Spoliers from the movie!!!
Let’s get this out of the way first…
First of all, I’m someone who has never played Word of Warcraft in his life. Ever. I hated the concept of subscription based games, both because when I was a kid, my parents wouldn’t allow me to play those games, as we were… Well, we weren’t that poor, but I suppose they didn’t see the point in paying for something so trivial as video games. And even now, when I have my own money to spend as an adult, I refused to pay those deadly subscription fees. Who knows, maybe their teachings seeped in.
That being said, it kind of contradicts me in saying ‘Man, I wish I would’ve played WoW at some point.’ Sure, I’m not completely blind in the Blizzard lore. My friends and I played Starcraft on occasions, and I also used to play Hearthstone often. Not to mention I still sometimes play DOTA (Not 2, but 1.) at times when I have absolutely no games to play. And, as being a lover of fantasy, I found myself spending time on the Warcraft wiki, reading each character’s stories and piecing them together chronologically in my head, to create a grand understanding of things.
So, with all that out of the way, what can I say about the movie?
Well, obviously, as video game movies go, it’s impossible to translate a video game’s story to a movie perfectly. That’s not how it works, and it will never work that way. And directors seriously need to consider that before they start making video game movies.
(cough Uwe Boll cough) And why is that? It’s because they are two completely different storytelling formats. You can’t just focus on side quests in a Lord of the Rings movie, nor you can press ‘skip cutscene’ in the middle of the Godfather intro. Movies and Games, each have their own unique format for storytelling.
Warcraft’s director Duncan Jones has seemingly grasped this better than I expected. Now this again, is coming from someone who does not have a 100% understanding of the lore, so bear with me. But it doesn’t take a genius to realize that the film’s pacing is super fast. Personally, I found this both a good choice and bad, as I would have preferred a split into two movies instead of one rushed movie, but then again, Jones doesn’t exactly butcher the story into one movie. There are a few flaws here and there like any other movie, but it’s sad to see that most of these flaws are plot holes and unexplained character actions that people who have played the game would know more about.
For example… It’s not really explained as to why Medivh suddenly turns evil. I mean sure, in the lore it says that he’s being controlled by Sargeras, but all the film shows is him popping in some green contacts, and suddenly he turns into a mix between Slimer from Ghostbusters and a White Walker from Game of Thrones. The actor’s performance isn’t bad at all though. Ben Foster does a great job between being a wise mage and a quote unquote ‘demon.’ (Do they just say he’s a demon in the games? So he’s not just possessed now, he’s literally a demon?)
The film’s graphics are a stunning masterpiece. I remember when I saw Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children when I was young, and thinking that animation and cgi could not improve beyond that. To me, that was the pinnacle of what could be accomplished. But damn does this movie prove me wrong. Motion capture for the orcs is done amazingly well, and the world of Azeroth looks so full of color and magic. Other things like magic is done beautifully as well, as we finally see some epic spellcasting by mages in the form of blue cgi light. (It’s about damn time. All I saw from Gandalf was a few flashbangs.)
So, how does this film look in general? Well, it’s not bad, but if you’re looking to start off getting into Warcraft through this film… Just don’t. Just go read some of the lore first, and THEN go watch the film. Trust me. It’ll save you a lot of fun. Personally, I still don’t think videogame movies are quite there yet, but this is another step that walks closer for directors who are willing to make videogame movies that don’t suck, and actually follow the lore.
(cough Uwe Boll cough) It’s easily the second best game-to-film adaptation I’ve seen, the first going to the Prince of Persia movie.
Now I can only hope that Ubisoft doesn’t screw the assassin’s creed film… I think that by focusing on the past and the assassin of that era would be a more safer, fun route, but it looks like they’re gonna try and integrate the Animus crap. *sigh* Good luck guys.