“Warcraft”

LOUISA:  3 STARS  MATT: 3.5 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

I’m a bad nerd because not only have I never played the Warcraft video game on which this film is based, I don’t know much about it at all except for what was presented in this movie. I can’t tell all of you die-hard gamers whether or not “Warcraft” follows the story of the game but I can tell you that I was completely engaged in and thoroughly entertained by the movie. This is proof that you don’t need to have any background gaming experience to follow along with the plot.

I think critics who hated this movie just have a bone to pick simply because it’s based on a popular game — but I can tell you that it’s not bad and is actually quite enjoyable (all of this is coming from a person who absolutely detests fantasy films like “The Lord of the Rings,” and “Warcraft” is strikingly similar to the Tolkien world)!

The film is heavy on CGI animation as expected. Surprisingly, it’s not at all distracting. The animation is lifelike, nearly flawless, and the world that’s created looks and feels authentic. The epic scale battle scenes appear larger than life because they are edited in a way where it is easy to tell what is going on. Everything is well crafted, which makes it a cut above the usual video game film adaptations. The film is comfortable (and consistent) in its own mythology. There are orcs and elves and dwarves and wizards, all confidently co-existing in the human realm. As such, nothing ever feels silly.

The dramatic elements work just as well as the lively fantasy action sequences. Another huge plus is the personal, character-driven story. The voice actors are talented (standouts are Anna Galvin as Draka and Toby Kebbell as Durotan) and are boosted by surprisingly credible performances from Ben Foster (Medivh), Travis Fimmel (Anduin Lothar), Dominic Cooper (King Llane Wrynn), and yes, even Paula Patton (perfectly cast as the slightly dumb, clueless and annoying Garona).

There is plenty here for the casual moviegoer to delight in, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the film. I recommend this movie to anyone looking to escape to a fully realized fantasy environment for a couple of hours.

MATT SAYS:

“Warcraft” is an enjoyable romp through a fantasy world filled with humans, orcs, dwarves, elves, mages, and other mystical creatures. I am surprised to report that it is one of my favorite big summer movies of 2016 (so far) and is a good choice for fans of action and fantasy.

Knowing virtually nothing about the video game (other than what I learned from this classic South Park episode), I went into the movie not knowing exactly what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. Lothar (Travis Fimmel) is a human warrior charged with defending his realm of Azeroth. Durotan (Toby Kebbell) is an orc chieftan who has seen his home world destroyed, and now seeks a new home for his people. These worlds collide when the orcs use a magical portal to travel to Azeroth and seek to conquer and colonize the human land.

For a movie that relies so heavily on a mix of CGI and live action, I thought it looks great. The orcs are lifelike (although less so the giant wolves which they ride), and their interaction with human and other characters believable. This is a fully-rendered world that has a definite sense of space and spacial relation; even a newcomer to this subject is able to readily understand what is happening and where it is in relation to the other on-screen events.

The story itself is surprisingly compelling. The characters have motivations that are instantly relatable and sympathetic; I cared about them and what was happening. At a running time just over two hours, the length felt right for the subject. While it ended in the right place, I was left wanting more. I hope it does well enough at the box office that we get the sequel it’s so clearly being set up for.

 

4 thoughts on ““Warcraft””

  1. I’m in perfect agreement with you guys. This was the best (non-Marvel) action movie of year by far. I don’t get why people decided to crap all over this movie.

    Louisa, how in the world can you detest LOTR????

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      1. Not really, it’s just not my thing. I really, really love animation (that’s why I’m so tough on animated movies) and science fiction. Matt is big on horror and he also enjoys the fantasy genre. That’s why “Warcraft” was a success — I enjoyed it despite its genre. Glad to hear you liked it too!

        Like

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