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Warcraft – A Review

Whew! Haven’t done one of these in a while! But I feel like this movie deserved at least one good review somewhere in this big black Internet of ours. I’m not actually sure how others are reacting to it, but my local paper probably would have given it 0 stars if the reviewer had been able. Spoilers under the poster, naturally.

I have talked at length on this blog about various video games over the years (jeez, it has been years on here now, hasn’t it?) but I’ve never actually played World of Warcraft until recently because I got hyped for this movie a couple months back and heard that you can play super basic WoW up to level 20 for free.

That being said, I have no earthly clue what pretty much any of the WoW backstory is, so I went into this movie with the expectation that it would just be a halfway decent fantasy with some good action scenes and obscene amounts of CGI. What I walked away from was one of the most compelling stories I’ve encountered since Deadpool.

Before you start shaking your head, let me explain. Movies have been trying too hard to be important, or dark, or whatever mess the Marvelverse is starting to become. I very infrequently leave a movie having genuinely enjoyed myself from start to end. The exceptions have been, surprisingly Zootopia of all things (as my inherent distrust and dislike of Disney movies seeps into every viewing no matter how hard I try to ignore it), Deadpool, and now Warcraft.

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The plot of Warcraft is amazingly simple. Orcs have no home, orcs find new home, humans want orcs to leave, there is a bad magic messing with everyone, and the villains never attempt to be heroes. Ahhh, simplicity.

Add the bonus of this thing being Blizzard deciding to maybe put off buying that fifth yacht this year and promoting themselves more than they have already (which I’m pretty sure is some kind of cosmic impossibility) and I knew I was in for a treat after the very opening act.

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To be honest, I didn’t really bother learning most of the names in this movie. They all speak with such regional British accents and/or through tusks and half the time, I couldn’t understand half of the lines. That didn’t ruin it in the least for me, though, because the animation and acting was really great and conveyed what was being said through subtle facial things and I appreciate that.

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Mm, yes, so, plot. It’s your fairly standard affair. Orcs invade, stop the orcs, there’s evil magic working against literally everyone, something about a demon, and all the archtypes swanning about for your viewing pleasure. It’s quite fun, to be honest, as long as you like those kinds of tropes. Luckily, I do, so I had great rollicking fun during this movie.

The animation in this movie was phenomenal, which I should hope it would be, considering literally everything has some kind of graphic enhancement. But if you let yourself just be lost in the world of Azaroth, you can certainly feel like it’s almost real, with its towering temples, people using magic, and riding great, flying griffons to and fro. It was really and truly my every fantasy dream come to life.

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Um, yes, the plot. Those of you who have actually played Warcraft or WoW probably have a fairly good grasp of what happened already, since they didn’t deviate much from the actually, canon lore (see funded by Blizzard comment above), which, I must be honest, I had to look up after I saw the movie just to check.

The orc world is dead, thanks to, we learn later, a powerful orc mage who uses death magic called the Fell that eats the land around the user. But that revelation comes much later in the plot. What we actually focus on is Durutan, an orc war-chief and his wife, Draka (spelling subject to change on all these names because I’m lazy and don’t want to look them up in fear of looking like a grown up critic). Durutan is an orc with a sense of conscience, which gets him in trouble later.

Next, we’re introduced to the human players characters, Lothar and the magician whose name begins with a C or K but I definitely can’t remember it and King Lane, Lothar’s brother in law. The magician and Lothar are my favorite human characters, mostly because they actually have personality.

And then there’s the possessed Guardian, who’s just happy to be here. Or not, as it turns out, cause he’s possessed by a demon (okay, that part I’ll admit isn’t explained very well . . . .)

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All these zany funsters get together to go to war and learn the secrets of the Fell and save the world. Or something. Or set up for a sequel, which I am totally on board for!

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I’m not going to actually recount the whole plot, because it is a fairly complicated plot, despite how simple the concepts are, and there’s a lot going on pretty much all the time. Battles and action are constant, but they do take time to develop the characters and I can respect that.

So if you’re into WoW, fantasy, or just want a good time with the magic light box, check it out and don’t listen to all those critics who are too highbrow for it. Go and enjoy a fun, pointless adventure.

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