Man, I really wanted to like this one.
Not because I’m big on the video game or anything but because I was really hoping that director Duncan Jones wouldn’t fall into the “first huge movie” trap that has claimed so many others.
Jones, of course, is the creator of Moon, a stunning science fiction movie that does wonders with it’s one actor, and yet with Warcraft, with it’s cast of thousands and complicated world building he wildly goes astray from the get go.
The plot here is an admirable try at least. Avoiding a simple man vs Orc fest in favour of putting heroes on both sides makes the dynamic more interesting than your average good vs evil story but it all gets lost in the rapid fire procession of locales and characters that attempt to paint a picture of a complicated world in the shortest amount of time possible.
The result, while no means awful or unwatchable, did lead to me simply not giving a single crap about anything or anyone. Not exactly a wise move when you’re clearly attempting to build a franchise.
The performances are surprisingly all over the place to. The Orcs all get a pass (with special shout out to Toby Kebbell who once again nails his second mo-cap performance after the vicious Koba from Dawn Of The Planet Of the apes) but the humans are severely lacking. Human lead Travis Fimmel scrapes by using every tic and head tilt he utilises from Vikings and Paula Patton as a half-orc is the exact moment She-Hulk meets Rachel Welch from Ten Thousand BC (green REALLY is her colour). But Preacher stalwarts Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga are surprisingly bad as the King and his sister. And Ben Foster plays his mysterious mage as some kind of prog-rock Jesus and is kinda hard to take seriously.
However as the film trundles along, the movie eventually hits some rather unexpected story beats in the final 20 minutes making the climax oddly downbeat. Again, kudos to the film makers for trying something daring but it really feels like the stakes raising ending to a second film, not the first.
Thankfully Duncan Jones probably won’t fall into the same big budget abyss as say, Josh Trank but this is still a major disappointment from a fledgling talent.
A return to form is needed and would be highly welcome.