I grew up playing Warcraft 1-3 and they’re definitely games I return to and enjoy time and time again, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Warcraft: The Beginning. Would it be another failed game to movie attempt or would it do at least a bit of justice to the rich Warcraft story?
I think Duncan Jones’ has done a pretty great job of recreating the Warcraft world. At times it felt like I was back at my computer enjoying a cut scene and getting ready for the battle ahead. Aerial shots of different groups fighting across a landscape really did look like you could be mid-game, watching the carnage of four players battling it out for victory.
I really enjoyed the magic elements of Warcraft. From the soul sucking powers and glowing green eyes of Gul’dan (Daniel Wu) to the blue shields and powers of the Guardian Medivh (Ben Foster) and the Wizard Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer) , it all feels suitably grand and slightly over the top (in the best way). I also have no complaints character-wise! King Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper) is an inspiring and admirable leader who is always the first to charge into battle and ready to make any personal sacrifice for the good of his people. Both our Orc protagonist, Durotan (Toby Kebbell), and our human equivalent, Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel), are honourable and totally badass in combat. The fight scenes are amazing. They could have done with a bit more magic use, but seeing tiny armour-clad humans come crashing into giant muscly orcs is well worthwhile!
The ladies in Warcraft were also pretty dang badass. Lady Taria (Ruth Negga), although regal and elegant, doesn’t flinch in the face of potential danger. Garona the half breed (Paula Patton) is a legit warrior and handles herself well on the battlefield despite her size. Draka (Anna Galvin) the orc wife of Durotan pops out a baby like it ain’t no thang and says awesome stuff like ‘I’ll bathe in your blood’ (aww she’s so sweet).
I imagine there will be a few people muttering things about cliché lines and characters – and they’re not exactly wrong, but it all feels pretty true to the games it’s based on! There were even brief moments of comic relief that didn’t feel too forced or out of place and served well to humanise the seemingly ruthless orcs.
If you enjoyed the games I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy the movie. If you haven’t played them, I’m still pretty confident you’ll at least have fun watching Warcraft: The Beginning! You might feel slightly lost at times, since there isn’t much time spent on character development or setting the scene, but let’s be honest – this is a movie about humans and orcs bashing each other, there’s not much else you need to know!
Rating: M Fantasy violence.