I’m not exactly a gamer so I don’t really know about Warcraft, just that the film is based on a video game series that my brother used to play. What got me interested to see the video game adaptation was actually the casting of Travis Fimmel as Anduin Lothar — and this is because I follow the History Channel series Vikings, where he plays King Ranar Lothbrok. So I’m reviewing the film based solely on the movie without much references to its source material.
Durotan (Toby Kebell) is an honorable orc chieftain seeking a new home for his people and his yet to be born son. Along with his horde, he travels to the world of the humans through a magical portal but finds that the power called The Fell that would see their kind through the gate is also the very power that would destroy the human world. In order to make sure this does not happen, he tries to form an alliance with the humans through their king Llane (Dominic Cooper) and their commander Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel). However, the threat that the Fell poses grows more alarming as it begins to corrupt those that wield it and soon, the very reason for the gates to open is muddled by personal motivation, greed for power and a thirst for supremacy.
First of all, let me credit this film for its exquisite graphics, effects and CGI. Director Duncan Jones’ attention to detail and commitment to the SFX aspects of this movie was very obvious and well worth the time and effort spent by the team on the movie. From Durotan’s first appearance, to the battle scenes, everything flowed so smoothly with the 2D elements of the film that made everything cohesive and in sync. The sophistication of the models and the CGI was able to convey the emotions of the characters making them more connect to the audience better.
I loved Travis Fimmel’s effortless portrayal of Anduin Lothar but I felt like I would have wanted to see him in more action scenes than the part where he had to deal with the guardian Medivh (Ben Foster), who also did a marvelous job in portraying his tortured character, by the way. While King Llane was being sold as the noble king and leader of the humans, I felt that he was missing the grit that made for a decisive leader. He pulled off the honorable part nicely enough but because he was mostly overshadowed by Lothar, there was never an opportunity for him to establish himself as a threat to the Orcs.
I don’t know but I was always worried about Durotan in this film. Toby Kebbell did an awesome job of voice acting for this gentle giant who had to sacrifice a lot in order to ensure a future for his people. Speaking of sacrifices, this film made a lot and its not beyond breaking heart to tell a story. I liked that the Orcs, although they were hulking giant warriors, were portrayed with a deep sense of honor, that even if they were completely executed electronically, audiences relate to them on some level as characters in the conflict.
In terms of the storyline, it had a lot of stories to tell. It seemed that everyone had a backstory, owing to the lengthy material already told by the video game. The film did make an attempt to touch on each one for the benefit for non fans of the video game.
Despite this however, I think the film successfully set the pace and threaded the stories together quite nicely. There were of course scenes that seemed a bit cliche but overall, it didn’t take away from impact of the film so I’m not bellyaching over that.
All in all, it was a pretty decent video game adaptation that I’m pretty sure didn’t disappoint the fans. I would’t place it on the level of Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones but it was good enough standalone for the fantasy series. It played its cards right and it was a worthy watch.