“Warcraft: The Beginning”

2016, Rated PG-13

Written by: Charles Leavitt, Duncan Jones

Directed: Duncan Jones

Cast: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky, Clancy Brown, Daniel Wu, Ruth Negga, Anna Galvin, CallumKeith Rennie, Burkely Duffeld

warcraft-poster

The film version of the highly successful online video game, “World of Warcraft,” Warcraft: The Beginning arrived in theaters in 2016 to high expectations from both the studio and the dedicated players of the game.

Full disclosure: I haven’t played the game. Not because I don’t like that style of game; far from it. I have an aversion to paying for a game, then being required to continue to pay to play that game. Over the years, this rule has kept me from playing WoW, Everquest, Dark Age of Camelot, and who knows how many others.

But, since I love a good fantasy movie, I figured it was time to buckle down and watch this one, since I had missed it in the theater.

Wait: did I say a good fantasy movie? Sorry about that.

Warcraft is anything but good.

I will give it credit for a decent story idea, but any potential for that story to be exploited was undone by the exhausting mish-mash of mediocrity that surrounded it. The effects were of terrible quality, bordering on video game levels, which only reminded of me of the roots of this tale. It felt like one big cut-scene, always with exposition and “plot-furthering” combats.

The dialogue often felt as if it had been cribbed straight from Generic Fantasy Novel, and the actors portrayals were of little help. Even Ben Foster, who played the Guardian, barely managed to brush up against a convincing performance here.

The combat scenes, such as they were, were laughably bad, mostly because they often took place between flesh and blood humans and CGI orcs, which made the mechanics unbalanced and interactions unconvincing.

Finally, as the title suggests, this film was supposed to be the first in a franchise, and the ending felt more like a middle awaiting the anticipated sequel, but by then, I didn’t care whether or not the story was going to continue, or in what direction the filmmakers were planning to take it.

If they even had a plan.

Therefore, sadly, I must advise against Warcraft: The Beginning.

No amount of wanting it to be good can make it so.

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