“Warcraft” (2016)

Running Time: 123 minutes

Directed by Duncan Jones

Featuring: Paula Patton, Toby Kebbell, Travis Fimmel, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Clancey Brown, Daniel Wu, Ruth Negga

Durotan: I’ve led thousands of warriors into battle, but I fear being a father. Does that make me a leader, or a coward?

Its hard to know what to make of “Warcraft” the movie based off the much beloved game known throughout geek culture. The movie itself is a bit of a mess plot wise but there are a few things that make it a worthwhile film and you can see what co-writer/director Duncan Jones was striving for, albeit with very mixed results.

The plot of the film is quite simple; it is about an invasion of a world populated by humans, with the invaders being Orcs from their own dying one. Not the kind of Orcs from “The Lord of the Rings” series, these Orcs are 9 foot tall armored behemoths – all completely CGI and motion captured. They are voiced by the likes of Toby Kebbell, Clancy Brown and others, which lend them some dramatic weight, however with so many characters they get lost in the story. There is a similar problem with the human side but this is exacerbated by the fact that most of the characters have been miscast and those that haven’t are given little real screen time. The most miscast actor has to be Ben Foster as a wizard who suffers from a bad haircut and seems completely lost in this imaginary world.

Highlights of the film are the underused and thinly characterized Queen (played by Ruth Negga) and the always exciting to watch Travis Fimmel (from the television series “Vikings”) who could have been given more to do and maybe steer the plot a bit more.

One thing the film does have as opposed to many other blockbusters are real stakes and these are shown through the deaths of some major characters which I found a relief in todays movies primed for their sequels. If there is a sequel, which is up in the air at the time of writing, new characters will need to be introduced to replace the fallen in this story.

There has been a trend in the past few years for the major studios to hire directors that have come off indie hits, like Duncan Jones who had only directed “Moon” (2012) which received favourable reviews, and hand them a massively budgeted event film. In this case they may have given him too much control as he re-wrote the script to give the Orcs as much screen time as the humans. This may have been an error as keeping the Orcs a little bit more mysterious may have served the story more.

I would recommend this film for fans only and for the rest I would wait for a home release.


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