Another video game makes a branded transition to the big screen, and Hollywood blows it, yet again. That’s “Warcraft.” And seeing as how this tripe just wasted two hours and three minutes of my life, with the threat of sequels to come (Yeah, right), I’m tempted to leave it there.
But no. I didn’t get up and leave. Which I thought about. Might as well have a go at it.
A CG-reliant sword and sorcery fantasy that owes an awful lot (a LOT) to Tolkien and even more to the generations of fans that made World of Warcraft a gaming phenomenon, it has two things the vast majority of such fare lacks — characters, and moments of pathos.
It’s that old bugaboo “STORY” that lets it down.
Orcs, those gigantic, blood-and-battle loving beasts of myth, have ruined their world. But thanks to their wizard-leader, they have this portal that can bring their war parties to a human world.
They take prisoners, because their magic is fed with human life force (literally). And they’re preparing the whole Horde for an invasion.
But the Orc chieftain Durotan (voiced and motion-captured by Tobey Kebbell) of the Frost Wolf clan has a new baby on the way, and wonders if things could be different.
Can’t we call just get along, he asks? Or words to that effect, muttered through his bejeweled tusks.
The humans respond to the threat. Dominic Cooper wears a lot of pretty armor and a lot of hair — facial and otherwise — as their king, Llane. His brother-in-law, named Lothar (without SNL irony) and played by Travis Fimmel, is their champion, humanity’s Achilles or Lancelot.
He will require the aid of The Guardian, a member of a sacred wizard class, played by Ben Foster. And he’s certainly going to need the help of the skilled flunked-out wizard, Khadgar (Ben Schentzer). If they can get past their trust issues.
“What are you doing in my city, spell-chucker?”
Paula Patton plays a fetching “half-breed,” half-human and raised by Orcs, she speaks both languages and has tusks, in addition to everything leather shorts and a halter top offer.
Orcs and humans battle and scheme, digital brawls set in digital wastelands in between visits to digital cities and digital fortresses. The backdrops and roughly half the characters are animated.
David Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones (“Moon”) was an odd choice to direct this time-and-space-wasting oddity. His great accomplishment was keeping a reasonably interesting cast from looking embarrassed every time they have to spout tendentious jibbering or don armor or tusks to stage fights with guys in motion capture suits in front of green screens.
Assuming they went to that much trouble.
Every actor involved with this — Foster, Cooper, Patton and Fimmel (“Maggie’s Plan,” TV’s “Vikings”) — is better than this movie lets on.
If you’ve loved the game, you might appreciate the visuals cooked up for this fantasy universe. As it’s not interactive, and there’s no chance of playing one’s way into a better story, it doesn’t mimic the game experience or improve on it. The plot, subtexts and acting are a hash.
Put another way, I was bored out of my skull, from the “Lord of the Rings” opening to the Old Testament/Moses Afloat finale.
MPAA Rating:PG – 13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy violenc
Cast: Travis Fimmel, Ben Foster, Paula Patton, Dominic Cooper, Ben Schnetzer,
Credits: Directed by Duncan Jones, script by Duncan Jones and Charles Leavitt. A Universal release.
Running time: 2:03