For The Horde! – Review of Warcraft
I haven’t posted a movie review in ages, but this particular one is definitely warranted because of all the hate the movie is getting online.
I watched the film tonight, and I thought it was fantastic. Then, I went on the internet and drank a big ol’ jug of haterade that was thrown at me from all the reviewers. Most of the criticisms of this film are that it doesn’t really make sense, and that it doesn’t have any of the hallmarks of a blockbuster Hollywood films with similar settings. There’s no quippy humor, no extended intense dialogue, etc…
Here’s the deal folks; the movie was made for Warcraft fans. If you don’t have an understanding of the lore, then most of the film will seem like random plot points without any explanation. The word Stormwind doesn’t mean anything to you? Can’t identify the fishy thing in the pond as a Murloc? Don’t already know what Gul’dan’s motivation is? Then you probably shouldn’t watch the movie. You will be asking yourself too many questions to understand, let alone enjoy, the ridiculously immersive experience that this movie is meant to be. The movie doesn’t engage in what is, in my opinion, the completely unnecessary labor of explaining a tremendous amount of background to make the film appealing to all audiences. It just doesn’t bother. It seems to me that most of the reviewers writing about the movie had a very rudimentary knowledge of the Warcraft universe, if any knowledge at all.
If you are a fan, though, this movie is a must see, not only because it’s great on its own, but because you can totally geek out in anticipation of what will hopefully be many more to come. The visual effects are nothing short of revolutionary, reifying what would otherwise be completely fantastic characters. Everything from the costume design to the glorious aerial shots of Stormwind are near perfection. There are criticisms of the dialogue online, but I thought that was great as well. It lacked all the typical epic fantasy film tropes that we’ve come to expect from Hollywood. This is Warcraft; it should be different. Almost every part of the movie is a remarkable triumph.
I say almost because there are some criticisms to be made. The non-orc actors didn’t have the greatest performances. Fimmel’s and Foster’s performances were both quite underwhelming. I didn’t feel Medivh’s raging internal struggle, and Lothar’s heartbreak at the death of his son seemed pretty half baked. The orcs, though, were excellent. The second criticism, although maybe this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, is that the movie wanted me leaving more. It should’ve been 3 hours and stuffed a lot more delightful Warcraft-ness into the package. I didn’t really want it to end, and my geek taste buds have been left wanting more.
In short, if you’re a fan, don’t believe the negativity you’re reading online, and go watch the movie. If you’re not a fan, don’t bother; chances are you won’t enjoy it anyway.