The peace in the realm of Azeroth is under attack when Orcs from another dimension come crashing through a doorway looking for another world to inhabit after learning theirs is falling apart.
Warcraft is a perfect example of “strike while the iron is hot.” Does anyone even play World of Warcraft anymore? Blizzard has to be commended for waiting until the technology was up to par with what they were hoping to do, but the big question is, does it even matter now?
Though the film bears a strong resemblance to 2000’s Dungeons & Dragons (another example of a long delayed release that failed to capitalize on the mainstream success of its source material), Warcraft is actually not that bad. However, a subpar script, several mediocre performances and no real enthusiasm for the project itself weigh heavy on the final product, giving viewers a less than enjoyable experience when all is said and done.
Ben Foster transforms terrible dialogue into snippy one-liners, elevating the film as Medivh, the Last Guardian of Tirisfai. Ben Schnetzer, though heavily underused, also takes what he is given and runs with it, offering up a glimpse of hope for those of us watching on with bated breath.
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for either Dominic Cooper or Ruth Negga, both of whom give a half-hearted performance, as they appear to understand the ridiculousness of the situation and refuse to play along. The same can be said for Travis Fimmel. His character Lothar, the General of the King’s army, was never fully developed as the screenwriters couldn’t decide if he was Han Solo, Aragorn or a 60/40 combination of the two. The script would take him from leader to brute to a complete jerk in a matter of seconds, creating a tri-polar scenario that left little to be desired.
The story, in a nutshell, was just completely wrong. Attempting to fit too much into the two-hour time block it was allotted, everything feels rushed and compact. The writers could have benefited from another round or two of rewrites – and a viewing of season five of Game of Thrones.
But all that takes a backseat when it comes to the CGI. A sure fire selling point for the film, Universal pulled out all the stops when it comes to the special effects. The lighting and magic is stellar, allowing the film to soar from a visual standpoint. Many of the scenes bear a strong resemblance to the video game, which should prompt a few smiles and cheers from the gamers in the audience. Others will be impressed but will undoubtedly miss the reference point.
But don’t be mistaken – the CGI doesn’t save this film. Warcraft is still a few years too late to be relevant, and marks another in a long line of video game adaptations that have failed to adequately embody the spirit and enthusiasm of the source material.