For the full Movie Bears Podcast review of ‘Warcaft,’ check out the video below! For our mini-review, read on…
Set in the fantasy world of Azeroth, ‘Warcraft’ tells the tale of a human kingdom and its allies who rally to defend their world from a rampaging horde of orcs from another world. Based on the popular game franchise from Blizzard, ‘Warcraft’ finds compelling heroes and dastardly villains on both sides of the conflict. As the culmination of 22 years of franchise lore, die-hard fans of the game series are likely to find plenty of fan service to justify the price of admission. As a film, however, ‘Warcraft’ has some jarring flaws which make it difficult to recommend to general audiences.
Director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) has a passion for the world of “Warcraft,’ a passion which is evidenced by the density of game references and story details crammed into the film, both as throwaway visual gags and as important plot details. He wields this passion like a double-bladed sword; the story feels as though it is handled ‘correctly’ by someone who understands the franchise, but perhaps a less crowded script would have made for a less confusing viewing experience. Characters suddenly and unexpectedly shift allegiances and emotions, not out of character-driven sequences but instead out of a need to swiftly move through story beats. Story is important, but it must be supported by character instead of coming at its expense.
Visually, ‘Warcraft’ is one of the most ambitious films in recent history, with a full cast of cgi orcs who are interestingly and expertly designed, and settings which look ripped directly from the games. Magic battles utilize a stunning color palette that are always a joy to watch, and the sundry weapons and pieces of armor displayed through the film are each visually striking.
The performances, on the other hand, fall in the bland range of ‘adequate.’ None of the performances are bad, but none really stand out as extraordinary. Again, this is symptomatic of a script that prioritizes plot to characterization, so the actors themselves cannot be held to blame.
If you’re a fan of the franchise, or if you are looking for mindless visual candy at the cinema, you could do much worse than ‘Warcraft.’ However, the film doesn’t hold up under any deep or complex scrutiny, and even if newcomers to the franchise are likely to be put off by the final product.
Written by Will Lindus, Movie Bears Podcast