Warcraft Movie Review (4/2/2/2+2) **½ or ***
This movie is not for everyone. As a fantasy film it stakes out a particular territory so comparing it to what has come before will result in a mixed response. If you can accept the higher fantasy elements then there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had, but if your tastes fall closer to a more grounded LotR or GoT then this can become a very painful experience.
- Technical 4
From a technical standpoint there’s a lot of outstanding work put into this behind the scenes. It is a very faithful adaptation of the source material and the changes that do exist make sense for an adaptation. Fans of the series should be pleased with seeing the realization of this world. However, as beautiful as the establishing shots of Azeroth are, they do a poor job of expressing epic scale with the overuse of small enclosed sets.
- Story 2
The film is very successful at adapting the harder aspects of the Warcraft franchise, but fails in some basic storytelling elements. These sins can be forgiven depending on your expectations from the outset. It’s possible to see a great movie within this one but it slightly overshoots its world building ambitions diluting the main narrative.
- Characters 2
Much of the dialogue is uninspired and delivered in a straight forward fashion without either the serious gravitas or campy fun to make it compelling. The exception to this would be Travis Fimmel as Lothar who seemed to be the only physical actor doing something interesting with the material. The movie does manages to succeed in humanizing the fully CG Orcs but in so doing make them the more compelling side of the conflict.
- Impact 2 + 2
It is successful enough in that world building to lay the foundation for a franchise, but sequels will need a bit more care in their crafting to have staying power. The inevitable sequels will need to stand alone and avoid attempting a direct sequel in order to make it accessible to an audience that may skip this installment.
Technical: 4, Story: 2, Characters: 2, Impact: 2 (w/ +2 for fans)
Final rating: 2.5 (3 for fans of the franchise)