Warcraft is a well known game series from Blizzard which pits a number of magical beings together with a core clash between the Humans and the Orcs. Things start off with the Orcs leaving a dying world through use of Fel which is a magic that drains life in order to be summoned. It's with this that only a limited amount of Orcs are able to move through to this lush new world and begin to conquer it. This immediately creates a confrontation with the creatures that hold the land and the humans take it upon themselves to drive the enemy forces back. It's actually quite a larger roster of characters and despite having a longer run time I still felt that more development was need to balance such a vast cast. That aside I'm going to narrow it down a bit by faction to try and keep the general review organized.
On the Orcs we have key players such as Durotan (Toby Kebbell) the lead protagonist attempting to help his people survive through meetings, Garona (Paula Patton) a half breed Orc which has places with both sides in this conflict and Gul'Dan (Daniel Wu) which is the dark shaman running the Orc assault. The shaman is the primary atnagonist, but there's a bit more to this conflict and many diverging storylines. On the Human side we have Lothar (Travis Fimmel) the Human Commander/lead character, his brother in law the King Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper) along with their two mages the Guardian of Azeroth Medivh (Ben Foster) and young mage Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer).
The two sides have many clashes and areas of conflict as events take place and conflict erupts. There was a bit too much going on at times where some plot lines collapse, but despite juggling this all it was a cohesive narrative. They also went a bit drastic in direction of characters which wasn't something I want cheering for a bit more happy of tale, but appreciated as it wasn't just a heroic tale.
The acting was great from all sides and they actually went it well making these CGI monsters come to life. Another aspect I had big worries about going in was the CGI as the trailers weren't great at times, but I felt for the most part it was top notch. Despite the hundreds of units fighting at once or the massive far reaching cities it was a smooth ride and one of wonder.
For Warcraft players I feel they're going to love all the references and seeing these game regions on the big screen. I did have some small issues with CGI portions as a couple felt jagged in look, but in comparison to the overall film these were really minor. The cinematography was also nice in this one showing off a massive world with so much scale in conflict, yet just personal enough when it mattered.
I really wanted some more quiet areas between key players and maybe extension of the story might have been better. The 3D was also decent for the film being more noticeable at the start, yet that feeling of 3D wonder did get lost in the later scenes as there was just so much going on it's difficult to mentally render the extra depth in the scenes.
Despite getting a bit bored towards the end of the film as I felt the story concluded far before the film. I do somewhat wish it would have been longer to include some better character development and allow for some more intimate scenes between key players to build who they are.
I was pleasantly surprised with the film as I went in with low expectations and got a solid adventure through the mystical world of Azeroth and could see there was care in the development of the locations. Despite having some minor complaints here and there it did tell a cohesive story with characters you cared about.
I was surprised with some of the direction in the film as they went out and did something with many of the key players that I wouldn't have predicted. This is bold and appreciated in the narrative, I'm also fine with them doing some sequel setup as there are surely more tales to tell for Warcraft.
Warcraft Review at Theater with Digital 3D Viewing
Screening Provided by NBC Universal