WARCRAFT – review

Warcraft

The movie Warcraft can not be talked about without acknowledging that yes, it is a video game. Why bring this up, well…look, I am an avid gamer and even I can admit that there has not been a good movie based on a video game. So, how does Warcraft stand up in comparison to all of its predecessors? Myself, Brad, and a few others believe that this is the best movie based on a video game to date. That is not to say that the movie is without its flaws. With that said, let’s look at the good, the bad, the viewing experience, and a touch of background. One thing to note about this review, since the source material may actually have an impact towards the viewing experience, I will be giving the movie two separate reviews (one for people who have played World of Warcraft/Warcraft the Real Time Strategy games, and for people who are not as in tune with the Warcraft universe).images-47

Background:

The thing to note about this movie as this is based more on the books from the warcraft universe. For those who do not know what Warcraft or World of Warcraft are, these are two games one being an Real Time Strategy game that included some aspects of role playing game elements like item systems and leveling up of characters. The game World of Warcraft is a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) and at its height had over 14 million unique players. This game has been the dominator of the MMORPG genre for over 10 years. Like I stated in the opening statement this movie is based on the Warcraft universe, but more so on the end of the first game and the books. The games and books were These books include: The Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden, and The Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb. If you want to check out these books I would recommend getting the book known as the Chronicles of War, as this collection book contains both stories along with one of the direction the sequels could potentially lead to in the forms of the book The Tides of Darkness by Aaron Rosenberg. These books layout a lot of the story that goes on in the movie. The movie does make alterations to the story, but does not change the overall picture of the stories, which is a major plus for this reviewer.

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The Good:

The visuals: My god this was a beautiful film. The use of CG made all of the spells look badass and the scenery was stellar. The movie does an exceptional job of allowing the world to look awesome, but at the same allowing the gamers who have put the hours into the game to get the well known locations in the game (at least for the alliance players). There are three main locations for the film: Stormwind, the Dark Portal (in the blasted lands), and Karazhan. Karazhan and Stormwind are beautiful structures that each have their own unique flavor of creative touch. The magic that surrounded Karazhan was a nice touch to emphasize the power that resided in this place. Stormwind looked exactly like it does in the game World of Warcraft to the point where I could point out the different districts, so a plus for anyone who has played the game.images-48

The combat: I enjoyed the combat in the movie, whether it was one on one combat or the armies of Stormwind v. the Horde. The incorporation of magic, I feel, tends to detract from the combat as it normally steals the show in some fantasy films. And while the visuals made it look badass, I think the use of magic in this film enhanced the battles rather than making the warriors look weak. My fight of the film has to be the battle between Durotan v. Guldan for me. Durotan the powerful warrior stands up to his leader in a ritual fight to the death in which the use of magic and brute force is pretty nicely used to its fullest.images-45

The Bad:

The character development: One thing that hurts anyone who doesn’t know the stories behind many of the characters that are seen in this film is that we are not given enough character to work with and establish a connection with throughout the film. The movie assumes that you already know the characters and throws them into the mix immediately. The only exceptions that I could see were Guldan, Garona Halforcen, King Llane, Lothar(ish), and Medivh. Lothar and Khadgar show little development in the story. Lothar does this towards the end of the film, but that means we only know a little bit about the character and his influences and defining traits for a majority of the film. Characters like Draka (Durotan’s  wife) are not even named in this film including one of the most prolific characters in the Warcraft universe, Grommash Hellscream. For those who do not know who I am talking about he was the one who almost killed Anduin Lothar’s son with the one-sided battle axe that is named Gorehowl. imgres-45

The assumptions: The other major problem with this movie is that the movie assumes that we have taken the time to do our homework and read all of the lore behind the games to know many things. Many of the things like the title of the Guardian are just name dropped in the movie, while given no context. This along with first example is a big detriment for the common viewer as it leads to many questions that have no answers. The confusion that I could see on a couple of people clearly made it recognized as people who had no idea what was going on in the film. The movie takes a good portion of time to identify certain aspects, but tries to cover a large portion stories in the restrictive 2 hours and 3 minute run time. imgres-44

Overall I think that this will be a visual joy to the casual viewing experience. I think that the bad in this case does hurt the movies ratings as it will leave many a viewer in a world of confusion. The players of Blizzard Entertainment’s games will be able to easily identify many of the characters and have an enjoyable watching experience. Those who have no prior experience with the film will enjoy combat and the visuals, while the gamers may enjoy seeing some of their favorite characters brought to life on the silver screen. It is evident that Blizzard did have their hand in this project as the story plays out like some of the books: a lot of development of the world that leads to the big moments to make them even greater. imgres-43

With all that said for the common viewer I rank this movie a 6-7 out of 10. The visuals will carry the viewer along with the fight scenes will allow the common viewer to get a good experience out of it. The two things listed in the bad section are a detriment to the film in my opinion for those who don’t have prior experiences with the characters and lore. imgres-46

For the gamers this is a solid 8 out of 10. This movie was made for the fans and it clearly shows as the experience made me relive some of my favorite experiences playing Blizzard Entertainments games and had me getting the nostalgia bug in all of the good ways.

This has been Alex Hummel from Watts Up Reviews and remember FOR THE ALLIANCE!!!

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