Warcraft: The Beginning (2016)
Director: Duncan Jones
We now live in an age where if a video game is hugely successful, there’s a chance a movie will be made about it and that movie will not only be fun beyond measure but it will do the game justice. World of Warcraft is a game I spent a couple of years slaving away on in my youth until I could not longer get on with the lack of TLC Blizzard tended to show it. All it needed was smoothing over, the graphics are now painfully dated and cannot stand up to the games being churned out in 2016 but at the time, World of Warcraft was the MMORPG place to be. I can see the film gaining WoW some new subscribers (especially seen as with some tickets, you got free gametime) but how long they will stick around for is yet to be seen.
For those unfamiliar with the Warcraft lore, maps, history, characters, races etc I can imagine you were left feeling nothing short of bewildered. I hope at the very least you soaked up the visual spectacle it turned out to be but I would understand you leaving confused and frustrated. I will try to clear up a little bit of information the best I can (I had to research some of this myself, as I said, it’s been years. I’ve had a child and slept a shitload since then.)
The orcs are from a planet called Draenor. Durotan (the orc above) is the leader of the Frostwolf Clan and the Frostwolf Clan is part of the orcish horde. This is what the orcs are referring to when they say the horde, it is an assembly of orcish clans. His partner is Draka, the lady orc you saw him being all adorable with and their son, the baby that Draka sent down the river is called Go’el. Go’el grows up to be a major character within the universe of Warcraft, he becomes known as Thrall.
Garona, the pretty half orc-half draenei that has the hots for Lothar is kept as a slave by Gul’dan. You remember Gul’dan? The huge orc that makes all the green magic and opens the gate. He is evidently, a baddie. He trades the orc world (Draenor) to some demons in exchange for their power. Once Draenor is pretty much destroyed, he leads the horde through the Great Gate to Azeroth, the planet which the other races come from. On Azeroth, you’ll find the humans, dwarves, gnomes, tauren, trolls, night elves, blood elves, draenei, the undead etc.
King Llane, the self-sacrificing babeliest of babes is the King of Stormwind which is the southernmost part of the human kingdom in Azeroth. Llane is not in the game as where you pick up in the Warcraft universe, he has already passed and his son Varian is king. In the film we also meet Taria, the Queen of Stormwind and henceforth the wife of King Llane, the mother of Varian and sister to Anduin Lothar. Anduin Lothar is an important figure for the history of the Warcraft universe, especially amongst the humans. There is even a statue of him in game.
The Guardian of Tirisfal (Medivh, the wizard that has to sit in the blue pool to regain his strength) has the job of protecting Azeroth. This position was appointed to him by the Kirin Tor which is essentially an organisation of powerful wizards. Kind of like the Ministry of Magic from Harry Potter (I totally stole that comparison but it’s perfect). The Kirin Tor were in talks of replacing Medivh with Khadgar, the bright eyed and bushy tailed and squishy cheeked whippersnapper that’s always getting heat from Anduin for having his nose in a book but nevertheless, he left his education in Dalaran and pissed them off.
These are characters in the film so I thought maybe putting them into context a little might help those of you that saw the film but know nothing of Warcraft. It might not, I enjoyed this anyway.
The film itself I enjoyed immensely. It doesn’t surprise me that it hit rock bottom at the box office because it did stay true to the roots of the game and that isn’t really for the critics but the ready made fans not to mention most of the main characters were green and we all know how Hollywood feels about “minorities”. BUT this film was so damn good.
Travis Fimmel (Anduin Lothar) is a favourite actor of mine and plays one of my favourite TV show characters, Ragnar Lothbrok in Vikings. Anduin IS Ragnar. Ragnar IS Anduin. He was perfect casting.
I don’t really have any complaints about any of the casting. I feel all actors fit their characters well and they all did a good job of portraying the OTT fantasy air of the film and that armour. Man, if I don’t see awards given out to the costume department, there is no justice in this world.
Hats off as well to whomever said “girls are warriors too” because we saw female warriors on the orc side and the human and as a female myself, it’s always nice to see. It wasn’t forced on you either, it wasn’t someone screaming LOOK GIRLS WE USED GIRLS, it was natural. I’m a happy lady.
The CGI was outstanding. Each and every orc looked different and unique which is highly commendable. Down to different make-up, piercings, hairstyles and colourings to represent the clans. What really gripped me though was the magic. The magic wielded specifically by Medivh and Khagar looked so impressive, it genuinely looked as if they wielded it themselves and it wasn’t superimposed over the top of their film reel. It looked more believable then the Harry Potter movies. Yeah, I said it.
Overall, this film isn’t everyone. If you enjoy the fantasy genre as a rule though, of course it’s for you. You know it is.
For fans of: World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings, wizards and magic and swords and shit.