I’ve been very vocal on how badly I want ‘Warcraft‘ to do good when it’s released though early reviews from Duncan Jones video game adaptation aren’t looking good. We haven’t had a chance to sit down and view it yet and while I’m still holding out hope that this movie won’t be a mess, it is hard to stay excited with some of the snippets that I’m about to share with you. If the early critics are even half right than our first true hope for an epic video game adaptation won’t hail from the lands of Azeroth.
The funny thing is, the early complaints about CGI in the film are actually what seems to be getting the only praise in reviews. It does sound like it looks pretty but suffers from a weak plot and even worse acting. With Jones and the cast attached that almost doesn’t seem to be possible but that just doesn’t appear to be the case.
Crave Online is the nicest when saying:
We are still waiting for a great video game movie. Maybe we’ll never get one, but a film like Warcraft at least makes it feel like we’re buffering for it. This is an honest attempt to recapture the finer qualities of its source material inside of another medium. When it works, it’s a lot of fun. When it fails, it’s merely an average fantasy adventure that focuses too much on familiar plot devices to make a major impact. But there’s nothing wrong with not being great, so long as you don’t suck. And Warcraft doesn’t suck. It’s a flawed but likable adventure that I would happily go on again, preferably as a double feature with The Beastmaster, Legend or Ladyhawke.
Kotaku is a little harsher saying that Jones completely missed the mark on what parts of the gaming franchise should have even been looked at:
Rather than tapping into the goofy core that makes a game like World of Warcraft interesting, the Warcraft movie aims for grittiness, missing the mark quite a bit. It just doesn’t work. The lore is too campy. This is a world where a mage’s most popular spell transforms his enemies into sheep, yet Warcraft acts as if it’s a green-screen version of Game of Thrones. At my theater, the biggest laughs came not from the occasional bouts of slapstick comedy but from the miserable archmages of Dalaran, whose CGI-enhanced eyes look especially absurd when you’re supposed to take them seriously. I had hoped Warcraft would at a minimum be entertaining, but really, I’ve had more enjoyable two-hour sessions wiping on Molten Core. At least the armor looks good.
Even worse, The Hollywood Reporter thinks that the plot failed to address that most of the moviegoers would be non-gamers:
But if you’ve never played Warcraft the game, can you care about Warcraft the movie? Given the ardent global following of the franchise, will it matter? For non-aficionados, the two-hour experience could be more concise, but it’s no ordeal. Neither, though, is it consistently involving. If you haven’t already invested in the self-serious mythology, it can feel borderline camp, if not downright dull — or both, as when an uncredited Glenn Close intones platitudes from on high about darkness and light. Yet there’s no question that it’s a breakthrough in both storytelling and artistry for features based on video games. And compared with another medieval-ish tale, the soporific Hobbit trilogy, this international production is a fleet and nimble ride, likely to conquer overseas box offices and make a solid stand stateside.
Screen International is one of the ones who don’t just criticize the plot but felt that the motion capture didn’t jive with the live action:
The film (rated PG-13 in the US) ends up feeling unconvincing and generic, with nothing to compare to either the dramatic heft of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy or the raunch and gore of Game of Thrones.
Variety also feels that the movie like many others have passed up on a quality script for eye candy:
With its meticulously detailed realms built out primarily on soundstages and enhanced via CGI during extensive post-production, “Warcraft” aims for fresh and eye-popping and yet ends up shopworn and rather tacky. It fits into a long line of visually audacious Hollywood gambles: In success you wind up with a sleeper that few see coming, like “300” (or, if you strike the bull’s-eye, a phenomenon like “Avatar”), but the ones that miss — “The Spirit,” “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” “Sucker Punch” — tend to tank hard. Boasting more than 2,000 visual effects shots, it’s dispiriting to think about the time, energy, planning and precision that went into “Warcraft” when the final product brings to mind those animated advertisements for iPhone app games. So good at making the most outlandish elements of his first two films seem completely credible, Jones can’t find a way to get this cartoony spectacle to soar. His heartfelt approach to the material only underlines the silliness.
By far the worst, though, is what The Wrap compares it to:
Imagine “Battlefield Earth” without the verve and you get this sludgy, tedious fantasy adventure, a fun-starved dud that’s not even unintentionally hilarious. The cast seems mostly adrift, with only Schnetzer giving what might be considered an actual performance. The usually reliable Foster is reduced to gadding about like a prog-rock Jesus in a series of robes that make him look like he’s posing for the side of someone’s van, and poor Paula Patton gets saddled with a sad pair of novelty-store fangs. (To her credit, she makes the green body makeup work; if the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever expands to include superhero-with-a-law-degree She-Hulk, we’re looking at a real contender here.) “Warcraft” promises, or threatens, sequels, but then so did “Super Mario Bros.” And come to think of it, if forced to watch either of these video-game movies a second time, I’d probably vote for the plumbers.
‘Battlefield Earth’? With Jones at the helm, I had such high hopes for this being good and one review after another has just thrown this under the bus to possibly be one of the biggest flops of the year. At the very least it sounds like we’ll be getting something visibly spectacular if not worth a watch a second time to catch the plot.
Do you still have high hopes for ‘Warcraft’ or are they fading away? Share your thoughts below!
The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: Orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people, and their home. So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.
‘Warcraft’ will be warring into theaters on June 10th, 2016!
Stuart Conover is an author, blogger, and all around geek. When not busy being a father and husband he tries to spend as much time as possible immersed in comic books, science fiction, and horror! Would you like to know more? Follow him on Twitter!