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Warcraft early review round-up

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So it appears that I had every right to be worried about Warcraft. The first batch of reviews for director Duncan Jones’ big budget feature film adaptation of Blizzard’s legendary video game franchise have started trickling in this morning, and it’s not looking pretty. Unlike the movie though, which apparently looks very pretty indeed, but reportedly has problems just about everywhere else. It seems that despite Jones’ stellar previous track record, and the slew of fan-favourite actors in its ranks, Warcraft is not the title to break the bad video game movie curse.

Here’s a few excerpts from what the reviewers have to say.

Variety – Geoff Berkshire:

Director Duncan Jones, who helmed the lower-budget sci-fi wonders “Moon” and “Source Code”, labors mightily here to craft a solid emotional foundation in his script with Charles Leavitt. [But] it’s an unwaveringly earnest film that never owns up to exactly how campy every character, every conflict and every new realm truly is.

With its meticulously detailed realms built out primarily on soundstages and enhanced via CGI during extensive post-production, “Warcraft” aims for fresh and eye-popping and yet ends up shopworn and rather tacky. It fits into a long line of visually audacious Hollywood gambles: In success you wind up with a sleeper that few see coming, like “300” (or, if you strike the bull’s-eye, a phenomenon like “Avatar”), but the ones that miss — “The Spirit,” “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” “Sucker Punch” — tend to tank hard.

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Kotaku – Jason Schreler:

Warcraft, which comes out June 10, is a whirlwind of CGI effects and snazzy costumes that never quite coalesces into a watchable film. Longtime fans of the series might get a kick out of seeing the likes of Medivh (Ben Foster) and Durotan (Toby Kebbell) played by Hollywood actors, but it’s tough to get invested in a movie that feels so soulless.Warcraft has very few redeeming qualities. The performances are mediocre, the writing is full of cliches, and the cinematography is confusing when it’s trying to be clever.

The fundamental flaw in Warcraft is the same flaw we find in most video game movies: It takes itself too seriously.

The Wrap – Alonso Duralde:

Imagine “Battlefield Earth” without the verve and you get this sludgy, tedious fantasy adventure, a fun-starved dud that’s not even unintentionally hilarious. Critics throw the term “soulless corporate filmmaking” around with abandon, but movies like “Warcraft” really manage to redefine the term.

There’s a lot of running around and yelling and scheming and go-to-the-place-and-get-the-thing-ing, but none of it is particularly entertaining; like most movie versions of games, it will no doubt leave fans of the original wishing they were in charge. For the rest of us, there’s not even that sense of fun that comes from the sort of film that plays like a small child dumping all his action figures out on the living room carpet to battle each other.

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Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. But there is a glimmer of hope though in that there was at least one positive… well, not totally negative review out at the time of writing.

THR – Sheri Linden:

While the enormity of the undertaking is evident in every frame of the sci-fi medieval-ish action saga, director Duncan Jones manages, for the most part, to keep it from lumbering. With an emphasis on craft over war, the characters are front and center, and those that are partly digital creations are among its most memorable. They have heart.

[But] if you haven’t already invested in the self-serious mythology, it can feel borderline camp, if not downright dull — or both, as when an uncredited Glenn Close intones platitudes from on high about darkness and light. Yet there’s no question that it’s a breakthrough in both storytelling and artistry for features based on video games

In other words, it’s now all up to you, Michael Fassbender’s Assassin’s Creed! You are the video game adaptation chosen one! No pressure!

I’ll be checking out Warcraft for myself in two weeks time, so will feedback to you before it releases locally on 10 June. Warcraft stars Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Rob Kazinsky and Daniel Wu.

Last Updated: May 25, 2016

85 Comments

  1. Transwarcrafters! #amirite

    Reply

    • Strawman Jim

      May 25, 2016 at 11:31

      THINK OFF THE PLIGHT OF THE quadriplegic, deaf, mute and blind transsexual neuro-atypical warcrafters

      Reply

  2. oVg whippersnapper

    May 25, 2016 at 11:08

    “feels as inevitable as it does unnecessary”

    4/10 Washington post

    Reply

  3. Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

    May 25, 2016 at 11:10

    • oVg whippersnapper

      May 25, 2016 at 11:17

      I dont know anything about it so I went to the gaming section on my news site and the gamer journalist reviewed it. He gave it 4/10.

      I will not be spending all that money on the game. He hated it, and he is a gamer, Im a laymen.

