Review: Warcraft: The Beginning
BoreDaft: The YawningWarcraft: The Beginning… “The Beginning”?! Say it ain’t so, because I don’t think I could take another one. Long, overblown, exposition-heavy, and downright dull, I haven’t had such a squirmingly bad time at the movies since the likes of John Carter of Mars, The Last Airbender, Tommorowland or every bloody Transformers sequel.
If you liked those movies then, like my 9-year-old, you’ll find Warcraft entertaining enough. For me though it was reminiscent of Peter Jackson at his epic best and bloated worst. Worst because the constant CGI onslaught of The Hobbit trilogy is here by the pixelated chemical-toilet-bucket-load. Best because Warcraft doesn’t so much pay homage to Jackson’s superb Lord of the Rings trilogy as pillage wholesale. Epic camera moves, castles, creatures – all ripped from Jackson’s far superior first fantasy trilogy.
But where Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring laid down the necessary backstory in just a few, riveting, cinematic minutes of opening montage, Warcraft spends almost its entire runtime spouting extravagant exposition.
I loved Duncan (don’t mention I’m the son of David Bowie) Jones’ first movie Moon, but felt Source Code, his follow-up, was a half-hour Twilight Zone episode stretched way beyond welcome. In Warcraft, Jones embraces all the worst excesses of Hollywood fantasy blockbusters, serving up a soulless, near humour-free, computer generated fantasy.
The orcs look great, as CGI-hulks based on performances captured from real actors. The problem is the script, wooden human actors and Garona (Paula Patton) a half-orc, half-human that’s just an actress painted green with upside-down vampire fangs stuck in her gob. All that does is highlight how great a job they did in creating Zoe Saldana’s green-skinned Gamora, in Guardians of The Galaxy, or her blue-skinned Neytiri, in Avatar. Two films that possess scripts of Shakespearian grandeur when compared to the plodding monstrosity of Warcraft’s clunky narrative and dull characters.
As for the human cast? Travis Fimmel (who is so great in TV’s Vikings), plays a two-dimensional bore of a hero, and Dominic Cooper (kicking ass as TV’s Preacher) is woefully miscast as a king that would feel more at home in a kids’ school play.
For reasons that escape Hollywood, movies based on video games invariably stink – from Super Mario Bros to Max Payne; Street Fighter to Resident Evil 907 – but they don’t have to. They just need to be written as movies, with stories and characters that work outside a gaming console.
It’s just one guy’s opinion, so go see it and judge for yourself but, for me at least, Warcraft was an endurance test that I would have happily walked out of had I not had a child in tow. Even then, I seriously considered going home without him, just to escape the deafening hollow roar of yet another multi-million-dollar blockbuster with everything thrown at it – save for a decent script.