Move over, Peter Jackson. Warcraft is here and it blows your stinking Lord of the Rings trilogy out of the fires of Mount Doom. The game is the best game that there ever was or ever will be and this movie is the best movie that ever was or will be.
Sure, the Lord of the Rings offered a sweeping story of good versus evil and Warcraft has something about a bland, white, bearded, Game of Thrones-rejected king who must defend his lands from cartoon characters who in turn are fighting against themselves because of some magical green mist-goo.
And sure, the Lord of the Rings had a bunch of characters you cared for immensely because they were well developed and had believable relationships with one another, whereas Warcraft has a bunch of people and cartoons with forgettable names who are too cool to care if you don’t give a damn about any of them. I almost cried when the son of that one bearded white dude (not the king) died even though he’d only had a minute of screen time leading up to that point.
And surely sure, the Lord of the Rings had terrific performances, while Warcraft succeeds in allowing several–not just one–actor deliver career-worst performances (Ben Foster and Paula Patton, congratulations!).
And yes, the Lord of the Rings had epic battle scenes where the stakes were high and the action built upon itself over time, whereas Warcraft doesn’t bother with such trivial things as suspense, excitement or build-up.
But Warcraft does have some things going for it. The visual effects aren’t nearly as heinous as they looked in the previews; some are actually quite good (though some look ripped from a video game). The movie does have entertaining stretches, when it’s not as boring as a Mordor sunrise.
Sadly, it does have a few weaknesses, even though it is the best movie that ever was and ever will be. The story, for people who have never played the game (like me!), is confusing and bland, and many of the developments that occur are downright baffling (especially involving the various cartoon Orc allegiances). The dialogue is often horrendous. And the movie takes itself way too seriously, when, given the subject matter, it should have embraced its ridiculousness and been Orc-balls-to-the-wall bonkers.
But aside from those minor issues, Warcraft is amazing.
Okay, let’s be real: Warcraft isn’t terrible, but it’s still pretty bad. It’s a movie that might have been successful ten years ago when fandom was at its peak, but only true believers will enjoy this colorful but mind-numbing clunker.
But it’s still amazing.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.