Movie Review: “Warcraft”


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

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
This entry was posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Movie Review: “Warcraft”

  1. Alex says:

    Do you even try to do your job like your not reviewing the movie you’re just giving your opinion like nobody gives a damn about your opinion we just want a review. Boo hoo you were bored and you even dare compare it to Lord of the rings this movie is very different because it’s not based in world of warcraft but in the warcraft that’s why the movieit’s called warcraft and not world of warcraft (1994,1995,2003).there are flaws of course no movie it’s perfect the only reason you’re talking shit about this movie it’s because you are not familiar with it and the movie was really made for the hardcore wow(world of warcraft) fans that’s why it sped up. So for once do your job research the content then you do a constructive critic not a critic that doesn’t make sense or a critic that a little boy would do when he doesn’t like something. I hope you have a good day

  2. Joseph says:

    Ey you’re pretty autistic buddy just watched the movie and loved it never played Warcraft and don’t really know much about it but it was pretty good and I enjoyed it. Honestly your review is pretty trash you don’t even give the movie a chance just straight up bash it for a bunch of reasons that I don’t see at all… but whatever floats your boat

    • Angelo says:

      “Can’t we call just get along, he asks?” – Sounds like you should get your money back also.

    • Wooo, Joseph has heard the word “autism” and figures he’s clever enough to use it as an insult. On the spectrum, are you? Maybe think before you type.

      • alasanon says:

        Why so inexplicably hateful, unless you truly are impaired??! The fans & a billion people in China LOVE Warcraft! The problem for some U.S. critics is that they need the most formulaic pablum Hollywood can offer!..You can’t handle anything that is “off script”… So, you worship a “new” re-hashed Star Wars that barely has an ounce of originality!!.. Now THAT long movie DID bore me (sadly)!!.. Warcraft looks more exciting & interesting, has tremendous production values, & shows far more unique creativity than a Star Wars re-make could ever hope for!!!…

      • “Big in China” is the new “He’s a pop LEGEND…in Portugal.” Reviewing the MOVIE, sport, not the game. You spend your free time how you see fit. When you cross into my domain, movies, I am passing judgement on it.

  3. Termin says:

    You shouldn’t go to a fantasy movie if you don’t like them, what’s wrong with your “skull”?

  4. jonathan grobler says:

    I was extreamly excited to see this movie… when i got their my expectations where blown away… for 2 hours i could not take my eyes of the screen…. i absoulutly loved every moment of it…. for viewers new to the warcraft world it might be a bit confusing but as the series progresses the fog will lift…. in the meantime the basics are clearly shown and the visualls will keep you hooked…

    As for the reviewers ignore his blog… his simply being a critic trying to cash in… if u enjoyed lord of the rings this movie is for you

    • zack says:

      I am 100% confident the post above is coming from a paid advertiser for this movie. I love the Warcraft games and I love Lord of the Rings. This movie is garbage. I wanted it to be good, I tried to see the best in it and look past all the flaws, but I just couldn’t either. Warcraft deserves better. This is garbage, and so are you phony commenter. Get a real job.

      • alasanon says:

        Any educated person can watch the Trailer & see that it has the potential to be a GREAT flick, or at the least, a very enjoyable & entertaining one…Many fans LOVE it & with new box office records continuing in China (where they know the game!). That’s an incredible testament to the quality of the movie for people in the know!! (who are not being influenced by critical bunk)

  5. Moglar says:

    I agree with Roger. Roger was bored out of his skill. However……given a choice I would have rathered pour jet fuel on my head….light it on fire….and beat it out with a 10 pound sledgehammer than sit through Warcraft. They should rename the movie “Failcraft.”lur

  6. adam mian says:

    The movie was absolutely awful as a stand-alone movie. every scene was full of rapid-fire exposition and people looking serious.
    No one in the entire movie seemed human, they were all completely unrelatable and seemed to flip-flop randomly between opinions within the span of mere seconds.
    Not once did I feel like anything was at stake and frankly, I wasn’t sure who was our protagonist and I didn’t know or understand anyone’s motivations for doing anything.
    Throughout the movie I kept asking my friend (who is actually a pretty big fan of the WoW lore) why the characters were being so melodramatic over everything and when he told me what was actually meant to be going on, according to lore, I nodded and said: “That would be bad for them, I agree”, because I still didn’t care about any of the characters or the world they lived in.

    As a movie on it’s own legs, it falls short of even an YA-level of quality.
    Sure it’s packed to the brim with what I’m sure is rich, complicated and epic lore, it utterly fails at pulling you into it’s world. It’s nothing more than high-budget video-game cinematics. Think of it as DLC for WoW and you’ll be going in knowing what you’re about to see.

  7. Corey says:

    I hate how all of these fantasy films essentially ask the audience to root for different types of barbaric feudalism.

  8. Jaxsondryll says:

    This Movie is a poor standalone and requires incredibly extensive Knowledge of the world and characters to understand and to a certain degree. It is understandable that many people/reviewers call the movie’s Characters Flat or Weak because they do not posses the prior knowledge of the characters and places. The CGI Was almost Creepily Realistic for someone who comes from the games which are slightly Cartoony, this can co both ways I personally thought it was great.

    Prepare for a tad of Slat

    Garona is NOT a Half Human. She is Half Draenei (Drey-Nai) Half Orc (Draenei are the odd looking blue demon/alien looking humanoids seen in the begining when Gul’Dan Opens the Portal with their Souls. This is either and error or just a lack of knowledge on the subject, the latter is honestly disappointing that so few people bash the movie for not knowing what anything is because they’ve never experienced the universe before

    Thats all I have.

    • Yup. As I said, those deep into the game might get more out of it. The animation was sharp even if the characters were crudely conceived, the story a hash and the “world” plainly a cut and paste of earlier fantasy fiction.

      • alasanon says:

        Most video games do not have a deep, well-developed & literary storyline, obviously… Hence, this movie may be more true-to-form in that respect. Personally, I can’t wait to see it, if only for the amazing imagery in 3D or IMAX!!.. It honestly looks more compelling & fun than Star Wars was for me…

  9. zleaper says:

    I get that this film is a mess but I am concerned that you explained the synopsis, and a few minor gripes and without going in to any actual detail you basically call the film garbage. I would think a professional critic would take the time to make some objective claims about the films strengths and weaknesses before proclaiming such a vehemently negative reaction.

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