Friday, June 17, 2016

Fans of the Games Will Love 'Warcraft: The Beginning'

Warcraft III was one of the PC games I loved playing as a teen.  As much as I enjoyed its gameplay (as well as the gameplays of its scenario maps), what really blew me away was the beautiful mythology and the storylines of its campaign.  Since then, I’ve always mused about how awesome it would be if a series of full-length Warcraft movies – animated or otherwise – were to be made.

Thus, when it was announced a few years ago that a Warcraft movie was finally on the way, I was understandably beyond thrilled.  And it became one of the movies scheduled in 2016 that I was greatly looking forward to.
The plot of Warcraft – also alternatively subtitled with The Beginning as an obvious attempt to launch a movie franchise – is somewhat of an adaptation of the story of the first Warcraft game (from way back in the 90’s), Orcs & Humans.  I say “somewhat of an adaptation” because it made significant changes with the plotlines and character arcs – which, in my opinion, gave the story more depth and quality.  Also, there are a lot of plot details that only fans of the games will appreciate, since they aren’t coherently clarified; those who are familiar with Warcraft mythology will be able to “fill in the blanks” (especially, how important of a character Durotan’s son is).

With the exception of that sequence that involves a golem, the visuals of this movie are luscious.  I enjoyed the battles, scenery. and magic.  The production value makes this movie a fine eye candy.
But it’s not really quite epic.  Great visuals and action notwithstanding, it has noticeable flaws.  First, though I think the script is solid for what it is, I believe it could have benefited much with a few more re-writes.  Second, it has these sharp transitions that are obviously due to bad editing.  Seriously, there is this sort of “holes” between some scenes.  It felt like whole scenes are taken out of this movie to compress its dense narrative.  Thus, I believe the “director’s cut” version of this movie is going to be better.  And third, the acting of the human characters is underwhelming.  They seem to be acting on a low-budget fantasy TV movie.  (The orc actors though – especially Durotan – are just fantastic.)

Besides, I wasn’t really expecting for Warcraft to be something like Lord of the Rings.  True, I think it could have been better – and I wish we had that version instead.  But, as a fan, I was more than satisfied.  In fact, I actually loved it.  And I think almost all who played the Warcraft games will have the same reaction as mine.
This movie is panned by critics, and didn’t do well in the US box office.  However, it’s a huge hit in China.  So I hope its success outside US would be enough to make the sequels possible.  Knowing the richness of Warcraft mythology, I can confidently say that future stories would only get better, especially when the movies finally get to the part of adapting the stories from Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Frozen Thrones.  It’ll definitely get more complex and exciting then.  

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