Warcraft: The Beginning is an epic fantasy film that released on digital download September 13, 2016. It’s based on a popular series of video games by Blizzard Entertainment. This two hour movie is directed by Duncan Jones and written by Duncan Jones and Charles Leavitt.
Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of the fantasy genre, and while I have never played the World of Warcraft video game I did play its predecessors Warcraft I, II and III.
So I can tell you that fans of the game will know that the movie creators are also huge fans of the video games – and likely the books, as well. Careful effort was taken to continuously pay homage to the fans – be it through mention of individuals or locations or via being sweeping beautiful panoramic CGI shots of famous locations within the Warcraft world.
The mythos of the Warcraft universe is constantly alluded to as well. Giving those in the know a little bit more of an experience, while someone new to the franchise may be lost.
You can also tell that writer/director Duncan Jones wanted this to be a more personal tale, as he tries to create connections and a storyline linking fathers to sons and the world the fathers will leave for them – should they succeed or fail.
Unfortunately this does not hold up. The movie has the feel of a cheap Lord of the Rings knock off, jumping from the gates at a breakneck pace to introduce as many characters as possible and desperately grasping to find any plot it can to propel it forward.
The editing in the film is painful, as no scene is given enough time to convey who a character is or allow the audience to make attachments to them.
Add to this the clunky writing that causes characters to vomit their dialogue in each line of almost every scene. For the uninitiated the movie is nearly unwatchable.
The sprawling cast and landscape – while cinematically beautiful – is confusing to follow in regards to where anything is in relation to each other.
Augment to this the major continuity issues: characters in the same sequence losing armor and weapons only to have them appear and disappear again gives you a feeling of lackluster effort.
The movie has no stakes because a non-fan will have no idea who these characters are; the time is never given to them to develop in their own right. Those who do manage to garner a share of screen time appear as little more than a series of cobbled together clichés that result in a painful and predictable mess.
To me the movie wasn’t worth the $9 I paid to see it, nor the two hours of sitting watching it. A real fan of the franchise might walk away happy, but to the general public you’re safe skipping this one.
This movie gets a very generous 1 out of 5 hairy orcs.