Nutshell: Disappointment, thy name is Warcraft. Or, better put, thy name is Duncan Jones. With a huge mythology to work with, and seemingly unlimited funds, to make a film that makes no sense, and fails to connect with viewers on even the most basic level is a crime against celluloid. Bumping up a half-grade for the Glenn Close cameo, and some truly gorgeous art direction and VFX. Grade: D
“It’s a boom stick” –
Ash in Evil Dead III a dwarven armorer in Warcraft, parroting his betters
At a hair over two hours, Warcraft feels like four. That’s a hint and a half for your poor theater-seat tuchas, and your poor confused brain. Confused? Yep; because all through Warcraft there will be one overwhelming question on your mind:
What the hell is going on here?
I don’t know. Wish I could tell you. And apparently the screenwriters, director and cast don’t know either. Pity. The trailer was awesome. Really had me psyched for this. Unfortunately, a muddled script that feels like nobody bothered to check continuity when rewrites hit, hobbled this film. Crippled it beyond any hope of salvation.
Pity, as the cast is as game as they can be, considering they all have the shell-shocked look of ones who know they’ve made a horrible, horrible mistake that they’ll never be able to walk away from.
Plot? Here ’tis: stop the Orcs. Seems the Orcs have destroyed their home world because Bad Juju, and use a portal powered by Death Magic (*da DUUUUUM*) to enter the world of the humans. Bad Orc Magician must try to get his Orcs through the portal, while the Good Human Magician (who seems a bit off his game, wonder if he’s compromised in some way?) tries to stop them. There’s
Ragnar Lothbrok Good Hero Guy, Newbie Mage, Half-Orc Warrior Chick, Preacher from AMC King, Tulip O’Hare Queen, Glenn Close who tried to go uncredited but BUSTED, and other people who don’t matter. Will the humans prevail? Who cares.
Writer/Director Duncan Jones obviously got too close to his film, and apparently had nobody to tell him that nothing made sense. And that’s a
pity crying shame, because Warcraft is gorgeous to look at. Art direction, costuming, set design; it’s all very well done. (Oh yeah; and the Frost Wolves are still awesome, and I still want one.) So what if the CGI feels like the CGI from Harry Potter, the human’s architecture seems straight from LOTR, and Bad Orc Magician kinda looks like a Skeksis from The Dark Crystal? Hey, if you’re gonna crib, crib from the good stuff.
Okay, lest you think I love any and all things makeup and SFX, there were two things that stuck out: half-Orc Garona’s “tusks” are terrible. They look like almost melted candy canes. And you can see exactly how they’re attached to her real teeth every time she speaks. And the Orcs are scary, that’s no doubt. Yes, it’s nice to see them as more than fodder to plow through during a campaign. But their hands are bigger than their tiny little heads (relative to their overall body proportions, at least.) I guess that’s why they’re always written as dumb as rocks?
Worst of all? The film ends with a hint of a sequel. No, not hint. There’s practically an electric boogaloo flashing neon sign that screams SEQUEL TO COME with farting unicorns and jazz hands. Which serves two purposes: 1) primes the pump for another cash grab, and 2) eliminates the need for an type of resolution in the minds of the filmmakers.
Ugh. My brain hurts. Just stare at the poster for an hour, then watch the trailer for another hour. Much better than this weaksauce “story”. Don’t bother, unless you’re a diehard D&D, Fantasy or of course a WoW fan. Even then, make sure you’re trippin’ balls when you go in. It’ll be the only way you’ll be able to get through. May I suggest tequila? Lots of it.