Warcraft: The Beginning is finally out!

Yesterday, May 30th 2016, I went to see Warcraft: The Beginning movie. I’ve been pretty hyped to see the movie as it was never a secret that I’m a big fan of the Warcraft universe since the very first game in 1994. I’ve played all the games of Warcraft series ever since, and have been playing the MMORPG World of Warcraft since 2006. So, as a fan of Blizzard games I was waiting to see this movie ever since it was announced, back in 2006. Let me just clarify, though, that despite being a fan of Blizzard games (played almost all of them), this doesn’t mean that I am one of those Blizzard “fanboys” who likes everything they do blindly. I don’t, sometimes I dislike parts or even whole games that Blizzard does but I believe most of the time, it’s solely based on personal preference or opinion rather than lack of quality of Blizzard’s games.

So, now that we’re done with “disclaimers”, on to the movie. As I said, I was pretty hyped to see the movie, been waiting for it for 10 years now and was really curious to see how this world would look in the big screen. I’ve been paying attention to everything related to the movie, particularly on Twitter. I was fully aware that the first movie critic’s reviews were devastating but I was encouraged by an apparently almost-unanimous opinion from people that viewed the movie that it was good. So, after seeing it, the first thought that popped into my head was:

“I don’t really understand how some people can say that this movie was bad! It has so many good things in it, that it just can’t be labeled as BAD!”

I mean, I respect everyone’s opinion and I can agree with some of the reviewers’ critics up to some point, but saying that the movie is a “failure” or something you shouldn’t see, feels plain wrong and a bit too harsh. I’m not going to go down the route of some of those reviewers’ having hidden agendas against whoever, it’s totally irrelevant. What is relevant is that some people who make a living out of giving their opinion about movies are misleading their audience, and ultimately hurting themselves in the long run, by losing credibility.

About the movie itself, as a Warcraft fan, I was very pleased with the final product and I really think this is a good movie. I won’t get into details about the movie, as I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone, but I can say a few things:

  • Story
    • Although the story of the movie is not 100% faithful to the original lore, the changes made are plausible and were laid out in a consistent and credible way;
    • This movie is about a fantasy world, and as a fantasy story, I am of the opinion that this is a very good story, very entertaining and immersive;
    • There were loads of funny moments, with fairly-cliche jokes and lots of easter eggs for the fanbase;
    • I think that Duncan Jones did an overall very good work with the script and directing the movie, he made choices and some people might like them, others won’t, but solid story and acting nonetheless;
  • Acting
    • The main characters in the film were very personable and while some people might relate more with Durotan, Orgrim or Draka, and others will relate more with Lothar or Garona, all the audience can relate to some character because they have the same sort problems real people have on a daily basis – as I said, they’re personable;
    • On the other end of the spectrum, the “bad guys” (Blackhand, Gul’dan) are typical bad guys but Ben Foster was quite good at fleshing out Medivh’s fight between his good and bad (corrupt) sides;
    • I’m not going to pretend I’m a huge expert in acting and have the ability to say what is and isn’t good acting, but I can say if I felt actor A or actress B performed in a way that I felt was convincing or portrayed the character in a way it made me like that character. With that said, my personal opinion is that Paula Patton surprised me with Garona and I loved every scene of Rob Kazinsky’s Orgrim. The character I liked the most was Khadgar, closely followed by Gul’dan and Durotan. So kudos to Ben Schnetzer, Daniel Wu and Toby Kebbel, you made credible and strong performances. A word of appreciation to Tom Clancy, Ruth Negga and Anna Galvin, I would’ve liked to have seen more of Blackhand, Lady Taria and Draka, respectively;
    • In parallel, I felt Dominic Cooper and Travis Fimmel to be a bit disconnected as I couldn’t really feel much connection to King Llane and Lothar, respectively;
  • Pace
    • The pace of the movie is quite fast, which can lead to some people who aren’t familiar with the lore to feel a bit lost here and there. However, one has to understand that the movie is based on a story that was written over many books and whenever you make any movie based on a book, there is no other way than stripping out a lot of detail from the book(s), else you’d have a 10h-long movie. The same thing happened with Lord of the Rings trilogy, where a lot of fans criticized the movie for only showing a very small amount of what was in the book;
    • For the same reason, there are several points in the movie where scenes were laid out to support sequels and those are obvious for those who know the lore, and left the feeling that this will lead somewhere for those who don’t. I think this was a good move, this movie literally screams for sequels. Yes, I used plural, one sequel is not enough;
  • Graphics
    • I deliberately left this aspect to the end because I think it is a cornerstone of this movie. There’s only one way I can define the CG used in the movie and that is: AMAZING! No, seriously, I always thought to myself and said it many times – if the guys doing the movie get the Orcs right, they already won. And that’s EXACTLY what happened in this movie. The orcs are simply AWESOME! They look real, credible, even in scenes with hundreds/thousands of orcs, and surprisingly personable! You can easily relate with these huge beasts who are very aggressive and all, but happen to have feelings;
    • The magic in the movie is absolutely amazing and credible, I wish we had magic effects like this in-game! This was extremely surprising, it’s so much better than any other magic effects I’ve seen in any other movie, ever!;
    • The landscapes are breathtaking, to say the least. Even if you don’t know the locations, they’re still very eye-candy;
    • I would go as far as saying that ILM did such a good job on the CGI that Warcraft: The Beginning’s graphics are probably the best I’ve ever seen in any movie, definitely better than the ones we saw on movies like Avatar or Planet of the Apes;
  • Sound
    • All the music and sound effects are top notch, especially the tone of the Orcs’ voice, really thundering strong voices!

For all of the reasons stated above, I’d say this is quite a good movie to see and I will definitely see it more than once. If I would advise anyone to do anything, was to go see the movie and form your own opinion. You might agree or disagree entirely or partially with me, this is just my personal opinion. But please don’t dispute anything said above if you haven’t seen the movie yourself. Criticizing something lacking knowledge, just based on someone else’s opinion is just plain stupid.

Yes, it wasn’t the most enlightening movie of all time that changed my life entirely from a philosophical standpoint, it’s not an Oscar/Grammy/whatever awards you prefer contender, but it’s definitely a very good entertaining fantasy movie with awesome special effects that anyone in your family can actually see and feel connected to. For that, I’d give it a solid 7/10 rating and advise everyone to go see it.

Finally, I’d just want to say that this was, by far and large, the best game adaptation movie I’ve ever seen, much better than Tomb Raider and any other fairly decent game-movies, and million light years away from the horrible Uwe Bol’s movies.