Having never played the online game, I had absolutely zero expectations for “Warcraft” going in. Absolutely none. Now, it’s obviously clear that adapting games into films is harder than, say, adapting a book. Games have far more characters, some of them are multi-player and in many cases, you can play from various characters’ points-of-view. So sitting down to try and write a thorough story that still rings true, but is for an entirely different medium can be daunting. “Warcraft” isn’t a particularly good film, although it does try and weave in all of the game’s story elements and tie them together. However, this isn’t enough for the movie itself to be engaging. The characters are not developed enough, either, for us to properly care about what’s happening to them.

In a kingdom far, far away… well, sort of. In the peaceful world of Draenor, the Orcs are trying to get through a portal so that they can save themselves. Draenor is dying and although they know that there are other beings in the new world they’re going to (aka humans), the Orcs are willing to face a possible war if it means their survival. The leader of the Orcs, Gul’dan (Daniel Wu), unites his clan together in order to move forward. The leader of one of the clans, Durotan (Toby Kebbell), suspects that there is dark magic in the midst, but he follows along, his wife and new child in tow.

Meanwhile, in the realm of Azeroth, the head of the king’s army, Lothar (Travis Kimmel), and his men hear whispers about the fel, some sort of dark magic from what I can tell. They’re looking into it when they’re seemingly attacked by Orcs. Letting one of their prisoners go, a half-Orc named Garona (Paula Patton), Durotan escapes and Garona is taken in by Lothar, King Llane (Dominic Cooper), and Lady Taria (Ruth Negga). Garona convinces the Orcs and the people of the seven kingdoms (“Game of Thrones” anyone?) to make peace with each other. But this plan goes down the drain as the much talked about and mysterious Guardian (Ben Foster) warns of something coming that could destroy everything.

The film, which is clearly a labor of love and made for hardcore game fans, is near incomprehensible. In terms of plot and characterizations, it’s all over the place. And while the characters all eventually cross paths and their story lines intersect, the chaos of all that is happening is far too convoluted to make much sense. Everything is very serious and very end-of-the-realm type of deal, and with so much happening, it’s hard to keep track of everything and everyone. The fel is touched upon as being some sort of magic that sways even the best of men, but besides learning that the long-fabled guardian has fallen to its persuasion, it’s not made clear when the fel took over and what caused all of this to happen in the first place.

Visually, “Warcraft” is nice to look at. The Orcs, at least the men, are big and almost ogre-like, their stature and height intimidating. The Orc women, however, are just green with curved and large teeth hanging out the sides of their mouths. They look more human than their male counterparts and this is slightly disappointing. The CGI is pretty decent and the magical essence of everything is mystical. However, it’s the story that is chaotic. There are too many characters, a ton of exposition, and several developments that are probably more complicated than they should be. It’s clear that “Warcraft” is made with a certain demographic in mind. So unless you’re a big fan of the game, then it’s probably not worth going to see.

40%
40%
Forgettable

"Warcraft's" story is chaotic. There are too many characters, a ton of exposition, and several developments that are probably more complicated than they should be. It's clear that "Warcraft" is made with a certain demographic in mind. So unless you're a big fan of the game, then it's probably not worth going to see.

2star

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About Author

Mae is a Washington, DC-based film critic, entertainment journalist and Weekend Editor at Heroic Hollywood. A member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), she's a geek who loves discussing movies and TV. She is also a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. If she's not at the movies, she's catching up on her superhero TV-watching, usually with a glass of wine in hand.

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