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Our take on Warcraft: The Beginning

By Chong Jinn Wei - 12 Jun 2016

Our take on Warcraft: The Beginning

Hopes were high for Warcraft: The Beginning. Many were hoping to see a successful movie adaptation of Blizzard’s beloved series. Directed by Duncan Jones, the movie does justice to its source material, but ultimately stumbles when delivering its story. This will be a non-spoiler review of the movie.

Warcraft: The Beginning is a high fantasy film filled with grandeur; sadly it has a habit of glossing over them. <br> Image source: warcraftmovie.com

Set during the events of the first game, Warcraft: Orcs and Humans; the movie follows conflict between humans and orcs. Powered by Fel magic, the orcs are led by an evil shaman Gul’dan (Daniel Wu) are fighting to conquer the world of Azeroth, while the kingdom of Stomwind defends their realm.

To its credit, Warcraft: The Beginning manages to shed a fair light on both the orcs and humans. Lothar (Travis Fimmel), a loyal knight and Durotan (Toby Kebbell), the noble orc chieftain, both do an admirable job of showing their personal struggles.

The acting in the movie is a pretty mixed bag. It has its fair share of awkward and awesome moments. <br> Image source: warcraftmovie.com

However, the movie's large cast of characters, particularly those of the humans though easily recognizable, are introduced too fast and frequently, it becomes hard to remember any of their names or even care about them after a while.

The quality of acting varies too; some orc characters like Durotan and Gul’dan have particularly nuance facial animation that helps give their characters depth. On the other hand, King Llane (Dominic Cooper) and Lady Taria (Ruth Negga) surprisingly do not convey as much authority expected for rulers of a kingdom.

There are some pacing issues with the movie, no thanks to some questionable transitions that make it feel like some bits of the plot were left out. <br> Image source: warcraftmovie.com

Another noticeable problem that Warcraft: The Beginning has is its pacing, which tends to transition between scenes with jarring cuts. In one scene, a group of humans were scouting the orc encampment only to be immediately cut to them being ambushed. This was supposed to show a quick passing of time but because of poor cuts, it resulted in a rather odd scene.

The look and feel of the world is definitely entertaining to see, because of how similar they are to the source material. <br> Image source: warcraftmovie.com

Despite its misgivings, Warcraft is undoubtedly an impressive and fun movie. Its high fantasy aesthetic differentiates it from movies like Lord of the Rings, thanks to its more colorful palate and grandiose designs.

It is pleasing to see how everything from the design of the humans’ bulky armor to the hulking forms of the orcs is reminiscent of their source material. So when it came to the skirmishes, it was a delight to see how both humans and orcs fought against each other.

However, once again some action sequences were better than others. There were a couple of duels in the movie with stark contrasts, one was an epic and emotion filled brawl while another was conveniently over before it even started.

Hopefully if there is a sequel, the team can learn from their missteps and further improve the series’ strengths. <br> Image source: warcraftmovie.com

Overall, despite its problems, Warcraft: The Beginning can still be an enjoyable movie to watch. Its battles are chaotic and fun when two factions are pitted against the other. However, with mix performance in acting and appalling transitions, it hampers with the pacing and general feel of the movie.

After a decade in the making, Warcraft: The Beginning is an entertaining but flawed movie that stays fairly faithful to its source material. Here is hoping to improvement to its following movies.