Friday, June 10, 2016

Warcraft - Review

   The Video Game movie is such a rare occurrence that a GOOD video game movie is almost non-existent. But with the release of Warcraft, the potential is there for video games to break through to Hollywood in a big way. The video game renaissance has to begin somewhere and maybe it will start here, in Azeroth.

   The home world of the orcs is dying and the shaman, Gul’dan (Daniel Wu), uses dark magic to open a portal to the human world of Azeroth. With the orc clans organized into a conquering army known as the Horde, Gul’dan looks to capture the human world. On the other side, King Llane (Dominic Cooper), the warrior Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel), and the wizard Medivh (Ben Foster) are uniting to take on this hulking threat. As the two races collide, leaders from each side begin to question if war is the only solution.

   When condensing a sprawling mythology into two hours, things can get slightly wordy and complicated at times, certainly something Warcraft falls victim to. Regardless, the story that is created still remains at least half good. That half falls upon the orcs, which ultimately make up most of what the film does well, and they’re refuge from their dying world. The human aspect is severely lacking when compared and quite unmemorable. It doesn’t help when the human characters lack any emotional depth.

   Speaking of characters, I feel there is really only one that stood out and that’s Toby Kebbell performance as Durotan. As a character, Durotan is the only one to truly get much to do throughout the story. With actual emotional motivation and clear objectives combined with a stellar motion capture performance from Kebbell (who dons the suit once again after his brilliant performance in 2014’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Durotan stands head and shoulders above any other character.

   None of the other characters are noteworthy and if they are it’s not for good reasons. Ben Foster, while a good actor, is terribly miscast as the supposedly wise and powerful, often over the top, wizard. Travis Fimmel is serviceable enough with what he’s given and the same applies to Paula Patton. They just aren’t memorable enough to really stand out as good performances.

   If nothing else Warcraft is an enjoyable film to look at. The CGI, while off once or twice, and gorgeous motion capture work together wonderfully to help make Azeroth a reality. The director, Duncan Jones, has really crafted a beautiful world for these stories to take place in. And while Jones will inevitably get criticized for the movie’s problems, I find his direction to be one of the better aspects. The task he was given wasn’t easy and the groundwork that he has done in building this world is a great stepping-stone to something more. The potential he has as a director is there, as evidenced by the brilliance of his other films, this was perhaps just a little too much all at once.

Overall, Warcraft is missed potential and ultimately is not going to be the start of the video game takeover of Hollywood. It’s relatively average all around with a few stand out pieces in Toby Kebbell and Duncan Jones. The world itself is crafted tremendously well and the action, when on screen, is certainly fun to watch. Warcraft has a good amount of problems but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable for what is there; a fantasy epic that may be bogged down with too many minute details for the first film out of the gate. (5.5/10)

So what did you think of Warcraft? Have you seen it and what's your favorite video game movie? Subscribe, share, comment below, and always remember to return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight.

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