Director: Duncan Jones
Cast: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster
Release Date: September 27, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6.5/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, an unlikely set of heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their families, their people and their home. So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.
Based upon the wildly popular ‘World of Warcraft’ game, the film ‘Warcraft’ takes us back to the beginning, far before the game takes place. When the realm of Azeroth which has remained peaceful for ages is suddenly threatened by an army of battle hardened orc soldiers transported from another world, the inhabitants find themselves in a terrifying predicament when they discover these new enemies intend to claim this realm as their own following the destruction of their own home lands. Now some of Azeroth’s finest warriors and the ever faithful Guardian of their land must race against time in order to help them stop the orc army and the deadly magic their ruler wields before they accomplish their plan of bringing the entire orc horde through the portal and therefore sealing the fate of Azeroth and its inhabitants once and for all.
Directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) from a script he additionally co-wrote with Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond, In The Heart Of The Sea), Jones does a solid job at the helm of ‘Warcraft’ and guides this epic fantasy adventure quite beautifully throughout its often erratic duration. The film also benefits a great deal from a number of talented individuals comprising the cast including Travis Fimmel (TV’s Vikings), Paula Patton (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol), Ben Foster (Lone Survivor), Dominic Cooper (TV’s Preacher), Toby Kebbell (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes), Ben Schnetzer (Snowden), and Clancy Brown (Starship Troopers) along with more, nearly all of whom deliver solid performances in each of their respective roles, whether physical or motion capture performances.
I’m largely unfamiliar with most aspects of the game which serves as its basis, yet as a film in itself ‘Warcraft’ delivers a visually impressive treat of a movie that offers a number of stunning battle sequences and an interesting, magic filled world with plenty of unique sets of characters. While far from a perfect film, it should provide a thoroughly enjoyable and gorgeous popcorn movie experience which I can personally confirm requires no prior knowledge of the game in order to adequately enjoy the film. The effects, action and overall world as well as its inhabitants created here are definitely intriguing and a beauty to behold, yet the often muddled and occasionally goofy plot and a frequent sense of feeling rushed do harm it to a degree, the consistent jumping between characters and plotlines in the limited two hour runtime can certainly result in an erratic pace at times. Nonetheless much of this can be forgiven by the viewer once engulfed within the film and even if it may leave something to be desired, if you go in expecting nothing more than an incredibly fun, visually gorgeous and action packed fantasy film, chances are you’ll have a great time with it. I would definitely recommend that fans of the game and anyone who enjoys action-packed fantasy spectacles at least try to give this one a shot; you just might end up having a lot more fun with it than you had imagined.
Overall, ‘Warcraft’ definitely has its faults and won’t be nabbing a Best Picture Oscar nomination, but when approaching the film expecting no more than a thoroughly entertaining and effects fueled fantasy adventure with some dazzling scenery and battle sequences, it more than delivers. Capably guided by director Duncan Jones and complimented by a talented cast including Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Clancy Brown and many more, ‘Warcraft’ is a gorgeous and enjoyable ride from start to finish and I would urge anyone who might be the slightest bit interested in the film to give it a whirl, you may just find yourself as pleasantly surprised as I did.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Warcraft’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks phenomenal and delivers a sharp, detailed and colorful presentation from start to finish that suffers no noticeable faults of any kind throughout. It holds up impressively even during the numerous fast paced and/or darkly lit sequences and never results in anything occurring on screen to ever become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is an outstanding high definition video presentation from Universal that should easily thrill even the pickiest of individuals.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, crisp and incredibly aggressive audio presentation. Constantly utilizing all seven available channels in order to fully immerse the viewer within the action by sending a plethora of debris, spells, swinging weapons and more throughout the various speakers, while always making certain that any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously never becomes distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a fantastic and incredibly fun Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Warcraft’ includes some notable supplemental material that fans should appreciate. Included on the release are a number of ‘Deleted and Extended Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 14 minutes in length altogether), along with all five parts of the ‘Warcraft: Bond of Brotherhood Motion Comic’ (running approximately 54 minutes in combined). We are additionally treated to a collection of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of bringing the film to life as well as the game’s influence, and featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘The World of Warcraft on Film’ which itself is broken up into 6 segments: ‘Origin Story’ (approximately 5 minutes), ‘The World of Talent’ (6 minutes), ‘The World of VFX’ (5 minutes), ‘Outfitting A World’ (6 minutes), ‘The World of Mo-Cap’ (7 minutes), and ‘The World of Stunts’ (5 minutes); the other included Featurettes are: The Fandom of Warcraft’ (approximately 7 minutes), ‘Warcraft: The Madame Tussauds Experience’ (8 minutes), and ‘ILM: Behind the Magic of Warcraft’ (3 minutes). A ‘Gag Reel’ (approximately 3 minutes), and the ‘2013 Teaser Trailer’ for the film (2 minutes) are also included.