      See what I did there?

      Reply

    • Captain JJ bound

      May 25, 2016 at 11:21

      $5 extra to have the actors wear prettier clothing

      Reply

      • HvR

        May 25, 2016 at 11:23

        Before each scene characters play pick-a-box for the clothing

        Reply

  4. Ottokie

    May 25, 2016 at 11:10

    After the whole Avatar the last air bender it was clear. Anything that started of as animation should stay animation.

    Reply

  5. Ottokie

    May 25, 2016 at 11:10

    Still going to watch it though. The Blizz fanboy in me hungers.

    Reply

    • Captain JJ bound

      May 25, 2016 at 11:26

      Yea, I’ll also watch it myself. I’m curious to see how Ragnar deals with the orcs after having fought much uglier monsters before them…the Brits.

      Reply

  6. Alien Emperor Trevor

    May 25, 2016 at 11:16

    Kerv, so you’d say this video game movie is a Hit… man? 😀

    Reply

    • Captain JJ bound

      May 25, 2016 at 11:23

      huehuehue

      Reply

  7. oVg whippersnapper

    May 25, 2016 at 11:19

    So… Fanboy / Funhundred.

    Reply

  8. HvR

    May 25, 2016 at 11:19

    Saw this long way coming, as always takes a video games take the backstory shits on it slaps a generic big corporations/big government are evil war machines script and some king juliet/romeo lovestory

    Reply

  9. Strawman Jim

    May 25, 2016 at 11:20

    Ugh Jason Schreler… the biggest beta cuck to have ever beta cucked! He’s worse than Jim Sterling, at least Sterling still has balls – albeit tiny lady balls.

    Reply

    • Captain JJ bound

      May 25, 2016 at 11:24

      I hate to tell you man, those weren’t ladies.

      Reply

      • Strawman Jim

        May 25, 2016 at 11:27

        You mean… they’re actually tiny squirrel balls?? 😮 Do you think Sterling knows? Maybe I need to go and inform him of the status of his testicles.

        Reply

        • Captain JJ bound

          May 25, 2016 at 11:27

          I personally find it to be a “tender” subject when men talk about it with each other. 😛

          Reply

          • Strawman Jim

            May 25, 2016 at 11:29

            So true, maybe I should gift him a Russian mail order bride, and she can inform him of the status of his minuscule testicles?

          • Captain JJ bound

            May 25, 2016 at 11:34

            Wise choice. 😀

          • Strawman Jim

            May 25, 2016 at 11:37

          • Captain JJ bound

            May 25, 2016 at 11:38

            I’m not sure what I expected when I clicked that link, but either way, I wasn’t ready for that AT ALL.

  10. Captain JJ bound

    May 25, 2016 at 11:20

    Must be difficult to make a movie about a game that has been based off another universe, trying to sell itself as an original idea.
    *grabs popcorn

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      May 25, 2016 at 11:20

      lollllllll

      Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      May 25, 2016 at 11:35

      You’re just salty the Zerg aren’t in it. Oh wait, that’s the other game they made that’s based off another universe.

      Reply

      • Captain JJ bound

        May 25, 2016 at 11:36

        Huehuehuehue

        Reply

  11. Strawman Jim

    May 25, 2016 at 11:21

    I’m still going to go see it, I spent much of my early adulthood trapped in the World of Warcraft cycle: PJs, Raids, Stoney, Nik Naks and late nights for months at an end.

    Reply

    • Original Heretic

      May 25, 2016 at 11:27

      Will also certainly watch this. Though I’ve never played WoW, as in ever, I like the genre for movies.

      It’s just too bad that fantasy movies usually end up being sub-par.

      Reply

      • Strawman Jim

        May 25, 2016 at 11:28

        Yeah, I’m also a fan of the genre – :/ I had such high hopes for the Seventh Son. sigh!

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          May 25, 2016 at 11:30

          Watch Dudes & Dragons!

          Reply

          • Strawman Jim

            May 25, 2016 at 11:35

            Dude, I’m always worried when you tell me to watch something… 😮

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            May 25, 2016 at 11:37

            Even that miserable 4/10 bastard oVg loved it.

          • Strawman Jim

            May 25, 2016 at 11:38

            YOU MUST BE LYING!!! OVG loved it? Then I must see it.

