May 27, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Geek Review: Warcraft (NO SPOILERS)

This may be the best movie based on a video game I have ever seen. Please note it is also the only movie based on a video game I have ever seen.

I made more than my fair share of jokes about the quality of this movie before it came out.  Heck, I even posted better trailers alongside the trailers for this movie on occasion.

So, why did I go see it?

Well, I went to see it for a couple reasons.

The first was morbid curiosity.  Very morbid curiosity.

The second was, well, the site always needs new material.  If Gabbing Geek is to be anything, it needs new and fresh material, and if we were a professional geek site, someone would have to view and review the movie.  We aren’t a professional site, or if we are, no one told me (where’s my money, Ryan, in the event this is a pro site?), but we can pretend to be one and review an obvious geek movie.

And third, I do actually play World of Warcraft.  I started again recently.  I enjoy the game, so let’s see how the movie turned out.  Especially since I wasn’t expecting much.

Not expecting much means I am less likely to be crushed if it isn’t good.

Well, let’s list the positive things for the movie:

  • The CGI largely works.  Yeah, there’s a real cartoonish look to the movie, but it matches the game.  The orcs, the main orcs anyway, looked pretty good.
  • The movie managed to recreate the look of the game world very well.
  • Plenty of nods to game lore and with game easter eggs.  Look!  A murloc!
  • The final twist at the end that causes the status quo between the newly formed Alliance and the invading Horde actually somewhat worked.
  • Ben Foster, as human mage Medivh the Guardian, and Toby Kebbell, as orc chieftain Durotan, gave decent performances, Kebbell particularly as the orc protagonist.  Neither was particularly noteworthy, but neither were terrible either.
  • Was that Glenn Close in an unbilled cameo?  Yes, it was.
  • Fans of AMC’s Preacher series may get a kick out of Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga, that show’s Jesse and Tulip, playing the King and Queen of Stormwind.  Wikipedia tells me they’re actually dating.

So, that’s a lot of positives.  Did I like the movie?


Look, Warcraft, both the game and the movie, isn’t really all that original.  It borrows heavily from every fantasy setting you can think of, especially Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.   I logged into the game to play a bit after the movie and what chat I saw about the movie there showed the game’s players liked it, but for the life of me, I can’t see someone who’s never played the game getting much out of it.  The easter eggs were the sorts of things players would recognize, and while little was pertinent to the plot of the movie, the game lore was, and that lore meant characters or races that players would recognize would mean nothing to others.  I’ve played the game so I got something out of it.

And, as it is, I didn’t get much.  To the movie’s credit, someone realized that players can play either Alliance or Horde, so both sides have to have sympathetic characters as well as villains.  But most of the characters were not particularly well-defined or interesting.  Heck, many of the performances were dull to (in one prominent case) bad.  I wouldn’t call the movie bad, as the visual razzle dazzle went a long way, but the movie wasn’t helped by a lack of compelling characters that I could come to care about, and that’s a problem.  A sense of humor might have helped too, or at least one where the jokes actually worked.

So, let’s say the final movie gets six out of ten unexpected sheep.