Duncan Jones' Warcraft is unique and exciting, blending together fantasy and magic in a way that'll surely please fans of the video game, yet impress those looking for an action adventure film with a massive scope and lots of characters.
Duncan Jones‘ Warcraft is surprisingly awesome, brilliantly balancing fantasy and magic elements in a way that feels unique and exciting. Naysayers will rejoice as they celebrate the fact that Jones has successfully made a film that should please fans of the video game series, yet welcome newcomers with open arms. Warcraft is massive, full of worlds, characters and stories that I cannot wait to explore in future sequels.
Warcraft is an adaptation of the popular online video game, which pits all sorts of creatures up against each other across an even larger universe. It’s a complex game that I never really got into, but I knew enough about it to understand that to some it’s considered un-adaptable.
Yet, Duncan Jones‘ Warcraft exists as an exciting and unique film, full of characters and worlds that are taken directly from the game. The film follows the invasion of orc warriors known as the Horde on the peaceful world of Azeroth, which is home to the “humans” or if you want to be more technical the Alliance.
Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel) must help his king Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper) defeat these foreign invaders, by calling upon the Guardian Medivh (Ben Foster) to help understand this powerful dark magic being used against them by the orcs.
I’m not going to lie to you — Warcraft might not be the easiest to follow if you’re not familiar with the world of Warcraft or at least a fan of science fiction/fantasy such as The Lord of the Rings. There’s a lot going on here and Duncan Jones and his writers wisely don’t waste too much time trying to establish the minor details and instead trust that you can just jump in and ride along.
This is a refreshing approach, especially in a world where origins stories are overtaking the actual stories.
Warcraft establishes its never-ending world and characters by showing you enough material to get you familiar with both the Horde and the Alliance, but it never reveals information that isn’t immediately important to the film.
From there, the film wisely balances on both sides of the battlefield, showing you the effects of war from both perspectives and eventually leading into a massively scoped battle, which is as awesome as it sounds.
Director Duncan Jones flexes his big-budget filmmaking muscles with Warcraft. Up until this point he’s mostly made smaller to mid-size budgeted films, but with Warcraft he really lets his creative juices flow. There’s so much going on at any given time, from background locations to various weapons and characters that are almost always different from the last.
Jones has created a massive world that represents the scope and size of the game with ease. His ability to pull back the camera and pan around to various clans prepping for and eventually going into war is a not only visually impressive, but also a better idea of just how large this film is.
Travis Fimmel takes charge as the film’s leading human and he does so with a calm and calculated approach. Lothar is a brave and noble warrior, yet he’s not a mindless brute or showman. He’s a caring and loving father that’s also very smart about warfare. I’m not familiar with Fimmel’s previous work, but I can say that he’s the shining star of Warcraft. Paula Patton, Ben Foster and Toby Kebbell manage to achieve equal success, yet Fimmel’s Lothar sticks out as the strongest performance.
His chemistry with Paula Patton‘s character and trusting friendship with Dominic Cooper‘s character help round him out and make his performance feel charismatic and complex.
Truthfully, there’s not a poor performer among the massive film, which is a statement to praise.
The film’s visual effects are absolutely mind-blowing. The detail of the orcs is astonishing. You can see every strain of hair on their head, not to mention the hair on their arms and backs. There’s just so much thought and detail put into everything about the world created and it helps the film feel as large as it looks. Jones and his writers really did think of everything while writing and eventually shooting the film and it definitely shows.
Warcraft looks and feels like a film that could easily have two more sequels and some spinoffs, because of how thought out the unique world is.
My biggest complaint with Warcraft rests with the writing, which is far from perfect. The story is predictable and some of the characters aren’t exactly deep, but the problems of the film are never distracting enough to hurt the film in any serious way.
Warcraft is an impressive step up for director Duncan Jones. Jones has managed to keep his strong sense of sci-fi storytelling on point, while expanding his scope and creating a true summer blockbuster.
Warcraft is an audacious film that’s not afraid to embrace its roots and to aim high. I’m here to tell you that it mostly accomplishes what it set out to achieve and that Warcraft is the best summer blockbuster that I’ve seen so far. See it on the largest screen possible and don’t cheap out on the tickets, because an IMAX 3D viewing is totally worth it.