Warcraft: The Beginning
The Warcraft movie is finally here and, despite some cautious optimism that it would finally break the bad video-game movie streak, it fails to impress. Director Duncan Jones has packed so much plot and so many characters into the two-hour runtime that for anyone unfamiliar with the world, there’s a lot to catch up on.
The first half hour of the film is almost entirely exposition: the kingdom of Azeroth is under attack, orcs known as The Horde have travelled to conquer from their dying world with the aid of orc-warlock Gul’dan (Daniel Wu), but not all of the orcs have faith in their sinister leader. Durotan (Toby Kebbell) is of the opinion that Gul’dan’s particular brand of sorcery will lead to the destruction of more than just their human foes. On the human side of things there is a whole host of stock characters to get to grips with: there’s the knight Lothar (Travis Fimmel), King Llane (Dominic Cooper), a bumbling mage Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer) and the Guardian Medivh (Ben Foster.) Tying the two sides together is half-orc, half-human Garona (Paula Patton), possibly the only interesting character of the bunch. And that’s just the main cast – there is a plethora of background and supporting characters rolled in and out as needed. With such a crowded roster, the viewer spends very little time getting to know any of them, which makes it rather difficult to care about any of the events unfolding on-screen.
Fans of the game and high fantasy in general will probably get a lot of the CGI and battle scenes, but even here there’s something missing. Though there are a few sequences that attempt to stay true to the game’s rather goofy tone, since the rest of the film is so serious all they serve to do is undermine the apparent severity of the situation.
It’s a shame, Duncan Jones has clearly put a lot of love into the feature, expanding the world and bringing it to life, but with so much ground to cover there was no way this film was ever going to feel cohesive. Perhaps the sequel (if there is going to be a sequel) will be better paced with the world already set up. For now, sadly, the bad video-game movie streak is going strong.
Warcraft: The Beginning is released nationwide on 30th May 2016.
Watch the trailer for Warcraft: The Beginning here: