For a number of years now Hollywood has been trying desperately to churn out a good video-game adaptation, but has failed to do so time and time again. I guess it’s arguable by looking at the talent involved in these video-game adaptations that studios didn’t really try to make a good movie, I mean what can you expect by getting John Moore to direct Max Payne? or Andrzej Bartkowiak to direct Doom? Who are those guys? The fact that you don’t know proves my point.
But perhaps it’s time we came to the conclusion that video games simply don’t make good movies. Maybe that’s just the way it is. And if there’s any video-game adaptation that courts this point, it’s director Duncan Jones’ adaptation of the renowned open-world game Warcraft.
Now I’m not a big video-game guy. I don’t play a lot of games and I haven’t played Warcraft either, but I doubt my playing the game would have made a difference over how I perceived the movie. So just putting that out there.
So the film basically revolves around an orc motion captured by Toby Kebbell – whose name I can’t even try to pronounce or write for that matter – who after realizing that his world is dying, opens a portal to escape his dying world and enters the human realm along with his army of orcs which he decides to conquer. But the humans lead by King Llane (Dominic Cooper) and an increasingly bland Travis Fimmel decide that ain’t happenin’ and thus the two races march into battle. But as the two collide, leaders from each side start to question if war is the only answer.
In case you didn’t realize by my condescending tone, Warcraft is utter garbage and proves that perhaps, Hollywood should finally give up on movies based on video-games, because if the director of Moon and Source Code can make such a clunker, there isn’t much hope in the genre itself.
I guess the biggest problem with Warcraft that just kept me really disengaged from the entire film is that it is incredibly dull and boring. There were times when the movie almost put me to sleep because there just wasn’t anything to keep me compelled at all. The writing is really convoluted and for someone who hasn’t played the video-game, the movie does a really messy job of setting up the characters and their mythologies. I think the movie fails completely when it tries to explore some serious political themes in regards to the story and drags considerably despite having a pretty normal 120 minute runtime. I guess what’s even disappointing is that the action set-pieces have absolutely no heft, which is something you’d otherwise expect from a movie like this and from a director of Duncan Jones’ pedigree.
Not even the performances work. You have Ben Foster playing this weird spiritual guide to Travis Fimmel who just mumbles and broods. Travis Fimmel himself is just bland and unappealing as the protagonist and the orcs are just ugly-looking beasts who I just didn’t like looking at, and the performances that motion captured them felt very one-dimensional.
And another big problem with the film is that it’s just ugly to look at visually. The sets, costumes, production design do not look good. The visual look of this movie was really a deal-breaker for me.
Warcraft continues Hollywood’s abysmal streak of bad video-game adaptations and in the process, also manages to completely waste the talent of director Duncan Jones. It is hands-down, one of the worst movies of the year.