Warcraft: The Beginning (2016) Movie Reviews

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Warcraft: The Beginning (2016) Movie Reviews

Warcraft: The Beginning (2016) Movie Reviews

Spoiler free lore primer, should make the movie a lot easier to follow for non-fans or fans not quite up on this period of the lore:
  • Medivh is the Guardian, the magical bullwark against threats to the world of Azeroth. He is the greatest magician in the land, but he has cut himself off, feeling apart from the world he serves.
  • Khadgar is a young and inexperienced mage given to the Kirin Tor as a child (the mage collective of this world), who was studying to potentially one day replace Medivh. However, he felt uneasy with his lot in life and chose to walk away, breaking his oaths to the Kirin Tor. He still wants to serve the people of Azeroth, but he doesn't want to keep the world at arms length like the Kirin Tor do.
  • Lothar is the champion of the kingdom of Stormwind, their greatest warrior and military leader. He has a contentious relationship with his son Callan, whose mother died during childbirth. He's powerful but to an extent he's aimless in his life, serving the people of Stormwind because that's what a person in his position does, not because he's figured out what his path in life will be, at least not yet.
  • King Llayne Wrynn is the idealistic if a bit naive peacetime leader of his people. He rules a kingdom that has been at peace with the other races of his world. He's a compassionate and good hearted leader who has no reference point for the invasion that is coming his way. His Queen is Lothar's sister with whom he has a son, Varian Wrynn, who will one day grow up to be a leader who combines the best qualities of his father with the best qualities of Lothar.
  • Gul'Dan is the warlock leader of the collective orcish Horde. He draws his magic from the life force of beings around him, trading their lives to enhance the brutish nature of the orcs and turning their skin green with fel magic. He is the one who leads the orcs from their native world of Draenor, a land his magic has all but killed, into the world of Azeroth, the world of the humans.
  • Durotan is the chieftain of the Frostwolf clan, one of many orcish clans who had united under Gul'Dan's leadership. Durotan is a noble leader who holds to the traditions of the Horde and who wants to create a better life for his unborn son.
  • Draka is the wife of Durotan and the mother of Go'el, who will grow up to become the great leader of the orcs known as Thrall. She is a fierce warrior in her own right, although the movie focuses on her as a mother and wife.
  • Orgrim Doomhammer is the right hand man of Durotan, a legendary warrior among the Frostwolf who holds to the old ways. He is guided by tradition even more so than his chieftain, and he struggles with what he believes is right and what he believes it means to be an orc.
  • Garona Halforcen. In this telling, she is the daughter of a human male and an orc woman, an outcast among the Horde whose literal name means "cursed" in their tongue. Her mother was murdered for no other reason than giving birth to such a weak creature, and she owes her survival only to Gul'Dan, who took her in even though he treated her as a slave.
  • Blackhand the Destroyer is Gul'Dan's right hand man and the current Warchief of the Horde, the commander of their armies in battle. He is himself the chieftain of the Blackrock Clan, a ruthless yet very traditional leader who follows Gul'Dan because that's what orcs do, they follow the strongest among them and they hope to fight the fiercest battles available to them.
If you read that, you'll get a lot more enjoyment out of the movie. A 2 hour runtime was not enough time to set up all of this and it suffers because of this, but if you know the players and their starting points, there's at the very least a good movie in there, potentially a great one. I hope the Director's Cut adds more to this story and gives it time to breathe, especially early on where it feels entirely too crowded and choppy. This movie is only the beginning of the story, and it has no clear cut answers for you. There's very little in terms of moral absolutism, and few are beyond redemption. It's a complicated world and there isn't always a happy ending to every story told.

Other Reviews
I enjoyed the film for the most part. Orcs were great, CGI was fine, all the lore-stuff was cool. I've been playing since Warcraft 1, so I am very much looking forward to this becoming a whole franchise. 

This was a shaky start, but hopefully the overseas gross will help boost it into a success.
I had a few nitpicks that I'd like to share, just to air them out. I felt the movie made some really odd character and story choices. Like, why make Khadgar a dropout of the Kirin Tor?

 That some weirdly unnecessary background. How would his character or the movie have been any different if he was a mage in good standing with the Kirin Tor? Though I am pleased that he didn't randomly turn into an old man at the end. That is one lore correction I am very happy with.

But Lothar's son should have been completely cut from the film. It just gave Lothar more baggage than he needed. He already had half a dozen different reasons to be in this movie and to fight the orcs, he didn't need a backstory with a son. The movie didn't explore it well enough to warrant the son.

