Possible spoilers ahead!
Although I’ve never played the games or read one of the novels, I was still curious about this movie. And yeah, I know this movie bombed domestically, but I’ve never seen or not seem a movie based on the box office, so why start now?
Anywho, everything in this movie seems to center around the “Fel”, a malevolent fuel source harnessed from the living as they die. In “Warcraft,” orc sorcerer Gul’dan (Daniel Wu) has corrupted many of his fellow Orcs – turning their tribal society into a violent army known as the “Horde.”
After consuming all life on the Orc home world of Draenor, Gul’dan opens an inter-dimensional portal to Azeroth – a world where humans, elves, and dwarves all live in peace. However, Gul’dan is unable to bring the full Horde army through the portal at the same time, so he mounts a ruthless campaign against nearby human settlements, tasking the Orcs with destroying, and taking prisoners from the are to re-power the Fel.
As the invading Orcs arrive, a young inexperienced mage, Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer), begins investigating the side effects of the Fel. He gets some help from Sir Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel), and his king, King Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper) to request aid from Medivh (Ben Foster), the Guardian of Trisfal, the most powerful magic wielder in the land.
As the humans prepare for war with the invaders, an exiled tribe of orcs, lead by their noble chieftain Durotan (Toby Kebbell) and aided by a half-breed of unknown ancestry, Garona Halforcen (Paula Patton), break from Gul’dan in hopes of brokering peace between humans and Orcs.
Well, let’s get something straight right away: “Warcraft” is not Lord of the Rings, hell, it’s not even the Hobbit. One of the big problems with “Warcraft” is that it spend too much time laying the foundation for future sequels, and it does so at the expense of this cast and story.
Maybe its different if you’ve played the games, but as someone who is new to this world, I can tell you that the large number of characters and plot details that this movie packs in, was kind of overwhelming. To be fair though, director Duncan Jones had an almost impossible task at hand: make “Warcraft” the first installment in a new franchise, while pleasing the legion of fans this series already has.
But Jones just wasn’t able to balance the epic battles, world building, and drama. That’s a shame, because “Warcraft” has plenty of stories to tell. Each world could have a back story, the diverse races could have been explored more, and the main characters could have used better development, so that when something happens to them, we actually give a damn.
The other major issue with “Warcraft” is that it suffers from poor visuals. Some portions make the Star Wars prequels look realistic. The “Fel” looks like something you’d see in a Ghostbusters cartoon, and some of the backgrounds even look like paintings. I’m afraid Duncan Jones didn’t quite know how to handle humans interacting with CGI characters.
There’s a good movie in here somewhere, but Duncan Jones never found it. He’s a good director, but he was out of his comfort zone with “Warcraft.” If by some miracle there is a sequel, I hope the studio finds a director who has experience with special effects.
“Warcraft” final score: 5