Borecraft. Snorecraft. Meh is an expression that wouldn’t cut it for this arduous film about … what takes up two hours of screen time. The bar has decidedly been lowered for movies based on video games and Warcraft is no different.
Warcraft is slow, replete with mythos you have no clue about even after the lackluster expositional scenes. It has a story so drab and witless that you’re better off viewing security cam footage of someone sawing wood for a more dramatic viewing experience.
What Warcraft lacks in the ‘feels’ – it also lacks in the acting department where either due to miscasting or a lack of a budget for A-listers, you’re left mostly unaffected by the deaths of tertiary characters with no real sense of peril about anything in the world that the wars inhabit.
Dominic Cooper has never looked this bored on screen and there’s a part of me that almost reached out the screen to offer him a health and vitality tonic so that he begins to act or act out at some point. Travis Fimmel plays the forgettable and mostly regrettable human warrior on whom the tale is centered as a rather ‘What’s his name again’ protagonist (who looks like the love child of Leo DiCaprio and Channing Tatum). Fimmel has the collective charisma and acting process of a battery powered toothbrush without any batteries and disappoints more than a burger without any meat.
Durotan, the chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan – from the Orcs side is the only character with some bandwidth but we don’t get enough of him on the screen to truly care for him. Paula Patton looks menacing and seductive and looks a tad unsure of what she’s doing in this mess of a film.
As far as story logic goes, things are made to be more complex than they actually are. A rogue portal is opened when a form of black magic and dark witchcraft is applied by a sore orc sorcerer and this bends the equation between the perpetually tense Orcs and perpetually paranoid humans whose world is on the verge of destruction. Will the promise of spoil bring the 2 legendary enemies together or will it make matters terse? The clash of magic comes to a head in a socio-political debate that you couldn’t care two hoots about as wolves who resemble tigers and birds who resemble horses get thrown into the mix for good measure.
At the end of the pipeline, you’re now a part of a wannabe fantasy genre flick with none of the speculation or character building of Game of Thrones (a success at the fantasy knights and capes genre), none of the memorability and adrenaline of Lord of the Rings (a classic indeed).
Instead, you’re stuck with sloppy narrative roadbuilding, bloated senses of purpose that feel tacked on and a movie that is as forgettable as it is regrettable. Duncan Jones showed so much potential in his directorial debut – Moon. This feels like a disappointing follow-up film that you’d be better off not following at all.
It’s also strange that throughout my experience of this film, it felt like the second movie of a trilogy (let alone a first) presuming that the viewers are up to speed with a lot that’s happening on screen.
While the VFX budget seems to have been put to excellent use, the heart is missing from this tale of extravagant ideas and trivial ordeals.
With no memorable lines or performances, it’s no wonder that Warcraft has sunk to the depths of joylessness to join its other video-game adapted friends.