Warcraft: The Beginning (2016)

Review by CJ

Warcraft The Beginning

Duncan Jones

Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Schnetzer, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Daniel Wu

Other notable appearances:
Robert Kazinsky, Clancy Brown, Anna Galvin, Callum Keith Rennie, Burkely Duffield, Ruth Negga

Running time:
123 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
World of Warcraft (video game), Maleficent, Lord of the Rings

When Gul’dan (Wu) uses fel magic to bring an orc horde to Azeroth, it is up to humans King Llane Wrynn (Cooper), Anduin Lothar (Fimmel), Medivh (Foster) and Khadgar (Schnetzer) to stop Gul’dan from using humans to power the fel. Along the way they acquire some unlikely allies, but will this alliance be enough to stop the horde?

As an avid World of Warcraft player, I had been looking forward to a Warcraft film for many years. There have been whispers, rumours and speculation for close to a decade. The resulting film is a magnificent fantasy suitable for Warcraft players, World of Warcraft players and the uninitiated alike. The group I went with to see Warcraft: The Beginning had one person from each of these demographics and we all loved it.

Warcraft: The Beginning includes a wide range of characters and focuses on the First War between the orcs and humans. While some creative liberties are taken, none of them adversely affect the overall storytelling. Similarly the abundance of characters has been handled in such a way that it doesn’t feel overwhelming or crammed in.

There is a very funny streak running through Warcraft: The Beginning which does help lighten the often heavy subject matter. The humour is both quick and witty. The film also includes some homages for fans of the games which made me laugh out loud.

Visually Warcraft: The Beginning is breathtaking and spectacular. Admittedly there were a few moments early on where you could easily spot the fake skull or the plastic shield. However, as a whole, Warcraft: The Beginning has great CGI, beautiful scenery and aesthetically intense battle sequences.

Speaking of the battle sequences. Often in films depicting fantasy wars or battles, the fight scenes go on until you no longer care who lives or dies, just so long as the sequence finally ends. This is not the case with Warcraft: The Beginning. Battles are featured throughout and are amazing to watch. However, they are direct and well edited to ensure they do not run unnecessarily long.

Overall, Warcraft: The Beginning is not only the year’s best fantasy film but in my opinion it is the best video game adaptation in cinema at this point. If you enjoy epic stories set in a fantasy universe, I cannot recommend Warcraft: The Beginning enough.

5 Stars

“I prefer my enemies holding an axe, not a baby.”

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