At last we have a film adaptation of a video game that I feel is truly worthy of its source material. The world of Azeroth has been brought to the big screen in this adaptation of Warcraft orcs and humans, for the uninitiated this is the original strategy game that spawned the series. The film follows the downfall of the orc race from shamanic nomads into blood thirsty savages and their initial invasion from their home world to the human lands and eventually all of Azeroth.
Before I continue I would like to address the tone of the film, there have been several people who complained that it is too serious, unlike its original source material. To them I simply roll my eyes and I wanna just say, ‘oh shut up!’ Warcraft is a world onto itself, in fact it’s several worlds, in the overall series there are funny fables, epic battles, romances, scary stories and sad tales. It has a complex history, that’s changed more than once, numerous factions and characters. Unlike something such as Star Wars whose main story follows the same people over and over again, Warcraft is ever shifting and growing, in many ways it’s like real life as the hero often dies and the villain sometimes win. But new challengers always rise up to alter the destiny of the worlds inhabitants. This is possibly why World Of Warcraft was so popular because people got to take part in these world changing wars and cataclysms and bond with people from all over our world in theirs. Now getting back to my original point, yes Warcraft was campy and fun but it evolved and became a much more serious story which is what the film shows us.
It’s a very fast paced movie and to its credit the film is never boring or dull. You jump from these amazing set pieces to visually stunning scenes and even between multiple worlds the film never slows down.This in one way is its great strength but in another it could be a weakness. I think people worried that this was going to be a dime store Lord Of The Rings, which it is not, as they tried to differentiate it by keeping the pace up, but these fantasy films need time to settle in and sometimes they need exposition. Maybe the exposition in Jor El telling Superman about his home world, or Obi Wan explaining the Force to Luke Skywalker but these little quiet moments help suck us into the fictional world. Warcraft was so fast paced that it skipped this and left people who had not played the games a little bewildered, not many people know what the Guardians role is, or of Fel magic and a little explanation could have gone a long way. One little touch I did love was the language barrier. Unlike other fantasy films they do not have everyone speaking the same language here you see a distinct shift and it’s done in a very smart way, something I feel will be under appreciated.
I cannot fault the film where the cast is as they are outstanding:
Travis Fimmel as Sir Anduin Lothar, the lead protagonist for the Alliance. It does appear that Fimmel came straight from filming Vikings, though he’s as perfect for the role of Charismatic badass Anduin Lothar so we will not be faulting him in any way.
Paula Patton as Garona – the half Orc, the film did not explain what the other half is but the fans know. She was brilliant in this and yes some changes where made but it worked to help develop her in this story. Out of everyone in the film I feel she was most under used with her outsider perspective it could have been useful to have her as the audience’s eyes and ears.
Ben Foster as Medivh, the current Guardian. I really hope the film gets a sequel so it’s shown where Medivh’s true loyalties lay. But Ben foster did an excellent job bringing the character to life, it’s calm confident almost detached view of the world versus the more emotional view of his peers combined with a power rivaled by few others, hard to play but foster pulled it off.
Ben Schnetzer as Khadgar, this magic users backstory was heavily changed but again it was to have the out of water youth for the audience to identify with.
Dominic Cooper as King Llane Wrynn, ruler of the Stormwind Kingdom. Cooper plays regal oh so well, you can tell he enjoyed dressing up in his fancy armour and swinging that sword, the man can do no wrong, whether it be the gruff preacher or the over the top Howard Stark, Cooper seems to excel in out of the world over the top roles and this is one of them.
Ruth Negga as Lady Taria Wrynn, Queen-consort of Stormwind. Negga has been popping up in more and more shows and now films and she’s never disappointing on screen, she’s every bit as regal as Dominic Cooper and this Queen is definitely no damsel in distress.
Callum Keith Rennie as Moroes, the castellan who manages Karazhan. This was hard for me to watch as I am to used to seeing him as a villian but he played his role well and helped humanise Medivh, something which was sorely needed.
Toby Kebbell as Durotan, the lead protagonist for the Horde. Durotan is a minor character in the overall story but the rewrites that the film gave help Durotan to be more developed and show how his clan would one day rise to the role it does in the future.
Robert Kazinsky as Orgrim Doomhammer who is Durotan’s best friend. He is one of the most badass orc’s in the series and the film’s portrayal of him was in my opinion very faithful though there where some changes. I hope we get to see his rise to power in another film.
Clancy Brown as Blackhand, big and scary is how I would describe this orc and it’s very accurate. Clancy Brown’s voice only added to the mix to create some real genuine fear.
Daniel Wu as Gul’dan. The Orc that started it all. Wu helped bring the villain among villains to life. As one of the most important characters in the series this was someone that I was looking forward to seeing and at no point did it disappoint. He was terrifying, bold and ruthless in fact all the things that Gul’dan needed to be. PERFECT JOB!
As special effects go I loved it. They brought the orcs to life in a way that make up could never do. The magic looked amazing and now I want a griffin… again. They brought a whole world to life thanks to modern movie magic and it’s both lush and jaw dropping at times. My eyes where treated to some great visuals while my ears where treated to the music provided by Ramin Djawadi, he also scored Game of Thrones and Pacific Rim.
Most of all this was a film that was a love letter to the fans. From the Goldshire Inn to the surprise view of the Draenei slaves this film was filled with so many easter eggs. I really can’t wait untill I get to go back and watch it again to spot them all. The film may not be perfect but it’s entertaining and it’s fun which a lot of films fail to be. I was able to sit back and escape my mundane life and enter a whole new world which few films have made me do. If you’re a long time fan you will love this and probably love Duncan Jones for bringing it to you, if not it’s still a very fun picture so go check it out.