But my biggest gripe is how weirdly the movie handled the ending. I enjoyed the big fight, and the showdown with Durotan was great. But I am baffled at how the movie set itself up to have a perfect ending, but then shot itself in the foot on several occasions that just make no sense. Hear me out.
So with nothing left to lose, Durotan challenges Gul'Dan to ancient combat, and he makes it pretty clear that his goal is to show his fellow orcs how far Gul'Dan has fallen, how he has given in to darkness — and he succeeds! 

Durotan sacrifices his life to show his fellow orcs that Gul'Dan has abandoned honor for dark magic, and Orgrim Doomhammer leads the accusations that they should all turn away from Gul'Dan...except Gul'Dan simply kills a couple orcs and everybody falls back in line. Durotan died for nothing. But it doesn't end there.

Soon after, the King sacrifices himself to put Garona into a position of power among the orcs...except there is no power vacuum, because Gul'Dan is still alive. So it's not like she can take charge or anything. Then, after Lothar kills Blackhand, Gul'Dan, FOR A SECOND TIME, starts trying to defy tradition and honor by trying to go after Lothar. And what does Garona do with her new position of power? She saves Gul'Dan's life by stopping him from doing something rash!

And the movie ends with the villain not only still alive, but still in control of an army of orcs as determined as ever to kill the humans. Nothing has been settled. Nothing has been finalized. Durotan died for nothing.

Twice, the movie presented a perfectly sound option where the honorable orcs turn against and defeat Gul'Dan because he has abandoned tradition. That way, the bad guy is defeated, Fel is rejected, Garona is in a position of power, Durotan and the King's sacrifices mean something and the movie has a solid ending. But twice they shot themselves in the foot.
It's just baffling. Anyway, that's my little rant. Thanks for reading.


I absolutely loved this movie. It's not anywhere near perfect but it does more things right. Even despite its issues there is a strong story being told. The people behind the film clearly understand Warcraft. A lot of blockbusters feel hollow or only resemble the original in name only, but this one tried so hard to do the source material justice. Ultimately I feel it succeeded. Most of the problems have to do with the movie's length and execution. I have rarely enjoyed a movie as much as this one, but that's because I was already invested in the characters and world. So it's hard for me to give it a numerical rating, since as a fan I'd give it an 8 or 9 out of 10 but realistically it falls in the 6 or 7 out of 10 range.
The good stuff:
The CGI, particularly the Orcs, are incredible. Really enjoyed how visually interesting spells were depicted on screen.
The settings were so intriguing I wish we had more time to explore Ironforge, Dalaran, and the streets of Stormwind.
The level of attention to detail is stunning. I feel like I have to watch this film multiple times to fully appreciate everything.
The Orcs not being portrayed as evil, and even as they follow Gul'dan they remain committed to upholding their culture and traditions. In this film they are people and a joy to watch.
The score was quite good. A cut above the generic action movie score while still maintaining that Warcraft feel.
The scene with the sheep is the best scene in the movie.
Gul'dan was better than I expected. I completely hated him and that's a good thing.
All of the fan easter eggs.
The action sequences are amazing.
Some issues:
The pacing as many have mentioned, especially in the first act. We absolutely should not be walking through the Dark Portal in the first few minutes. We at least should have more time spent with Durotan, the Orcs way of life, and the current state of Draenor. Then the story just drops you in Azeroth and takes off running. I can see how those unfamilar with the lore would be lost during these parts.
Telling instead of showing. I know approximately 40 minutes was cut from the film and it shows. Characters explaining their backstories in front of a campfire, while effective, just isn't as interesting as it could be. I understand they had to make some compromises due to run time but explaining backstories/motivations could've been stronger.
Lothar vs. Blackhand. There was already a lot going on but I would've been more satisfied if it wasn't over so quickly.
Garona's costume. She appeared far too human and the fangs looked cheap and distracting. Unlike many, I thought her character and acting were fine and that she was legitimately interesting. But comparing her to Draka her design leaves much to be desired.
I wasn't a big fan of the scene of Khadgar and the cube. It just felt so out of nowhere, had too many generic lines, and I wanted Khadgar to prove without help that Medivh was bad news and get people to take him seriously.
The script could've definitely been stronger. For a lot of minor characters (for example, the scene with the meeting with the Dwarfs and Elves) dialogue is extremely cut down to just stating the point to save time.
I was so invested toward the end that I didn't want the film to end. If only the film had more screentime to fully develop the first half of the film, then it would be a legitimately great film all around. Hopefully a director's cut will help with that.

Share on :

No comments:

Post a Comment

Copyright © 2015 Movie Reviews
Distributed By My Blogger Themes | Design By Herdiansyah Hamzah