          • Original Heretic

            May 25, 2016 at 11:45

            Beware!! If you thought Seventh Son was disappointing, you’re going to hate the D&D movie. Worst representation of a dwarf ever. And the guy who played Jeremy Irons’ lackey, he was also in Highlander: Endgame. He pretty much played the exact same character, but now in armour.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            May 25, 2016 at 11:46

            I didn’t say Dungeons, I said DUDES. It’s completely different! And goddamn hilarious.

          • Original Heretic

            May 25, 2016 at 11:47

            hahah! SORRY! Totally misread that!

          • Captain JJ bound

            May 25, 2016 at 11:47

            Dudes are way more chill, like totes.

          • Original Heretic

            May 25, 2016 at 11:51

            Is Dudes and Dragons at all similar to Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire? Cause as horrendous as that series was, it was so enjoyable!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            May 25, 2016 at 11:54

            Very much like that! It’s a smart parody that completely rips off LOTR, Star Wars, 300, and probably more. With really really bad CGI. 😀

            You’re one of the few people I’ve heard who even knows about that show. Damn that was so funny.

          • Original Heretic

            May 25, 2016 at 11:56

            SOLD! Ok, I gotta get my hand on it now to watch it! I was so disappointed when Krod Mandoon was cancelled. Think it was only 8 episodes or so? The casting in it was perfect.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            May 25, 2016 at 11:47

            And I remember one of the Wayans brothers being a comic-relief elf. I hated that so much.

          • Original Heretic

            May 25, 2016 at 11:50

            Ugh, yeah that was horrible.

            The low budget sequel they did was actually better, and it was still terrible. I mean, c’mon now, what kind of D&D player kills a big bad guy without doing a through cavity search of the bad guy to get all his super cool items?!? Cut off his fingers, take his rings, they must do something!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            May 25, 2016 at 11:51

            There’s actually a 3rd D&D movie, which I found worth a watch. Think it was called The Book of Vile Darkness.

          • Ottokie

            May 25, 2016 at 11:47

            I am so watching this tonight! xD

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            May 25, 2016 at 11:48

            Finally you will understand why Rince & I keep yelling about roasts & children not lying.

          • Captain JJ bound

            May 25, 2016 at 11:49

            Okay. I’m sold!

          • Ottokie

            May 25, 2016 at 11:49

            The trailer sold it

  12. Strawman Jim

    May 25, 2016 at 11:33

    I still think they should have just made a cool CGI movie… sigh!

    Reply

    • Captain JJ bound

      May 25, 2016 at 11:37

      Yea, it might have worked much better. But, you know, according to the lame and the muggles CGI movies and animated movies are for kids.

      Reply

      • Ottokie

        May 25, 2016 at 11:41

        I didn’t “grow up” by choice

        Cartoons FTW!!!

        Reply

        • Captain JJ bound

          May 25, 2016 at 11:43

          I think the people who say that animated movies are just for kids need to have them watch Archer.

          Reply

          • Greylingad[He Charges!]

            May 25, 2016 at 11:47

            YES!!! I support this!!!

            Lana…Lana….Lana….

            ….LAAANAAAAAAAA!!!!!

          • Captain JJ bound

            May 25, 2016 at 11:48

            Man, those kids are going to be messed up….even more than the kids of today already are. 😛

          • Greylingad[He Charges!]

            May 25, 2016 at 11:51

            HAHAHA!! Especially if they get treated with the same moral compass as Mallory…

          • Captain JJ bound

            May 25, 2016 at 11:52

            Yoh! And then you call them different names all the time like Carrol/Sheryl,

          • Greylingad[He Charges!]

            May 25, 2016 at 11:53

            Holy CRAAA!! Can you imagine that!? I wonder if that’s not an accurate depiction of Pams’ upbringing…

          • Captain JJ bound

            May 25, 2016 at 11:56

            add drugs and bare knuckle fighting, and you’ve created another Pam.

          • Greylingad[He Charges!]

            May 25, 2016 at 11:58

            This.IS.A.VISCOUS.CYCLE!

            Edit: Yes, thick and creamy viscous….

          • Captain JJ bound

            May 25, 2016 at 12:08

            XD

      • Strawman Jim

        May 25, 2016 at 11:57

        Those dirty normie peasants are ruining everything….

        Reply

      • DragonSpirit009

        May 25, 2016 at 12:01

        How dare they insult CGI movies like that!

        Reply

        • Captain JJ bound

          May 25, 2016 at 12:08

          They’re all muggles, I tell you!

