The game was great, the trailer looked good, and the film is not bad. It’s not nearly as bad as the critics want you to believe. In-fact, I had a great time with it. The visual effects are sensational and the very idea of Orcs and men fighting nearly hand to hand found takers with me. The story revolves around a world of Orcs that is on the brink of destruction. In search of a survivable world the Orcs led by Gul’dan makes their way to Azeroth, a realm inhabited by humans. The Orcs come to this world through a portal that Gul’dan opens using a dark energy source known as the Fel. The Fel has the power to take life from one animal and use it as a source of power and healing for another.
The portal is fueled by this Fel. Once in Azeroth the Orcs start taking human captives and amassing their world to gather enough energy for the Fel to open the portal for a duration that will be enough for the rest of the Orcs to travel through it to Azeroth. Durotan (Toby Kebbell) one of the chieftains of the Orcs’ clans sees nothing but destruction and death in the plans of Gul’dan. He decides to forge an alliance with the humans and take down Gul’dan so that both Orcs and humans can live in peace forever. The humans are led by a benevolent and brave king and his trusted general Lothar (Travis Fimmel). In the midst of all this there is a half breed among the Orcs known as Gorona (Paula Patton) who ends up with the human and who might just hold the key to forging peace between the two species.
Anyone who decides to watch this film will be primarily for the action and the visual effects. The film scores heavily on these departments. ILM has created some sensational visual imagery here. The material also provided the visual artists with a gigantic range. This is a film which has orcs, humans, large scale battles, magic and for that matter a Hippogriff. Each of the visual aspects are beautifully brought to life. The Orcs are the best rendered. The facial expression especially are so stunning that it will give you goosebumps. their physicality is captured with aplomb too. Watch out for the scene in the end when two Orcs face off. The sheer might of the blows landed can be felt. The large scale battle sequences are terrific. The sight of Orcs smashing humans with blows and bare fists has to be seen to fully grasp the power of it. The fights through the jungles are also rendered with finesse. The sequences involving magic are smooth. There is a lot of teleportation and spell chucking and they make it look imaginative.
The film’s greatest strength are the Orcs and especially Durotan. His story has meat and his character has a true arc which unfortunately the human characters lack. If the Orcs do great, the humans are left one dimensional and I never for once felt anything for them. There in lies the film’s greatest failure. For this film to work, the humans had to be affective. Their misery and grief should have meant and extracted emotions from the viewers but that isn’t the case and so the effectivity of the narrative is lost. The film is reduced to only a visual slugfest relying totally on the eye-grabbing VFX to compensate for its lack of depth in the principal characterization.
The film tries to make up for it shortfalls by introducing some twists and turns in terms of characters which again doesn’t work for the best. The fact that the character in question portrayed by Ben Foster hams and over does his bit only makes the matter worse. Even the character of Paula Patton seems too theatrical. She is wasted in a role which could have used some toning down. I even felt that the character of Travis Fimmel had absolutely no feel for it. He was just reading through his lines and moving through the motion. There was nothing in terms of emotions even when he lost his son. He was back cracking jokes in a while. That’s just poor writing which took the actor and the film down with it.
Overall, Warcraft could have been a great film. It could have been so much owing to its source material and the fact that it has such a rich thematic palate but it just ends up being a visual treat with very little heart in terms of performances and character development. The film gets top marks for action and visual effects but that alone cannot make up for the gaping holes in the script and performances. A more thought-out film would have made it even more visually appealing. Still it is a film which deserves at-least a watch for its resplendent visual effects and action.
Rating : 3/4 (3 out of 5 Stars)