He SAID: The (CG) Art of War(craft)

Scott F. Evans

The good news is that Warcraft – the Duncan Jones helmed adaptation of the massively popular video game – isn’t a complete train-wreck.  The bad news is that if you’re not a fan of the game, the movie is nearly impenetrable.  It’s so fan-centric that it almost repels casual viewers.  Jones and screenwriter Charles Leavitt play hard to the base and expect the rest of us to play catch up.

Or not.

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The problem with Warcraft is that we’ve seen all of this before.  We’ve seen the knights and the magic and the computer generated creatures.  We’ve been watching this movie since Peter Jackson kicked off his Lord of the Rings/Hobbit Trilogies way back in 2001.  Game of Thrones has been doing it every week since it debuted in 2011.  The only thing that Jones has done differently is give equal screen time to his lumbering Orc protagonists.  That’s fine, but after we get finished marveling at the insane amount of work the FX team did to bring these characters to life, we still have to suffer through a stale predictable script. There’s not an original moment or fresh take in Warcraft’s entire two hour run-time.  Even the sympathetic non-human story-line has been done (better) with the revamped Planet of the Apes franchise.

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As hard as most of the cast tries, they can’t elevate this hilariously somber script.  There are a few moments of forced levity (which this film desperately needs) but they’re mostly at the expense of one character. The rest of the cast play this like Warcraft is a piece of high-minded theater.  Maybe to hardcore fans of the game, it is.

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As this film preaches to its already converted masses, the rest of us remain disconnected.  Warcraft is not a good film. It’s indulgent, banal and more than a little impressed with itself. But it’s not a terrible film either. It’s just so laser focused on satisfying its gamer audience that it forgot to entertain the rest of us as well.

RATING: Wait for it to hit home video.  Maybe.


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