Warcraft - Movie Reviews [SPOILERS]

dark_archesdark_arches Icrontian
edited June 2016 in World of Warcraft

I saw the Warcraft movie last night.

TLDR: It's not as bad as I expected it to be, but it is SEVERELY flawed. There are things I really liked and things that make it hard to take this film serious.

What I liked:

The CGI and SFX
This was something that worried me from the very beginning of this movie being announced. However, they really pulled it off in the end and it looks incredible. The motion capture is exceptional, the orcs are truly beautiful and the details they packed in are captivating. I especially loved how they crafted the hair. It moves very well and gives the orcs such life. The environments are also gorgeous and immediately recognizable. Seeing Ironforge is really exciting. The Dark Portal is particularly looming and scary. Dalaran looks great from what you get to see in the establishing shot, but unfortunately you don't get to see the city from the street level.

Lothar and Khadgar:
I was really happy with these castings. They both perform really well on screen. It's fun to watch Khadgar as a young mage, bopping around Azeroth. Lothar is serious, but provides a moderate level of humor (I attribute this to Travis Fimmel's personality, similar to his role as Ragnar in Vikings on the History channel). He really only struggles when forced to interact with his son or Garona (see below).

The orcs are wonderful. The acting from every single orc is convincing and a thrill to watch. The orc scenes are hands down my favorite part of this movie. The fight scenes are brilliantly choreographed and exciting.

The music:
It's unique to the movie, but familiar. It felt like it fit in with the universe the games have established. The score really helps to elevate some of the cheaper aspects of the film.

Easter eggs:
There are a few fun easter eggs for fans to find that gave the whole theater a few chuckles. It was a nice and they didn't disrupt the plot.

What I hated:

The editing:
This movie feels choppy as fuck. The transitions from scene to scene feel cheap. They do not feel as connected as they should and it's jarring. The movie jumps around a lot. This is due to having to explain so many things in such a short time. As a result, scenes are fairly short and leave you scratching your head a bit.

The Romance:
Just why? It's awkward, half-baked, and a major waste of screen time. No surprise I hated it.

Lothar's son:
He serves no meaningful purpose. No character development. Boring actor. Weak subplot. They kill him off as fast as he's introduced. You won't care much; I didn't.

Honestly, most of the humans in this movie feel more fake than the CGI orcs. I'm not a fan of the casting. It seems like the actors are trying to be far more royal and proper than necessary.

Lukewarm opinions:

The plot:
It's not entirely awful, but it's not great either. I intentionally tried to view this as if I had no pre-existing knowledge of the universe. For the most part, the story is clear and fairly easy to follow. Gul'dan is nutso, wants to bring orcs to Azeroth, needs fel to do it, Medivh helps, heroes need to stop him. There's just a lot of extra gunk slapped in there that distracts and could have been used to elaborate more on what actually matters. Many times you just have to accept that something is the way it is without explanation. For example: Llane calling upon The Guardian at the request of a panicked, non-credible young mage, Medivh's evil motives, Garona siding with the Alliance so easily. These are not major plot holes, you can just shrug them off, but I found myself rolling my eyes a few times.

I find the way everyone refers to Medivh as "The Guardian" over and over quite exhausting. Maybe it's simply the delivery from the actors, but it starts to feel cheesy to me.

In the beginning, Garona speaks in a somewhat broken common-tongue, that she apparently picked up from a prisoner upon entering Azeroth (I guess I'll buy that for the sake of pacing), but by mid-movie her sentence structure is perfectly human. Her vocabulary has expanded in a matter of days...it annoyed me.

The orc armor was probably the best and most accurate representation. The humans however, felt off. The designs felt true to Stormwind, but everyone was far too pristine and clean. None of the costumes for the soldiers felt "lived in." I also hated the royal aesthetic they applied to King Llane, it appeared "plasticky".



  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    Seeing it tonight with @FreshyP

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    I won't type my full review tonight because COMCASTIC IS SHITTASTIC. Short version is I was shocked at how much I enjoyed the movie. It was WAY better than I had dared hope.

  • NecroldiaNecroldia Member
    edited June 2016

    @primesuspect said:
    I won't type my full review tonight because COMCASTIC IS SHITTASTIC. Short version is I was shocked at how much I enjoyed the movie. It was WAY better than I had dared hope.

    I felt exactly the same. I wasn't expecting much based on trailers, but the final product was much better. It wasn't the CG nightmare I thought it would be.

    I do think they should have spent more time on Medivh though. There wasn't much explanation of why he helped open the portal, or even how he knew Gul'dan was on the other side. Makes me think they will ignore Sargeras and the Titans in sequels if there are any.

    Overall I really enjoyed it and look forward to sequels since that is where the story really starts to get good. Arthas anyone? :)

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    Alright, here's my review of Warcraft:

    It should be clear by now that this is not a World of Warcraft movie, so if your experience with the Warcraft universe is limited to WoW, you will be left with a few head-scratchers.

