Warcraft is one of 2016’s biggest blockbusters however it’s less blockbuster and more lacklustre (been saving that one for a while). Brilliant CGI and character models can’t outweigh how dull this film actually is, from start to finish I just wanted this film to end and this is from someone who was excited for Warcraft.
The film is directed by Duncan Jones, David Bowie’s son, famous for directing things such as “Moon” and “Source code”. It stars Travis Fimmel, Dominic cooper and Paula Patton along with a whole host of other B/C list actors. This film before I say anything else is purely aimed at Warcraft fans, it does little to nothing to help newcomers into the already incredibly lengthy universe Blizzard have created. For the uninitiated this film will be a long slog and it’s not even something that you could quickly read up on before seeing. It’s obvious the film was aiming at the people who are already interested in the universe or it would have tried a lot harder to get people to come and see it.
The film is about Orcs and Humans fighting each other. The Orcs are annoyed because there world got destroyed and the humans are just trying to get there world back after the Orcs travel through a portal to get to “Stormwind”, a human populated land. Mixed in with this is some poor Orc characterisation, a boring sub-plot about a “guardian” and a bit of family troubles for a couple of Orcs and Humans. The film is basically just all building up to a big battle at the end. As a whole the plot was just dull, I never cared about any of the characters and there was never a moment that I was on the edge of my seat. At one point (slight spoiler but I won’t mention names) there’s a relatively big character that dies and I didn’t care at all that they had died, it had little to no impact on me. For me I just wanted the film to end and there was not really any plot point that I was particularly fussed about. I couldn’t even pick a bit in the plot that stood out to me, it all just blends into one big boring mess. Admittedly I’m not a huge Warcraft fan, I’ve played my fair share of the game and I know bits and pieces about the lore but I’m no expert. But what I do know is the varying different races and characters there are in the Warcraft universe. This film neglects that massively, yes we see a couple of dwarves and one dark elf, but there’s so many other races and creatures that could have been included in this first film. I imagine the variation would have come in a sequel, however due to the money it took in over the weekend I doubt that will happen. The same goes for locations, we don’t really visit any locations you see in the game, there’s a couple but if there had been more game locations and less empty fields and caverns there may have been more weight to the film. There is very little substance to the films plot which makes it hard for you to like or dislike any of the characters that are there, if the film was more than just a battle sequence or two then maybe there could have been some interesting character development, or just some form of development. The plot just ends up disappointing you, there is a huge battle sequence (Which because I cared about none of the characters at all, meant nothing to me) and at the end one final showdown. These like the rest of the film are just a huge disappointment and the resolution just seemed forced. Maybe had the film created an interesting world or interesting characters then at least some of the scenes may have impacted me and that last battle sequence could have felt as epic as it should have been.
This film didn’t really have any big stars in it which is something that I felt could have possibly helped the film do better at the box office. If say Chris Evans was in it or some other popular star, it may have attracted at least some viewers that weren’t already Warcraft fans. It’s also hard for me to critique actors that I’ve never seen act before, Dominic cooper is really the only actor I’ve seen do anything. The cast as a whole were okay, they were wooden at times (Dominic cooper especially was a large culprit of being wooden) but none of them stood out as being particularly either good or awful. Some of the smaller characters lines came across as cheesy and out of place, especially some battle shouts but they were so inconsequential that it was just annoying rather than a big issue. To summarise none of the actors played there parts particularly well, id not expect any Oscar nominations anytime soon, however none of them stood out as being particularly abysmal.
I’ve said before that ill only pick on technical aspects if necessary and this time is no different, and while not actually a technical aspect, costume design/prop design is an issue in this film. Now obviously this wont make or break the film and its not something huge but its something that really bugged me. This is supposed to be taking place during a large scale all out war, there’s going to be blood, dirt, scratches and all sorts of things on the Humans armour. So why is it throughout the entire film that everyone’s armour is completely clean without a single smudge of dirt or blood on it. Even in the final huge battle, in which at time blood is literally sprayed on the screen, everyone’s armour is shiny clean. It’s so random and it means that your taken out of the film because there’s no feeling like this war is actually causing any damage or injuring anyone. As well as that all the props look fake, the swords look like they have no weight to them, the crowns clearly look like painted plastic and the armour looks cheap and nasty not the superior metal its supposed to be.The designers have clearly tried to get them as realistic to their game counterparts but in doing so they’ve made them look cartoony and out of place with the dark themes present in the film.
There is one technical aspect that this film excels in, much alike Jungle book the CGI in this film is superb. The world created and the models for the Orcs look brilliant with each little hair being animated in close ups, the Orcs genuinely look real. There’s no awkward interaction between Humans and Orcs either you cant tell that there not actually speaking to anything in the studio (something that was blatantly obvious in Alice through the looking glass) this is something I praise Duncan Jones for and his use of CGI in his films is always excellent. The backdrops for the most part also look great with an insane level of detail being used for nearly every bit of CGI in the film, its a quality I wasn’t really expecting from a film that for the most part Isn’t very good. The magic was very smooth and seamless and there were times when say a mage was using a spell and it looked really realistic, its just a shame that the majority of the reasons magic was being used was incredibly dull.
For some reason I decided too see in this film in 3D, (it was more of a time issue than a choice) I will make sure not to do this again. The only 3D films I’ve seen in the past couple of years have been Force Awakens and now this, Force Awakens was obviously a great film and while the 3D did little it didn’t really affect my viewing experience (although it was my 3rd time seeing it at that point).With Warcraft it really got on my nerves, it made the pretty backdrops look blurry when they weren’t, it created double images on few occasions and made the entire film for much more dark and gloomy than it should have been. Now I understand that these are common issues with 3D but this film had no benefits to it at all, yes on the odd occasion there was a bit of depth to the film, but unless your really going all out with 3D then it just ruins what was good about the film.
Warcraft had potential however this film was nothing but a boring slog for 2 hours of meaningless plot and uninteresting character development. If it wasn’t for the CGI being very impressive this would have got 1 star if a sequel to this is made it would need to improve in many areas. As it stands this continues to be another terrible video game movie adding to a already very long list.
Written by Dawson Roberts
Release Date- 30th May 2016
Written By- Charles Leavitt, Duncan Jones
Directed By-Duncan Jones