Warcraft – Movie Review

WarcraftWarcraft – PG-13
Release Date: Fri 10 Jun 2016

Warcraft is a high fantasy movie based on the popular video game franchise, particularly the story from the original game. As there homeland is dying, a nation of orcs uses a magical portal to enter the land near a human kingdom where they plan to steal its people to fuel a dark magic called the Fell.

The motion capture and CG orcs look great on screen and blend well with their human counterparts. The setting around them does not fare as well, usually some composite of computer generated nature and very limited sets. The human city doesn’t feel lived in – it feels like each street and room was built for the handful of conversations we see there. Paula Patton’s half-orc character Garona splits the difference and is essentially painted green with prosthetic mini-tusks.

The story is where everything falls apart. There are a legion of characters with no clear central figure to follow. The eventual story seems to be best suited to one that follows Garona as she straddles both the orc and human world, but there’s no one to ask questions on behalf of the audience. This leads to very little in terms of caring for the characters. Sometimes they say something funny, but there’s never enough development given to any of them to make their survival or betrayal carry much impact.

The movie also ends in a strange place where it feels only half resolved. Perhaps we’re supposed to be left wanting a sequel to see how the final positions of the characters effect the future since nothing is more than temporarily resolved at the end. Again, without characters to care about I barely stayed invested long enough to see the credits roll on Warcraft. I have no curiosity about another chapter.

Parents with young children should be aware that the most violent scene happens near the end of the movie where an orc crushes a man’s neck in center frame. It seemed excessive after the tone of bloodless, nameless battles up until that point.

If you must see Warcraft, I’d wait to rent it. I don’t recommend it.

Matthew and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car:


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