by Adam Sibille
I took the family out to see the new movie, Warcraft, on opening night. I expected to enjoy the movie since I am a Warcraft fan, but what I didn’t expect was that my wife and daughter would as well. When I say my wife is not a fan of the Warcraft universe, understand that she despises the game so much that it is not allowed to be played in our home. Now when I say I was surprised she enjoyed it, I feel you understand why I was so shocked. Warcraft is a movie not only for the diehard gamer, but also for anyone wanting to enjoy an action packed, absolutely beautiful movie. With that being said, let’s dive down into some details.
Warcraft is a universe created by Blizzard Entertainment that has been a phenomenon in the gaming world. The movie takes place around the time of Warcraft I and Warcraft II when the orcs first come into the land of Azeroth and encounter humans. The orcs are led by Gul’dan, a warlock that steals life and converts it into magic called the fel. Gul’dan can then use the fel to twist and corrupt his fellow orcs, turning them into savage killers. Gul’dan is the stuff of nightmares and I feel that the CGI team did an amazing job with his appearance. He’s twisted and completely corrupted by the fel, much like a drug addict. Gul’dan’s primary purpose is to lead the orcish army into Azeroth by using The Dark Portal, which is fueled by the lives of the Draenei. The Draenei are another race that lives in the Orcish home world, Draenor, but for the sake of the movie their backstory is irrelevant. Gul’dan conjures his spell and in one motion, opens the dark portal at the expense of the Draenei captives.
At first glance, it appears that the orcs are a mindless horde of savages hell-bent on conquering lands and slaughtering the innocents. Around the time the audience passes judgment on our green monstrosities, queue Durotan, Draka, and Orgrim. Durotan is the leader of the Frostwolf Clan and is not completely sold on Gul’dan’s plan, but with the upcoming birth of his child, has no choice but to cross the Dark Portal into Azeroth. Once the first wave of Orcs has crossed into Azeroth, the real story begins.
So now that we have a basic understanding of the plot, let’s discuss some of the aspects of the movie. First off, I knew this was a video game moving coming into the theatre and I was quite a bit nervous considering some of the reviews that Warcraft had received from critics. I honestly expected the movie to be mediocre at best and stray from the lore all Warcraft players love, crushing any chance at a second movie. I have never been so wrong about a movie in the 36 years of my life. The orcs, who were all CGI, actually looked like living beings and they moved without the usual CGI weirdness. The minor details in the environment and from the orc encampment to the orc armor was absolutely perfect and what I expect from Blizzard. I examined each individual weapon, hut, and environmental detail and I couldn’t find one thing out of place. The orc hair, teeth, and muscular detail looked amazing and it was at this moment I knew the critics were wrong. Visually, this movie was a masterpiece unlike anything I have ever seen before.
Warcraft quickly changes scenes after the orcs cross over and we switch to our first look at the humans. Lothar, played by Travis Fimmel from Vikings, is introduced discussing business with the Dwarves of Ironforge. While we get some laughs in this scene as Lothar plays with a boomstick, I noticed that I could immediately identify where this scene took place from their surroundings. Once again, a credit to the thoroughness that Blizzard has in every aspect of their work. The dwarves looked like they were pulled straight from the World of Warcraft cinematic trailer which is quite an accomplishment. In this scene, we see Lothar make his way to Stormwind, the capital city of the human race. When I say that Stormwind is an exact replica of how it is laid out in the game, I mean an exact replica. We see Lothar fly into Stormwind on his gryphon to meet with King Llane regarding the orc invasion and we get to take a look at the human city for the first time.
There were some things in the movie, however, that I feel anyone not familiar with what was going on may have been confused. When we are introduced to the humans, there is a lot of switching between cities which may be confusing to anyone not familiar with the layout of the Azeroth continents. I don’t particularly believe that is cause for concern since the other cities don’t play an important role in the story thus far, but it may be for some individuals. The only other thing that I believe may throw off movie goers is where the story starts. As previously stated, the orc race is coming through the Dark Portal into Azeroth because their land is dying. This is the only backstory we get on the orcs and while I feel that if the movie would have started off earlier, it would have been four to five hours long. If anyone is looking for more backstory on why the orcs are attacking the humans, they can simply read The Rise of the Horde by Christie Golden. Other than these few things, I don’t believe the movie is as bad as critics say it is.
I’m not going to go any further into the story of the movie because I feel that anyone seeing the movie needs to pass their own judgement. I am a huge fan of the Warcraft universe, so I went into the movie with high expectations, but deep down inside I feared I would be disappointed. Let’s be honest, video game movies usually flop and I was scared this movie would as well. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and so did my family.
While there are some scary scenes with Gul’dan and even some of the orcs being extremely brutal in combat, I feel that anyone around the age of 13 can handle the movie and follow the storyline. My son who is 8 also attended the movie but quickly became bored due to the story building in the first quarter of the movie.
If I had to rate the movie on a scale, I would give the movie a 9/10 simply for the fact that Warcraft stays true to its lore and the absolute detail that went into the production. If you’re an avid Warcraft fan, then this movie is a must-see. While you’re at it, bring a family member or friend who’s not familiar with Warcraft as well so they can see what it’s like in our world.
I look forward to Warcraft 2 and I hope to see you in the movies!