Warcraft The Beginning was a movie I wasn’t expecting a huge amount going into. Another video game movie adaptation, which had gone through production hell over many years and attempts and was surely doomed, as was the general consensus, long before the movie had ever released.
However, Warcraft was a pleasant surprise, with fun, epic moments, which unfortunately is often brought down by an incohesive and roughly cut plot and lacklustre characters, but is overall a fun fantasy tale which does justice to the games.
Visually, Warcraft is incredible, as we jump across the series’ realm, to historic landmarks and huge sweeping battlefields, the CGI is used to impressive effect throughout the film. But the attention to detail with each race, particularly the Orcs, helps immerse you in the world and gives real identify and personality to each race.
Speaking of the Orcs, they easily stole the film, and were ironically far more relatable then the human faction. Featuring some of the best character development and acting across the film, mainly due to the amount of screen time the faction are given to develop not only the main characters, but the faction and their culture as a whole.
While the humans on the other hand were where many of the film’s faults lie, with poor, unbelievable acting, convoluted story lines and lack of depth to many of the characters intentions and relationships.
In particular, Travis Fimmel, who played Sir Anduin Lothar and the main protagonist for the film, was incredibly lacklustre and unbelievable throughout, and this extended to Burkely Duffield, who played Sir Anduin’s son. The chemistry and acting between these two supposedly close characters, were so poor to the point that when the son dies in a rather cliché set piece (spoilers), I couldn’t have cared less, and I doubt neither will you. I was far more worried about whether the Orc characters would escape the scene alive.
Although the actors themselves can’t take all the blame, as they are never given enough time on screen to really develop as real living breathing parts of this world and more fill out desired character tropes expected in fantasy epics. And this feels partly due to the amount of cuts which appeared to have taken place.
Scenes jump erratically; characters suddenly are love interests without any development, action sequences are incoherent and it all feels due to frequent cuts rather than poor writing. In fact it almost feels like 45 minutes worth of content has been cut, in order for the film to fit into a more standard and welcoming movie length of 2 hours for a general audience.
But despite these flaws I surprisingly enjoyed my time with Warcraft: The Beginning. The massive set pieces and immense battles gave justice to the series, along with CGI which was at times breathtaking, endearing well-acted Orcs who stole the show, humour which just hits the mark, and in particular the lore of the expansive Warcraft universe is followed in close detail, something die hard Warcraft fans are sure to appreciate. And although at times it is brought down by a roughly cut and incohesive story line, it has the potential to become the next big fantasy epic, as long as it is given the time to breathe and better create an immersive believable world.
– 3/5 Stars
*Originally written for the Adelaide University Film Society newsletter ‘Reel Buzz’*