REVIEW: Duncan Jones' WARCRAFT Is Better Than Critics Say - SPOILER FREE

Critics have been slamming Warcraft for a few weeks now for what it isn't instead of for what it is. Hit the jump and enjoy a fresh perspective on the movie based on Blizzard's Warcraft: Orcs vs Humans.

How do you write a review for a movie that is at 23% (currently) on rotten tomatoes and has critics going meh? It seems there are many people already giving up on Warcraft, calling it a disaster. Hopefully, this spoiler free review will not only encourage viewers to watch the movie but also prepare them to enjoy the film even if they are not familiar with Warcraft lore. Warcraft has plenty to offer moviegoers in terms of action, CGI (we’ll get to this later) worthy of a Warcraft cinematic, and most of all something that succeeeds in cramming a ton of “lore” into a movie. Most of all if you like the Warcraft games, you should like this.


There is no doubt that casual viewers and critics might get a little lost if they’re not familiar with its lore. There are a few problems I’ve seen in the reviews. This isn’t a film you can compare (Lord of the Rings/Avatar) to any other movie, yet critics insist on doing just that. If you are expecting it to be Lord of the Rings, you will be disappointed. The only thing that Warcraft has in common with Lord of the Rings are Orcs, Dwarves, Elves, and Humans, but they all are very different. Is Warcraft a movie that will break records and set a new standard for filmmaking? No, it's far from that, but it isn’t the disaster that many critics are calling it. There are few things, however, that viewers should know before seeing it that will help them enjoy the film. I’d rather help people get the most out of a movie than rip it to pieces.

The movie is based on Blizzard’s first real-time strategy game, Warcraft: Orcs vs Humans. The orcs homeland Draenor has been corrupted by “Fel” magic and they must find a new home. Gul’dan, one of the orc leaders, finds one through dark magic sending the orcs through the “Dark Portal” into Azeroth. Note there are two types of orcs: Fel orcs and normal ones. Fel orcs have been imbued with “Fel” magic that makes them bloodthirsty and easy to control by Gul’dan. Knowing those facts about the Orcs will help any viewer make sense of the orc side.

The human side isn’t as clear cut, but there are a few tidbits that are worth noting. First, the guardian (Medivh) is a mage that is encharged with protecting Azeroth (human world) from domestic and foreign threats. Guardians have been entrusted with the care of Azeroth from many generations and there is only one at a time. Since future films will reveal more, I won’t say much more about it. King Llane and Anduin Lothar are leaders who try and make sense of all the attacks that start taking place in Azeroth. Medivh, Lothar, and Llane have been on many adventures together.

This is a CGI-heavy film and there is no way it could have been made without it. Judging a video game movie for having TOO much CGI and being like the game is weird. In the words of Big Daddy “The only reason Styx catches a bad rap is because most critics are cynical a**holes.” The same can be applied to Warcraft. For example, orcs are big brutes that are twice the size of their human counterpart. Some action sequences get a little blurry, but that is something that can be hammered out in future films and it doesn’t detract from the movie at all. The battles, all in all, are still pretty epic. The orcs won’t bother (at least they shouldn’t) fans of the franchise. The battles were entertaining and left me wanting more of them and that is a good thing.

Critics (though not all) didn’t like the storyline and say a lot was crammed into it. Warcraft: Orcs vs Humans was first released in 1994. That is 22 years that Blizzard has been creating lore for their game. How do you fit that much lore into a 2 hour plus movie? It’s impossible and as someone who has played every single Warcraft. I had no problem with the storyline at all. In fact director Duncan Jones and Blizzard did a marvelous job putting the right pieces of lore into the movie. It might seem odd and maybe possibly won’t make sense, but it will in the future. This is a setup movie to a wonderful and lore heavy game that is very entertaining.

The acting itself is exactly what anyone should expect from Warcraft: kinda cheesy, but a guilty pleasure cheesy… If that makes any sense at all. If you don’t know what I’m talking about look up some of the cinematics for any of the Warcraft games. Freaking entertaining, but cheesy at times. The only character I had a problem with was Medivh. His character was kind of dull for someone who has the weight of the world on his shoulders. Another thing that left me bewildered by critics was the character Garona and the possibility that she is a mixed (half human/orc) raced character. The film itself doesn’t reveal exactly, but she really is half Draenei half-orc . Really? This is what you had a problem with? A film full of magic, orcs, elves, griffins, a floating island, dwarves and humans armed with ridiculously heavy and outrageous armor and a mixed orc is the one thing you whine about and think is weird? #MixedOrcEquality

Overall I thought this was a good popcorn movie. It’s a great adventure that any fan of the franchise will love. Those not familiar with it can still enjoy the movie, but maybe not as much. I will say this however: Blizzard, Legendary, and Duncan Jones created a starting point for 22 years of games. This is only the beginning and it’s only going to get better.
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