticipated by fans of the game, along with the high hope that "Warcraft" would be the one video game film to rise above the droves of other mediocre adaptations. Unfortunately, this just didn't happen. This is not the worst movie ever made, and it's not the worst video game movie adaptation ever made, but it's not exactly great, either.

There are good and bad aspects of "Warcraft." First of all, the visuals look pretty damn good for the most part, but we expected no less when noticing the film's $160 million price tag. This film truly is a visual delight, a spectacle in every sense of the word. The worlds are expansive and vast, and some of the characters are very detailed. What we like best about the effects are the orcs. When they move, or sweat, or get wet, the texturing on the characters really shows. Same goes for the griffin bird that Lothar, played by Travis Fimmel, rides. When he pets this creature, the feathers look real, like they are really being pulled back. The detail work is exquisite. The down side of this is there are times when it starts to slide into an artificial feel. Many of the cityscapes and orc hordes look like they have been copy pasted onto a blank computer canvas and added over and over again to save time. The scenes that involve combat and action are pretty dazzling to watch and provide for some really fun and entertaining moments.

Everything in between the action sequences, however, is not that well developed and/or fun. The plot is very flimsy and narrative is unclear. The filmmakers drop the audience into this massive world ever so slightly and then leave them there to fend for themselves with no real frame of reference. There are lots of different types of characters: orcs, mages, warlocks, kings, humans, Glenn Close. We feel like anyone who has never played the game will be just as lost as we were. The character development is almost non-existent. It's hard to really get invested in any of the characters because we never feel connected to any of them. This lack of connection hurts every other aspect of the movie. When a character dies, we don't feel the emotional connection we should feel. In addition, there are a ton of characters in this film, played by the likes of Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, and Ben Schnetzer. A few of these actors appear on screen, but many are only providing their voices.

It's not hard to see why it's so difficult to get invested when there is so much going on. Like we said, if you're not already familiar with the "Warcraft" lore and universe, this movie isn't going to do much to help and it probably won't appeal to you. Director Duncan Jones will most likely be praised by lovers of the game for providing fan service to them, but as far as mass appeal goes, not so much. It's a pretty cliche story bogged down by an ultra slow pace, even if that pace is filled with fantastical visuals. For us, "Warcraft" wound up being very forgettable.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~26%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

No comments:

Post a Comment