Warcraft: A Movie for Fans
With the release of Warcraft this past weekend the internet has been flooded with negative reviews regarding the adaptation of Blizzard’s classic game. It’s refreshing to see in a day and age where movies cave into selling what is popular and hand holds audiences to have a movie that dares to be what the series fans wanted from a movie. There needs to be credit given where credit is due. The visual effects are breathtaking and the soundtrack is top notch. With a story that is rich with lore and characters that do justice to their gaming counterparts, Warcraft is a cinematic delight.
I was intrigued by how the movie explains what “fel” magic is. For those that are not familiar, anything “fel” is demonic in nature there is always a price that needs to be paid to use its power. The fel orcs find this out first hand when they finish ambushing the humans only to have the fel ripped from their bodies by the Guardian of Tirisfal Midivh. This allows Gul’dan to be setup nicely as our antagonist. While it seems like he is working for his own will truthfully, he is just a puppet to a more terrifying evil. There is a lot to be said for a villain that also is tragic to a point. I hope in the next film they will go deeper into why Gul’dan left his shamanistic ways to become the first warlock of the orcs.
The movie does a phenomenal job at setting up characters for further development. I heard multiple people scream when you get your first glimpse of Grommash and Gorehowl on screen even though he is not named and has no lines. With a world as enriched in lore as Azeroth Duncan Jones can do things like just show a character’s face on screen and fans will instantly know who they are and what they are about. Duncan found a great way to explain why Thrall’s skin is green while tieing in how powerful fel is. We even get a Murloc in the film’s opening scenes. It would have been great if they had brought some of the most known tradechat banter into the film like someone saying while there was the shot of the streets of Stormwind Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker and outside the city you have someone say’” Did you hear Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker?” While I know full well that wasn’t going to happen that is the kind of stuff they can do with these movies.
With Gul’dan being shown as the only orc warlock in the film it would have been nice to see the horde having some people that were magic users. One of the things in orc tradition is the the clans had a shaman that helped the warchief as the the spiritual head of the clan. We are not given any insight into this aspect of the orcs and with Durotan’s son being on one of the most powerful shamans in lore where is the Frostwolf shaman? In future films I hope this is shown and explained. The climax battle between Blackhand and Lothar was slightly lacking. The buildup for how powerful Blackhand became following being infused with the fel was talked up quite a bit with Gul’dan saying he is the “most powerful of all orcs.” I wouldn’t have wanted a ten-minute fight but just a little more would have helped clinch this as one of the best scenes in the film. It is also slightly confusing that we see high elves but no gnomes in Warcraft. I figure this is an oversight but we see depictions of trolls from a book Khadgar is reading but it isn’t mentioned that gnomes even exist.
All in all, I enjoyed Warcraft and will be going to see it again. I found the story to be engaging with just the right mix of humor and heavy overtones. Warcraft boasts arguably the best visual effects in film to date and an immersive world that is full of possibility. Warcraft should be on your list of movies to go and check out in theaters, the experience in Imax 3D is a feat that I doubt could be replicated anywhere else. I would recommend watching or reading a crash course on the characters in the movie to give yourself a better understanding so you can fully enjoy what is being delivered to you on screen.
While anyone that enjoys fantasy can appreciate this film without a background of the story you may find yourself a little in the fray of it all.