Warcraft and games

ORCS, humans, wizards, dwarves, elves, blossoming love, and lots of fighting. Director Duncan Jone’s Warcraft seems a lot like Peter Jackson’s cinema adaptation of Tolkien’s Lords of the Rings.

If you watch the movie in an IMAX 3D theatre, the CGI will leave you reeling from the action and the sound is full volumed. The general experience is so immersive, you feel you are part of the movie. You can also catch the movie on a D-Box cinema hall. That should delight fans of videogames.

Warcraft is, in fact, based on the long-running fantasy games series World of Warcraft, which is one of the most-played video game series today.

The movie is about the start of the whole series, how the war between orcs and humans began. And, that’s how the movie opens, with a human called Lothar (Vikings’ Travis Fimmel) fighting a mighty hulk of an orc.

It sets the scene for the story about the fight between orcs who are out to colonise Azeroth, a land of humans who seem to exist in a parallel world.

The orcs are controlled by an evil orc sorcerer Gul’dan (Daniel Wu), whose power leaves in its trail a devastated land. But some of the orcs, one in particular called Duraton (Toby Kebbell) remembers a time when orcs were a better sort of lot, with honour and less killing on their massive claw-like hands.

So, in the land of humans, peace reigns under the rule of King Llane (Dominic Cooper) who has made an alliance with some seven tribes in the land. Like King Arthur of olde England myths, he also holds council at a round table. Hmmm. And one leader is a dwarf who you might remember as Gimli in the LOTR movie franchise.

The humans are aided by the Guardian called Medivh (Ben Foster), who unfortunately is being influenced by an evil force called Fel, which is similar to Gul’dan’s power. Medivh is also sculpting out a giant statue that he wants to bring alive. He calls it a golem. What an odd choice for a name as it stems from a Jewish myth about a clay statue.

Anyway, a young mage, Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer), finally takes over helping the humans, chiefly Lothar, who eventually becomes king. There is a half-human, half-orc called Garona (Paula Patton) who is rescued in a battle and becomes a friend to the humans.

And that’s the tale in the movie, Warcraft. Is this movie from a videogame an entertaining watch? Yes. The story is interesting, although the constant battle between good and evil, and not enough things grey which is what reality is about, is clichéd in movies today.

The motion picture capture is impressive. The theme music is orchestral rather than today’s hip use of pop songs.

Fimmel as Lothar is sexy as always, European accent included, while Schnetzer (of the Book Thief fame) plays his young mage role with vulnerable believability.

I found there was just one too many fight scenes using brute strength rather than strategy, so there are minutes that can be shut-eye moments, even with the munching of popcorn and children’s questions all around. Quite mind-numbing, really.

The orcs are beautiful monsters, with tusks and strange contraptions as decorations on their bodies. They are also more of fleshed out as characters compared to the puny humans. For instance, the relationship between Durotan and his wife played by Anna Galvin is explored in some detail, and their love for their offspring is clearly visible.

At the end, the child is set upon a river by his mum to escape death. Like Moses in the Bible, but will this child be somebody in the sequel? And, yes, there is definitely a sequel.

Video gamers must be thrilled with Warcraft, the movie.

Filed under Arts, Cinema
Subhadra Devan

A journalist who has been writing about culture, arts and heritage since the 1980s. She is herself gobsmacked to have started the Sunday arts pages for English newspapers in Malaysia, in the new millennium. The passion for these genres rages on.

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