Based on the wildly popular game series Warcraft (1994-2003) and its evolution World of Warcraft (2004 – present), Warcraft finally arrives in theaters for the first time. Set on Draenor, the dying Orc planet, we find a convergence of clans from around the lands amassed at a stone portal. Led by the Orc Warlock Gul’dan (Daniel Wu), the first wave of his army known as the Horde crosses over into the new world. Durotan (Toby Kebbell), the chieftain of the Frostwolf clan has his doubts about the operation but, joins the first wave, sneaking his pregnant wife Draka (Anna Galvin) along with the crowd. As history tells us, invading parties to a new world usually spells doom for the locals. King Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper), ruler of the Stormwind Region learns of the threat and consults Medivh (Ben Foster), guardian of Trisfal. The Guardian is charged with defending planet Azeroth from all that threatens, especially an ancient evil known as The Fell.
To put it bluntly, Warcraft isn’t a good movie. There isn’t anything new, exciting or unique about the film. The one-dimensional characters and formulaic story follow the ‘Epic Medieval Playbook’ perfectly. Though there isn’t a quest that needs 12 hours of screen time to complete like The Lord of the Rings, Warcraft cuts to the chase, wasting little time dealing with trivial things such as logic, continuity or character development. So why would anyone watch Warcraft, or a more appropriately titled film Michael Bay presents: Totally Not Lord of the Rings (and stuff)?
Honestly, because it’s nit that bad. Surely, a product that could be described as epic, should be epic. Though Warcraft gets a lot of things wrong, it has enough high impact action to keep one engaged. Even its shoehorned, totally predictable ending had enough intrigue to leave this viewer anticipating a sequel. 2016 seems to divide it films into three categories: Good, Forgivably Bad and Awful. The 23% rating (at the moment) on Rotten Tomatoes suggests that Warcraft is awful. Not really. If your expectations are lowered and you excuse Paula Patton’s character for being the only Orc on the Universe with dental coverage, Warcraft could be a surprising bit of fun.
Rated: PG-13 @ 123 minutes
Note: IMAX 3D where available