You don’t have to be a gamer to fall in love with “Warcraft”. In fact, you might enjoy it better if you’re not.
In this modern adaptation of massive video game World of Warcraft, you’re given the opportunity to go on a full escape adventure. In a hodgepodge of the magical world of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, this film brings you into two worlds that are colliding between the humans and the fantastical orc beasts in the World of Warcraft. Directed by Duncan Jones, Warcraft casts some heavy hitters to the big screen, including Dominic Cooper, Paula Patton, and Daniel Wu, among others.
Central to the film’s plot are the orcs invading the lands of the humans (Stormwind) and a subsequent and inevitable war between the two species taking place. An orc, Durotan, reveals himself as a protagonist when he gets a change of heart towards the humans and comes to the realization that Gul’dan, ruthless leader of the orcs, will end up killing everyone if he is not stopped. Unlike most films, Warcraft doesn’t overly focus on the story of one character, rather every character is given ample screen time and a chance to explain their backstories.
Almost halfway into the film, we’re introduced to orc-human breed Garona (Paula Patton), who is saved by the humans. Like many plots, this film falls into the ‘white savior’ complex, and though subtle, still is a bit inundated. It’s almost reminiscent of the plight of the native americans against colonial settlers and the labeling of the latter as aggressive, beastly, and uncivilized. My one criticism is that Jones did not seek to put an end to the overused correlation of the antagonist brown people being rescued by the protagonist white people.
Critics have accused Jones of attempting and failing to tie in multiple plots which end up confusing the audience, but I disagree. As a viewer with no background knowledge of the video game and its plots, I was able to immerse myself in the film and if you paid attention long enough, all the components connected to make sense. Perhaps if you are an avid gamer and you know all the ins and outs of the game and innuendos, this film might disappoint. Duncan’s attempt to appease all viewers (not just Warcraft aficionados) may have been where he went wrong and disappointed a subset of loyal fans who had higher expectations.
Where the film went right comes in the form of visual appeal. The project’s $160 Million budget was not lost on us, as the film’s CGI animations could have gone toe to toe with Avatar – seriously. Watching in IMAX 3D, every scene pulled you into its virtual reality.
The ending, however, can only be described as anticlimactic. So many main characters perished, you almost hoped for a sort of happy ending – but, alas, there were none. If you enjoyed the film, the one thing you have to look forward to is the rumored sequel to Warcraft, which might hopefully save us from the cliffhanger that we were ultimately left with.
Warcraft is out in theaters now. Check out the official trailer.