          Reply

  13. Dutch Matrix

    May 25, 2016 at 11:36

    They Zug-zugged when they should have Dabu’d…

    Reply

  14. HairyEwok

    May 25, 2016 at 11:40

    Yeah I read the kotaku review. I really do believe now that games being adapted into movies is a big no no.

    Reply

    • Captain JJ bound

      May 25, 2016 at 11:42

      It would be fine if the studios did the games justice. But just like movies based on books they seem to set their goals as: F*ck up and screw over everything that’s accurate and true to the original story.

      Reply

      • HairyEwok

        May 25, 2016 at 12:13

        The “I want to make it my own” sickness producers have.

        Reply

        • Captain JJ bound

          May 25, 2016 at 12:19

          The scary thing is how truly stupid they are, since they haven’t realised yet that people who go watch the movie probably read the book. It’s like they want the movie to fail.

          Reply

  15. iusedtobe(a)regular

    May 25, 2016 at 11:58

    “Imagine “Battlefield Earth””
    I cringed a little when I read that……………..ok I cringed a lot. Lets hope AC does not follow suit.

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      May 25, 2016 at 12:19

      lol, I felt exactly the same way.

      Reply

  16. DragonSpirit009

    May 25, 2016 at 12:00

    Well I’m going to go watch weather it’s good or bad. Maybe those not too familiar with Warcraft will find it okay.

    Reply

  17. For the Emperor!

    May 25, 2016 at 12:03

    When I read the first one that mentioned “camp”, I thought exactly the following: “if you haven’t already invested in the self-serious mythology, it can feel borderline camp”. I know the lore. I know the characters. I have been longing to see them represented on screen. Those who do not know them might be lost, but let us wait for real fans of Warcraft and WoW to see it and review it.

    Reply

  18. Darren Peach

    May 25, 2016 at 13:15

    Nope. Something is just not gelling. If you can turn a friggen Disney ride in a hugely successful franchise, And you can’t do the same with something that has the lore of Warcraft, You either lack the ambition to do so or people have stigmatized the genre so badly it defaults to shit. Warcraft was supposed to be the salvation.

    Reply

    • iusedtobe(a)regular

      May 25, 2016 at 14:51

      The problem is that there is already a much much much better Warcraft movie that has been made. Its called the Lord of the Rings.

      Reply

      • Darren Peach

        May 25, 2016 at 15:01

        I can agree with that. But, The Hobbit was a touch disappointing. Also, The Lord of the Rings has not aged well.

        Reply

      • Speen

        May 25, 2016 at 17:18

        I hate the fact that this is being compared to LotR.
        This isn’t LotR, it’s not trying to be. Feel free to watch one of many interviews where Duncan Jones himself insisted that the movie tries going in it’s own direction.

        I’m getting a strong feeling that people who wanted, nay, expected, this movie to be the new LotR are the ones who feel the cold sting of disappointment.

        I can’t wait to see the movie myself.

        Reply

        • iusedtobe(a)regular

          May 26, 2016 at 09:08

          Anything Orc and Elf will always be compared to TLOTR. Mythological creatures yes but Tlokien gave them there identity even going as far as creating the Elvish language himself. The point I am trying to make is, if it has Orcs or Elves in it, it wont matter what the director or actors say, TLOTR will come up. This was always going to be an uphill battle because while trying to stay out of TLOTR shadow, it still had to stay true to the game.

          Reply

  19. Darren Peach

    May 25, 2016 at 13:20

    God damn critics. They failed at life so all they can do is criticise other peoples work.

    Reply

    • Speen

      May 25, 2016 at 17:19

      I felt irritated as f%%% reading critic reviews.

      Then I went on to Twitter and found masses of people who are thanking Jones for an amazing movie.

      I remain positive.

      Reply

  20. Speen

    May 25, 2016 at 15:06

    I refuse to believe this to be a failure of a movie.

    I remain positive. I’m going to watch this movie and enjoy every second of it.

    Reply

  21. Craig Lotter

    May 25, 2016 at 15:25

    Did no one else enjoy Prince of Persia? I really enjoyed it and thought it captured the gameplay aspects pretty well.

    Reply

    • Speen

      May 25, 2016 at 17:20

      I can’t say that I have.

      But then I never really enjoyed Prince of Persia itself that much.

      Reply

    • iusedtobe(a)regular

      May 26, 2016 at 09:13

      I actually did, I think they kept it fairly close to the game. Its probably one of the better game-movies.

      Reply

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