Video game movies are rarely good, but Warcraft looked like it might just break the mold. The Warcraft game franchise already has an intriguing lore, a rich world, and loads of potential. Plus, World of Warcraft is constantly attracting new fans, both young and old. Unfortunately, this is a bland, slow, overstuffed, joyless, pretentious mess that only the most forgiving fanboys and fangirls will enjoy. Warcraft makes Ratchet & Clank and The Angry Birds Movie look like masterpieces by comparison. Is this the worst video game movie ever, though? Well… let’s take a look.
Unless you’ve played Blizzard Entertainment’s real-time strategy game, you’ll have no idea what’s going on in this big screen adaptation. What makes this especially ironic is that the story couldn’t be more simplistic at its bare bones. In short, the movie is about a war between orcs and humans. That might not sound especially complex or difficult to follow. Warcraft spends so much time bombarding the audience with information and exposition, however, that the plot eventually becomes completely incomprehensible.
To give Warcraft a little credit, it’s clear that the filmmakers didn’t want to just make a mindless action picture. They try to work in some thoughtful conversations and character development. The problem is that the writing is soulless and the characters are all empty shells. The entire cast, which includes Travis Fimmel as the fearless Sir Anduin Lothar and Toby Kebbell as a noble orc named Durotan, are unbelievably dull. The film’s most interesting character is a half-human/half-orc named Garona Halforcen (Paula Patton), but even she’s not given much to work with. It also doesn’t help that Garona sounds like a lisping Sylvester the Cat and looks like a rip-off of Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Since we don’t care about the people involved, it’s hard to get invested in any of the massive battle sequences full of lifeless CGI armies. The action itself is phenomenally unimaginative, particularly when stacked up against Game of Thrones or Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. Heck, Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy was more creative and whimsical than this dreck. Even the people who made that Dungeons & Dragons movie would likely fall asleep watching Warcraft. How is it possible that the Make Love, Not Warcraft episode of South Park turned out more epic than a $160 million motion picture?
Despite being an utter bore, Duncan Jones’ film does admittedly capture the look of Blizzard’s hit game. The set design is inventive, the visuals are mostly state of the art, and every inch of the film is packed with bright colors. The orcs in particular are technical marvels, brought to life by some of the most impressive motion capture effects since Avatar. So at the very least, Warcraft is less painful to sit through than any of Uwe Boll’s video game movies. Even if it’s not the worst video game movie ever, though, Warcraft still offers no identifiable characters, no compelling storylines, no inspired action, and virtually nothing to justify its existence. What else can be said except, game over.