Warcraft: The Beginning FILM REVIEW

Warcraft: The Beginning FILM REVIEW

0 comments 📅28 May 2016, 05:42

Warcraft: The Beginning FILM REVIEW


stars 3

Release: 30 May 2016
From: Legendary Pictures
Certificate: 12A
Director: Duncan Jones
Starring: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Toby Kebbell, Daniel Wu, Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Ben Foster, Ben Schetzner.

Whether onscreen or in games, Orcs and humans have been at odds with each other for centuries. It’s been the subject matter for The Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit and now the fantasy epic Warcraft: The Beginning. There is a clear line between good and evil in the first two, but in Duncan Jones’s adaptation of the hit videogame franchise we get to see both sides of the story for the first time.

Based on Blizzard’s first game, Warcraft: Orcs And Humans, the fantasy epic opens with the Orcs leaving their dying world. Led by Gul’dan (Daniel Wu), and his destructive Fel magic, the Orcs are able to walk straight into the human world and it doesn’t take them long to start attacking villages to make a colony of their own. On Gul’dan’s orders they begin to take prisoners to fuel the portal that will bring the rest of the Horde into Azeroth, but new father Durotan (Toby Kebbell) is sceptical whether their leader’s magic is actually their salvation.


Events quickly come to the attention of those ruling in Azeroth, and Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel), commander of Stormwind’s armed forces, and King Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper). When the pair are informed of the presence of the Orcs and their dark magic by runaway mage Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer), they seek the help of the Guardian Medivh (Ben Foster) to figure out how to stop the creatures from ransacking the country any further. Still with us? Good.

A lot of hope is riding on Warcraft: The Beginning, which was first announced to be in production in 2006. There haven’t been many good adaptations of videogames on the big screen recently, so it is understandable that stakes are high for the film. It’s a disappointment, then, that it does not fulfil these expectations in terms of its narrative, at least.

The problem with Warcraft: The Beginning is that there is just too much ground to cover in its first outing. With so many characters simultaneously demanding our attention it’s difficult to focus on each of them. The film isn’t able to take the time to develop all their characters, rendering them difficult to relate to. One particular character, who really should have been important to the plot, ends up being used as a plot device rather than given any development of their own making their demise later on in the story seem utterly pointless.


It’s not all doom and gloom for the fantasy film, though. Its storytelling may have problems but its special effects, product design and motion capture technology are all on top form. ILM’s work on Warcraft: The Beginning is stunning. From the intricate design of the Orcs, to the vast landscapes of Azeroth, the film is a delectable feast for the eyes. The motion capture is awe-inspiring, and Toby Kebbell is particularly fantastic in the lead role. Of course, he’s no stranger to the mo-cap suit, since he is most famous for playing villainous ape Koba in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, and it is clear that he is a master of the trade here. The performances of Paula Patton (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) and Ben Schetzner (Pride) are also particular highlights of the film.

As the name of the film suggests there is a lot more in store for the characters in Warcraft, and given the vast world in which they inhabit this is hardly surprising. There are many possibilities for the direction in which the characters can go, and with such a vast array of races within the universe Warcraft: The Beginning does seem like it’s just the tip of the iceberg. If they could just fix the glaringly obvious issues with the narrative then maybe, just maybe, a sequel will be able to redeem the franchise.

Written by Roxy Simons



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