Warcraft: The Beginning is a worthy attempt at being the first (of hopefully many) engaging big budget film based on a video game.
Let’s get a couple of things out of the way first. I have not played any Warcraft games and do not have a deep understanding of the mythology of this world. I was also very underwhelmed by the trailers for this movie and went in with very low expectations. See for yourself:
I have to say, I was pretty well entertained by the film. The performances were really good for the most part; and we now have the heir apparent to Andy Serkis for all motion capture roles in Toby Kebbell.
After his masterful performance as Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, his portrayal of Durotan is the stand out performance in my opinion. I was actually surprised by the Orcs as a whole. We have now reached the level of technology that allows for warmth in the eyes…which make the orcs believable.
I also liked the story that was told and how it was told. Duncan Jones (the director) did something that is very admirable; he made me believe that I was on Azeroth within the first 10 minutes of the film. As someone who hasn’t played the games before, I was never confused about where the film was headed and the motivation behind the decisions of most of the characters.
One of my biggest problem was the performance of Ben Schnetzer who played Khadgar the young wizard. I don’t really understand the purpose of this role as a whole. Why does he have to be a young wizard? Couldn’t he have been a more fleshed out wizard who has been through some experiences. He looked like he was in a different film.
Another issue I had was with CGI in certain parts of the film. At times it looked too glossy. It needed to be a little more gruff for me. I also wanted some more character development for a lot of the characters. There were parts of the film that seemed to be dragging as a result of lack of character development; I just didn’t care at times.
Overall, I was really impressed by what Duncan Jones was able to do with this. This is by far the best video game film we have had. But as a fantasy movie, it is no Lord of the Rings. It was a good film but not a great one. I still enjoyed it for what it is and what the potential could be for possible sequels and other potential video game adaptations.
My rating: 6/10…which is a recommendation in my book. Warcraft: The Beginning is out now in cinemas in the UK.