Commentaries

Monday, June 13, 2016

VIDEOGAME TO FILM WITH APLOMB



WARCRAFT

Film Review by Fiore 


WARCRAFT is an enjoyable, fun movie.  It’s filled with action, fantasy, interesting characters and a decent story.  The special effects (SFX) are first rate, it has a rousing score and is exceptionally well paced.  It is well worth the price of admission, and will provide a quite enjoyable evening’s entertainment.

In the mien of full disclosure, I must admit I have never played the game.  I’ve never even seen the game, know nothing of its characters, storylines nor parameters.  I consider this a major advantage, and not a distraction.  When DOOM was released, with Dwayne Johnson and Carl Urban, I also knew nothing about the game.  As such, I thought the movie was a fairly respectable action sci-fi flick.  Afterwards, when I discovered the movie erased all the religious components of the game, I saw the film in a different light, and had to admit the story of the game was considerably better.
So far, I’ve not talked to anyone about the World of Warcraft game, save to have one person tell me the movie is a bit of a prequel to the game’s action.  As such, I thoroughly enjoyed this film, even though, given the track record of video games transformed into movies, I had major reservations going into the theatre.

Technically, WARCRAFT boasts the finest CGI FX of any film I’ve seen in the past five years.  Usually keen on my radar, I spotted no poor matting, proportional distortions, or inappropriate features or movements.  This places WARCRAFT higher than the rash of superhero movies of late.  Credit Cinematographer and Production Designer Simon Duggan and Gavin Bocquet, respectively, for the film’s look and Special Effects Coordinator Jason Smith for making the storyboards succeed. Toss in a rousing orchestral score from Ramin Djawadi and WARCRAFT is a feast for the eyes and ears.

KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:

1.      The mountain summit  
2.      The portal conflict
3.      The Moses like basket scene.

The script for WARCRAFT borrows, like most video games do, from various other sources.  There is an interplanetary portal, much like STARGATE; it has interspecies love, as happened so often on STAR TREK; and it borrows, literally, the baby in the basket tale of Moses from the Bible, to name a few.

The story, as adapted by Screenwriter and Director Duncan Jones, tells of the peaceful, civilized world of Azeroth.  Their world is suddenly thrown into major conflict when the Orcs, whose own world of Draenor, dies.  The Orcs decide Azeroth would be an easy place to dominate and establish as a new home.  Lead by an evil wizard, Gul’dan, played by Daniel Wu, the Orcs invade Azeroth only to find the humans, too, have a powerful wizard to help them in Medivh, played by Ben Foster and his apprentice Khadgar, played by Ben Schnetzer.  Led by King Llane Wrynn, played by Dominic Cooper, who is doing a fine job on the AMC series PREACHER in the title role of Jessie Cutler, and Anduin Lothar, played by Travis Fimmel, the war council warrior from Stormwind, the Orcs soon discover the humans are not quite the push-overs originally thought.  This causes Gul’dan to show his true colors and the possible evil behind his magic.  In turn, dissention grows in the Orc ranks, especially among the members of the Frostwolf clan and its chieftain Durotan, played by Toby Kebbell, and his wife Draka, played by Anna Galvin.   While Jones crafts a fine story, it does have a few gaffes.  

There is no real ending to the movie.  It has a conclusion, but leaves so much more to tell.  The set up for further adventures is all too obvious, and with the massive box office draw in China alone, which was upwards of $150 million, it appears more of the world of WARCRAFT is most definitely on the way.  The ending is also a bit abrupt, with a few transitions that occur without the proper set up.  Most glaring is the alteration from Lothar’s attempt to rescue the king’s body to the altercation with Blackhand, played by Clancy Brown.

If I learn more about the game, it’s possible my opinion of WARCRAFT could change.  For now, though, I enjoyed the movie and found it quite entertaining.  It is exceptionally difficult to create entire new worlds, with new creatures and cultures.  This is why most sci-fi novels run 400-500 pages.  To convert new worlds and cultures into a 120-page script is not only difficult, but often controversial.  WARCRAFT gamers might take a contrary view, but I found the celluloid version to be a lot of fun.




THE RATING FOR WARCRAFT = A

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