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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Movie Review- Warcraft

And this is why I don't play MMORPGs. I've got to watch my figure.


Intro

Some properties in entertainment have been around for so long and are so huge, that it's pretty much too late for me to venture into their massive mythologies. I just don't have the time. Sure, I would love to start up on shows like Supernatural (11 plus seasons) and Doctor Who (decades of movies and episodes), but I would have to put aside too many other things to do so. Those two are not like say The Simpsons (27 seasons so far), where you can pick up at virtually any time. For me, video games are the same way. With some game series' you can jump in wherever you want (Grand Theft Auto), but others have a level of connected detail that loses its impact if you split them up and only focus on one (Warcraft). In short, I have never played a single entry in the immensely popular Warcraft series. I've done an idiot's guide recap on the subject, but that's about all.


Warcraft

As an outsider who has seen the Warcraft film, I must say that it is much better than I had ever expected it to be. The trailers only showed me that it was a giant battle film full of computer effects and Lord of the Rings knockoffs. Both of those observations are somewhat true, however there's much more to this movie than that. I mean technically everything nowadays that has to do with magical worlds of Orcs and kingdoms of men, probably has been inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's famous works to a point. Regardless, this picture mostly works for me. I can only imagine how much more it works for the long term fans. There are plenty of references to the games with the characters, the costumes, and the level of detail in everything. Thank God that Duncan Jones (Moon) got to helm this instead of that imitator of a director who makes lackluster big screen videogame adaptations, Uwe Boll (Alone in the Dark, BloodRayne, House of the Dead, In the Name of the King). Boll's pissed so many people off, that when he requested to do Warcraft, the door was metaphorically slammed in his face immediately (check out his F.U. to Hollywood on YouTube). The story keeps things simple, but in its simplicity you get to venture around to multiple perspectives so that nothing's ever one-sided. I also appreciated how when something predictable was about to happen, that it didn't. The visuals fit perfectly in their abundance of computer effects to establish that this is based in a fantasy world. The action is top-notch with crashing sound effects that up the brutality factor with each blow.

There are some character elements that reminded me of LOTR: The Two Towers, and that's a good thing. The trailers also made me think that the dialogue might be cheesy. Strangely enough, it was the opposite. Nothing said ever came off to me as cliche or pointless like it did in The Last Airbender film. Every actor takes their role seriously, which sells the story even better. Travis Fimmel from the show Vikings, plays a slightly calmer version of that role as the film's main human protagonist. He's funny, quirky, and just the right amount of bad ass to keep things going. Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) as the main Orc protagonist, is also effective as a sympathetic warrior torn between right and wrong. My only wish is that we could have spent more time with him. In the middle (literally), is the half Orc/Human played by Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol). While having a Zoe Saldana (Guardians of the Galaxy) paint job and as the only Orc that's free from being motion-captured, she stands on her own and has a believable amount of sexual tension with Fimmel. Even at first glance, I was ready to laugh at Ben Foster (30 Days of Night) as an all powerful wizard, until he spoke. Amongst his powers and decent dialogue is an interesting character. Aside from Dominic Cooper (Preacher) who seemed to have a constant look of confusion on his face, all of the other actors of note kept me interested. Props to Daniel Wu (Into the Badlands), Clancy Brown (The Flash), Ben Schnetzer (The Book Thief), Ruth Negga (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and Glenn Close (101 Dalmations), for making their characters shine.


The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, of Warcraft


The Good- The killing off of main characters and an open ending that doesn't tie everything up into a happy Hollywood bow, is refreshing to see. And every time someone gets their life force drained, it upped the creepy factor for me.

The Bad- Warcraft's two hour run time with credits, is too short to fairly establish its many personalities. It may be fine to a gamer who already knows these people, but not to a serious filmgoer like myself. They're spread a little thin.

The Ugly- Still not good enough to make me go back and play the games. It's too late. Get over it.


Final Thoughts


Warcraft is a fun movie with awesome visuals, cool characters, and tons of action. It's a little too dark for anyone under ten years old, but to all else, enjoy! If I can have fun with this without having played the games, then you should be able to as well. I think that I even liked it better than that final Hobbit film. That's not saying much though, that one didn't know when to quit. This one left me wanting more. Isn't it awesome when you can cram over a decade's worth of gaming history into a film series? I definitely have time for that.
Rating- 7 out of 10

Warcraft: The Beginning (2016)


"Warcraft" (original title)

PG-13  |   123 min   |  Action, Adventure, Fantasy  |   10 June 2016 (USA)  


The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people, and their home.

Director: Duncan Jones

Writers: Duncan Jones (screenplay), Charles Leavitt (screenplay)

Stars: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster

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