So here comes yet another film based on a popular video game, and given that description’s notoriety for ruining or not living up to the source materials, it is worrying if Warcraft would be the next to fall into the pitfall. Apparently, it depends whether you are a fan or not.
Looking at films from a fan and a critic’s point of view is undoubtedly different. For one, a critic ignores any presence of an original source material. A film should be credited to its screenplay and direction. A fan, however, appreciates the film’s homage and respect for the original source materials, often regarded as holy and pure as the churches’ scriptures. So, for Warcraft, it is difficult to say whether it is a good movie or not, because it largely depends on which side of the fence do you face.
A fan’s point of view:
Warcraft presents a whole new fantasy world, Azeroth, to the big screen, apart from the famous Middle-Earth (Lord of the Rings) and Westeros (Game of Thrones). While the film does drop many new names and terms at a sudden go, most fans would be able to pick them up quickly while the new viewers have the visual cues to hint at them, ie. “fel” = dark magic. Fans would also appreciate the little nods to the games like this particular scene involving changing people into sheep. Obviously, this film is not gearing for an Oscar nomination, but one aimed at the large fan base from the popular video game franchise.
A critic’s point of view:
There is good CGI throughout the film. While it reminds us of the cinematic cutscenes of the video games, the intention to emulate the same vibe and energy plays out well. We can’t argue that the characters aren’t memorable just because their names are so difficult to pronounce or spell. Just look at the Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones characters. While the names are difficult to remember, you could always remember by their features. The dwarf, the king, the dragon(s). Not so much for Warcraft‘s. The plot of the story is pretty simple. Foreign invaders seek new lands to conquer. Encounters the natives, and tries to kill them. But the story tries to force so much more, with the introduction of a dark magic, and the corruption on both sides, and a love affair between two races. It just feels like there is too much going on.
Story aside, the cast is mainly made up of lesser known actors, other than Dominic Cooper (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol). While most of the cast are decent, one stood out like a sore thumb. Travis Fimmel, who portrays Lothar, has an unusual tendency to sway even though he is supposed to be a sturdy knight. It is like as if he is constantly drunk or emulating Jack Sparrow; which is basically the same.
Overall, Warcraft could be described as a blockbuster directed at fans. While this tactic is not uncommon, especially among the video game-movie genre, whatever the film lacks in critical appeal, it more than makes it up with fan service.