    I mentioned to a friend that the more lore you know, the more you will get out of this movie. It suffers from exactly what most people have been saying: trying to cram a massive fantasy universe with 15+ years' worth of lore into a two-hour movie is, by necessity, going to leave a LOT out. How much you enjoy the movie will depend on whether or not you care about seeing the things that were put in and the things that were left out; I think that's why we're seeing reviews all over the map. If "Lore Thing X" is important to you and it's not in the movie, you will be unhappy.

    For those who have NO familiarity with the Warcraft universe and haven't played any of the games, I would say this: Imagine if they tried to cram the entire 7 Harry Potter books into one 2-hour movie. That's basically what happened here... Or imagine if they tried to cram all the Lord of the Rings books into one movie. You get the idea.

    Warcraft lore is awesome. It's a grand fantasy epic with tremendously cool stories... THOUSANDS of stories. Hundreds of characters, tens of thousands of years of backstory, and entire universe with multiple worlds, races, religions, gods, demons, and more. Sites like Wowpedia and WoWWiki have hundreds of thousands of entries. I think it could be argued that there is no fantasy universe that has ever existed that has more written lore ascribed to it. The Warcraft universe may very well be the biggest fantasy mythos ever created by humans.

    So, by extension, when you take the tiniest sliver of that lore and try to make a two-hour movie out of it, something's gonna suffer.

    This movie is full of fanservice, though, so if you have the slightest affinity for the Warcraft universe, you will find something to be delighted about at some point.

    WARCRAFT tells the tale of the original orc invasion of Azeroth. It takes place approximately 30-40 years before the current World of Warcraft timeline, in which the first Warlock, Gul'Dan, builds the Dark Portal in order to lead his people to a new world. The orc homeworld, Draenor, is dying, and in order to save his people, he must find a new world for them. While it sounds altruistic, what he's really doing is looking for a new world to drain of life, since life energy is the source of his fel power (granted by demons from the Burning Legion). At first the orcs, a naturally war-like people, are fired up to take this new world by force... but soon some of the orcs realize that their honor (which is everything to orcs) is being besmirched by the evil life-stealing magic that they are beholden to. A faction of the orcs led by Durotan (one of the warchiefs), rises up in mutiny against Gul'Dan, but in order to withstand his massive power, they must ally with the humans, the very people they came to destroy.

    Much of that is already lost in the movie; in fact my paragraph there alone has more information than the movie gives. Why is Draenor dying? It's an entire novel's worth of story, but it is literally reduced to one single line in the movie.

    The humans must defend their homeworld from Gul'dan and his horde, but they find that they must reluctantly ally with Durotan's faction in order to do it. That's the gist of the movie.

    There is SO much missing, I can't even begin to delve into it... The other races that are such a huge part of Warcraft lore are missing entirely or have 3 seconds of total screen time. You will see some draenei for three seconds. You will see three elves. You will see a minute worth of dwarves. You will not see any trolls, tauren, or any other race (except the requisite murloc fan-service. You know there HAD to be a murloc).

    One of the things that struck me was the accuracy of the game world as depicted on screen. The geography was exactly right, the sense of place was totally nailed (again, IF you played any of the games), and maybe it says something about my devotion to the lore, but I really felt that knowing the geography of the land helped make sense of the movie many times. I could definitely understand how not knowing the geography of Azeroth would make some of the movie seem disjointed and herky-jerky like I'm seeing in the reviews. Remember, this is a world in which many people can simply teleport from one place to another and that is not unusual... so for people to appear in various places and cities in the blink of an eye is not surprising on Azeroth.

    The biggest flaw I can see is that they left out a VERY significant plot point that explains the motivations of one of the lead characters. I even heard people talking about it in the crowd after the movie... "I don't understand why _____ did _____". Of course not, because you didn't read the books or play the game. It was a major plot point that they REALLY didn't explain and which would have made a big chunk of the movie make sense. I don't know why they left it out.

    I LOVED the way they handle the awkwardness of the languages... Orcs and humans are aliens to each other so of course they cannot speak to each other. Rather than subtitle or use some other shoehorned movie tactic, they faced it head-on and the way they handled it was clever and awesome.

    The CGI is phenomenal. The orcs look more real than the humans. This is the best motion capture I've ever seen on the big screen. The magic effects are perfect as well.

    The acting wasn't nearly as bad as I had assumed it would be. There were a few hokey moments but not very much cringeyness.

    Overall I definitely enjoyed the movie. I would go see it again in the theater, and if you have ever played any Warcraft game you'll probably find something to enjoy here. If you don't like video games, fantasy, or have no interest in the Warcraft mythology, you might enjoy some parts but be very confused throughout much of the movie.

    TL;DR: Play World of Warcraft with us then go watch this.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    Adding spoiler tags to this because there will almost inevitably be spoilers in this thread.

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    The more I think about it:

    This movie has set a new bar for CG characters. Seriously. It has the best CGI I've ever seen in a movie.

  • ChoochChooch K-Pop authority™, Pho King Madison Heights, MI Icrontian

    Saw the movie. Enjoyed it.

  • ChoochChooch K-Pop authority™, Pho King Madison Heights, MI Icrontian
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI Icrontian

    Not a very popular movie I guess :D

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