Review: Warcraft (the movie)

Warcraft is not a good movie.

Warcraft feels like paint-by-numbers film making that forgot the ‘add soul’ step. It is Transformers without Bumblebee, or Age of Ultron without James Spader – and yeah, even those aren’t very good movies to begin with.

I’ve been playing Warcraft games since the 90s. I cut my teeth on Warcraft 3, then spent countless hours and days lost in World of Warcraft. I am the person most likely to appreciate this movie.

And even I know it was bad.

One of the most irking problems was that the story told in Warcraft is so grandiose as to be absurd. The stakes open so high – the extinction of humanity at the hands of the bloodthirsty Horde – that you wonder why you should even care to begin with. Attempts were made at staking out smaller plotlines, character arcs like Lothar and Callan, or Lothar and Garona, or even Khadgar and, well, everyone, but each fell flat in turn.

Anduin Lothbrok. I mean, Ragnar Lothar. I mean...Travis Fimmel in the Warcraft movie playing the same dude as in Vikings but with nicer armor
Anduin Lothbrok. I mean, Ragnar Lothar. I mean…Travis Fimmel in the Warcraft movie playing the same dude as in Vikings but with nicer armor

The CGI was not nearly as disappointing as I thought it would be – in many cases, the CGI orcs like Durotan and Black Hand felt more real than their human (or human-in-makeup) counterparts. Garona, in particular, was disappointing throughout the movie – mainly because those fake little tusks she wore really looked like something I’d get my kid to wear for Halloween.

And there were certainly cool moments in the movie. The construction of the Dark Portal was great, the fel-magic as shown in the film was amazing (of particular note: Gul’dan snacking on the life force of a human in one scene), and Lothar fighting was entertaining.

However, Warcraft was still a bad movie. My wife, who is an even bigger Warcraft nerd than I am, called the movie ‘boring’ as we left the theater, though she (and I) remain interested in seeing another Warcraft movie in the future – though perhaps one with a slightly better story to tell. Despite this, and many, many other negative to mediocre reviews out there, Warcraft recently became the most successful video game movie of all time, passing the mark previously set by Prince of Persia. So, there’s hope that there might be another, better Warcraft movie in the future.