I can’t tell you where the word Warcraft actually derives from, however I can tell you that the film acts as an introduction to the age old war between Orcs and Humans. As expected (from the words; The Beginning) the film allow us to view the start of the butterfly effect that will affect major players, entwining their lives in ways that they are yet to be aware of.
Simply put, Warcraft is James Cameron’s Avatar, meets a Universal rated Lord of the Rings, with a dash of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Draenor – The land of the Orc’s – is dying and as such their leader Gul’dan has built a doorway to Azeroth. Using magic syphoned from the living, Gul’dan brings the first wave of her Orc army to the new world. Amongst them is Durotan the chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan, and his pregnant wife Draka. Sensing the shift in Azeroth with the arrival of the Orcs is young mage Khadgar who rallies protagonist Sir Anduin Lothar, to get King Wrynn, ruler of the Stormwind Kingdom, to summon the Guardian Madivh to squash the threat before the danger becomes irreversible.
Sacrifices are made, betrayal is inevitable, and love, loss and friendship are amongst the casualties and strongholds crafted in war (…Ooooh, War-craft, I get it now!). It’s a roller coaster ride of a film, it was a little humorous, there were some decent action scenes and the D list cast members all fit together really well.
Travis Femmel played Lothar spectacularly, namely due to the believability of his characters fluctuating emotions throughout the film, and I normally find Paula Patton a little meh in films, but I bought her as the defiant and confused halfbreed Garona.
Ben Foster was probably the most perfectly cast as Guardian Medivh, the cloak, the magic and those calculating eyes drew me right in. Finally, I was pleasantly surprised to see Dominic Cooper as King Wrynn. I think Cooper is one of those great random actors, kind of like Jude Law used to be – they pop up in every other film you watch as a completely different character and they pretty much nail it every time to an average degree.
For a prequel story… we were pretty much given no introduction and left with a shit load of questions. Why is Garona a prisoner? What is the Guardians job description, and why haven’t they seen Medivh in six years? Where the hell did Gul’dan and The Fell even come from? If this was just a regular old film, I may not have questioned these points… but it’s called Warcraft: The Beginning, not Warcraft: Shhhh We’ll Get To It Later. This was a little annoying as I for one love a good origin story but felt like I was dumped a quarter of the way through the book with no summary of what I’d missed.
In all honesty, despite my incessant complaining, I really enjoyed this film. (Go figure, right?) The graphics were spectacular, namely with the scenery and the creatures, and the actors were chosen really well…. especially Travis Fimmel as Lothar – did I mention that? There is a difference between watching a film you expected to be amazing and coming out thinking it was terrible, and watching a film you never had any expectations for whatsoever, and thinking it was okay. The former can be soul crushingly annoying but the latter can be nice in the sense that it allows you to switch off and watch, instead of over analysing, judging and waiting for expectations to unfathomably be met.