(I labelled this 'Contains Spoilers' but I am not mentioning anything in particular. Someone might disagree so I figured safety first.) I grew up playing Warcraft II and III extensively. When I heard a Warcraft film was in the making I thought this to be a good thing. There was so much material to draw from. So I went to see it at my local Cineworld on the opening day (30 May here in the UK).
Sadly the film does not deliver. With so many characters to keep track of and so little time for them all, I found that I didn't really care about the fates of any of them. It didn't help that two characters looked very similar and it was hard to tell them apart.
Then there was the acting. Ye Gods. I imagine this might pick up a few Razzie nominations. One particular line was so woodenly delivered I thought I was watching the Phantom Menace.
The plot was simple enough but because they were leapfrogging from character to character it didn't really have a chance to truly get interesting. For this film to do its characters justice it would need to have been six hours long.
They should have stripped away maybe eight or nine of the 12 main characters and focused on them. Plot is character. Character is plot. This was drummed into me in university. If you want us to care about the characters then give us time to see them fail, win, live, love. With one a few to focus on you can then develop the plot. Throw some emotion in there. They want to go the serious route? Fine. Make it serious then. But give us things to care about. Show us some character depth. Don't just throw a bunch of characters and names at us, expecting us to be so 'wowed' (no pun intended) that we forget that we're really just watching a mediocre advert for World of Warcraft. Because that's what it felt like.
Why am I being so critical of a film about orcs and humans? Why can't I just give it a 10 because I loved playing the games? Because I loved playing the games. See, when you really like something you want it to be as good as it can be when they do a film based on it later. Also, despite a few mediocre jokes the film wanted to go the 'serious' route. So I have to treat it seriously. And not go into 'fanboy mode' and give it a 10/10. Because this is not a 10/10 film.
Maybe it's all the Marvel films' fault, going in with a huge amount of characters. Somehow they pull it off, though. Warcraft didn't. They say 'go big or go home' but in this case they should've started off with something smaller. There are enough fans for this to make a profit. I don't know if they should make a second one, though. Because if this first one is so bad but makes money, I don't think they'll learn from this mistake. They don't care about making a good Warcraft film. But that's the industry's problem in general and a debate for another day.
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