Warcraft fans will enjoy seeing the humans and orcs battle with swords and sorcery in this game based on Blizzard’s popular MMOG game. However, non-fans may feel confused and neglected, like one of the game’s NPC Non Player Characters.
After huge box office successes like the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, which showed how to immerse mainstream worldwide audiences to a fantasy world, you’ll wonder how Warcraft seems to miss the mark of appealing to both core fans and mainstream.
The script jumps seems to jump all over the place. Even accomplished director Duncan Jones can’t seem to help save it. If you’re not a WoW fan, you’ll likely spend the first hour wondering “What is going on!?” A dubious out-of-nowhere romance and finale battle decision will certainly leave you scratching your head.
Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, and Ben Foster perform admirably given their material. The standout acting performance is by Toby Kebbel, who plays a conflicted Durotan orc. With mostly CGI facial and body enhancements, his amazing ability to act with his eyes really connects with viewers. He also played Victor Doom in the Fantastic Four, and Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Visual effects are everywhere, with orcs, elves, dwarves, magic spells, flying monsters, animated statues. There are some gorgeous aerial views of the cities and battles which are good visual fan service. However, the “effects everywhere” can be a little overwhelming. You may find yourself wanting something real to look at to help anchor the visuals. ILM did some effects, and a dozen of smaller studios contributed, which is why the effects may seem uneven from scene to scene.
It’s noteworthy that Angry Birds, another movie based on a game released this summer, is much more relatable and understandable. It works because it (like LOTR) first focuses on developing its main characters personalities and relationships for half the movie, and then thrusts them in to the pigs invasion battle action. Warcraft spends about 10 minutes introducing us to the characters, before plunging us into chaotic battles.
Fans of World of Warcraft should flock to the film like armies to support it. World of Warcraft has more than 5M subscribers as of last year. It was reported that more than 100M accounts have been created over the game’s lifetime. The film is set up for a sequel, and it will need fan support to make that happen.