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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Warcraft Review

Warcraft (alternatively known as Warcraft: The Beginning) is directed by Duncan Jones and written by Jones, Charles Leavitt and Chris Metzen. It stars Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky and Daniel Wu. [hit the jump to continue]

This is based on the Warcraft video game which was first popularized in the late 90's during the dawn of the internet age, and hit massive popularity later on when Warcraft III was launched along with its expansion; the immensely popular DOTA (Defense of the Ancients) game which has been one of the biggest video game addiction that lots of kids have been crazy about for more than half a decade now. It also spawned an MMORPG game World of Warcraft which was equally as popular as DOTA.

With a massive fanbase across the country and the entire globe, a film adaptation of Warcraft would probably ensure a certified hit. The numbers from China are in, and it hit the number one spot with 156 million at the box office. Sure, it may not have been a hit in the US, but China alone could save this film from being a failure.

But the question is; was it good? I'm sure that there's a lot of fans that really loved it. But this movie really disappointed me.

At the very least, Warcraft is expected to be a visual treat. In case it faltered in storytelling, you expect to get the satisfying consolation of a fantasy action film. Much like how stupid the Transformers movies are; it may be garbage, but it's a really good looking garbage.

Warcraft is definitely not garbage. It attempts to be something that has an interestingly complex storyline with the kind of epic drama to match something like Lord of the Rings. Its attempt to be an outstandingly good fantasy cinema is sincere. But the problem is that it just honestly did not work.

Most fantasy and sci-fi films with complex plots and subplots often endeavor to stretch its storytelling muscles to ensure that the audience will have a clear understanding of the universe it introduces. That is why the first Star Wars movie (the one in 1977 which was later best known as Episode IV: A New Hope) had this excellent gradual introduction from characters with super-simple motivations, and worked its way up, gradually introducing the other characters, motivations, and subplots. The same manner with The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring which started with a proper narration that introduces all the stories and back stories of Middle Earth.

Warcraft seemed like it did not make an effort to step back with simplicity. Instead, it jumped into complex character relationships before the audience could properly be comfortable enough with them. We felt like characters like Lothar, Khadgar and Medivh lacked character development, and were definitely not interesting enough for the audience to have sympathy for.

The character of Durotan (the good guy Orc leader), on the other hand, was the one that had the better character development, and the effects of how this orc character comes to life is amazing. Unfortunately the direction of where this character went is pretty much nowhere, and is something that I would consider as a missed opportunity.

The film's visual action is oftentimes moderately awesome, but did not exactly hit the spot for me. Probably because I felt that the character designs looked too overstuffed and overdesigned, that seeing them in action just looked like toys being thrown around in motion blur.

And although how colorful the visuals are, the film's dreary and over-serious emotional tone sucks out all the fun one can have with the movie.

All in all, Warcraft is a film that attempts to be legitimately magnificent but fails despite its sincerity. Ardent fans could love it, but audiences not familiar with its universe may get lost in all the jargons and all the quick turns to weird palaces and portals.
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