Video game film adaptations for the most part have been terrible let’s be honest from the dire Resident Evil series to the latest incarnation of Hitman, the films are boring, cliche and have very little in common to there source material. So I am pleased to announce that we FINALLY have an adaptation from game to screen that WORKS, its not definitive by any means but it is certainly a step in the right direction.
The films plot is fairly complicated and I don’t want to delve into spoilers for people who haven’t seen it so in a nutshell, the film is about a race of Orcs whose home world is dying and need to conquer a new world in order to survive and they have picked the realm of Azeroth to conquer which is inhabited by humans and fantasy battles ensue.
First off this film is incredibly stunning to look at. As soon as the film opens and we see main Orc Durotan (Toby Kebbell, a real gem of an actor) interacting with his wife I literally turned to my girlfriend and said “these things look real” ever since the Planet of The Apes franchise reboot I constantly get blown away by how good motion capture is becoming and this film feels like a new age in the technology. All the orcs are believable, truly rounded characters and there brute strength and force in combat can certainly be felt when the action kicks in. I loved the opening to this film because it does something rarely seen in fantasy genre film’s or summer blockbusters for that matter and it opens on a genuine human moment as the two orcs discuss the upcoming trip to another realm whilst fearing for the safety of there own child, I mean whats more human than that really?
The main problem I had however with the first 30-45 minutes of this film was the sheer heft of information that is piled on by the clunky screenwriting and editing. I didn’t have an issue with this for the most part but when there is so many different names, places and races you do occasionally look at the screen and it is a bit of a mess but slowly but surely I found my feet and felt totally immersed in the world. Batman V Superman had a similar problem with information overload as they tried to copy what Marvel had done for years over several films into 2 and a half hours. Here the main issue is to get the entire lore of Orcs and Humans in the world of Warcraft into 2 hours feels extremely tight and just by watching how certain scenes play out and the outcomes of certain character arcs it comes as no surprise that the films director Duncan Jones has come out publicly and said 40 minutes has been chopped off the film.
The casting choices of the film have been criticized by quite alot of critics with some saying that the wizard character played by Ben Foster is too young and vice versa whereas I actually feel they should be applauded for going against type and picking actors who wouldn’t usually be picked to play these roles and I always an advocate of giving fresh faces a chance. The lead human actor Travis Fimmel who plays Anduin, famous for his role on TV’s Viking’s series I thought gave an admirable performance but I couldn’t help but shake the feeling they were trying to capture Aragorn from Lord of the Rings and the charisma was just not on screen. The chemistry between some of the actors was virtually non existent and this no more evident than the forced love story angle with Anduin and a half orc-half human played by Paula Patton and I didn’t buy there relationship for a single second.
The biggest surprise about this film however was the amount of character deaths that happen to what are seemingly key characters and I think this maybe a new direction Hollywood should maybe consider doing more often as I genuinely can’t remember the last time I was shocked about character deaths like I was in this film, especially from a summer blockbuster. Duncan Jones has a clear love for the Warcraft franchise and he has created an amazing world here however we don’t get to spend enough time in it. Often these types of films are over bloated and I actually feel this film would have benefited from being longer so we could appreciate the amazing efforts the production team must have gone through to realize this computer game world onto the big screen.
Overall I had a truly solid time with this film. I loved the fight/action sequences I thought they were extremely well handled by the supremely talented Duncan Jones and I just pray that audiences go to see this film as the promise this film has for potentially great sequels and a franchise is just too good of an opportunity to ignore.