Arielrocks5’s review published on Letterboxd :
This review is biased beyond belief. I'm saying this upfront because it's true. I want you all to know that while reading it since this is not a review that I want you to read and afterwards say "Oh my god! This has to be so good if she's talking so highly about it!".
I'm not here to tell you "Warcraft" is a must see film for all of you. In fact, I'm here to tell you the exact opposite. Do not watch this movie if you have no interest in the slightest for it. Nor should you watch it in the false hope that this will bring video game movies to a point where they can't be terrible.
If you don't like fantasy, you will hate this. If you don't like being trusted into an already existing world that expects you to be along for the ride within the first ten or so minutes, you will despise this movie.
If you, just don't think it looks good and you won't like it, you'll most likely be right. There's no real point to it. Don't waste your time. Just go see "Captain America: Civil War" again if you're that type of person who likes to see that.
Nor am I here to put up with everyone saying how wrong I am for enjoying this. Or hearing how my bias comes from pure nostalgia towards playing the games over and over again when I was younger.
I've never played a single "Warcraft" game. I mean, I tried playing "World of Warcraft" a couple days ago before my computer tried to kill itself when I finally got it running. So it can't really be that for my sense of pure enjoyment now can it?
This then begs the question; what am I hear to tell you? I'm hear to tell you, that I am a person why is sick, and tired, of just, EVERYTHING coming out of the giant movie making machine that Hollywood has created to shit out the same old tired characters we've seen for nearly a decade.
I've grown tired of Superhero movies constantly taking up the entire summer movie season with little to no variety. The same stupid lackluster action flicks that go in and out of theaters within minutes, leaving little to no lasting impact. The typical romcoms or regular comics that feel the need to jump on the same bandwagon in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator for the sake of bringing in a decent buck.
For the past two years, everything has just felt the same stuff was being put into theaters under a different paint job. There's also not a whole lot of films that I watch that really get me.....excited. Now I don't mean a trailer or a TV spot, announcement, or whatever. I'm talking about the genuine thrill of going into a movie theater and seeing the images on screen take you to a whole new world.
And that my friends.....is what I felt watching "Warcraft".
This isn't a great movie, nor even is it a very good one. In fact, I do admit, there's a lot of glaring problems with it. So with that said, let's get right into the meat of them.
First thing first, THE EDITING! IS TERRIBLE! Not as in "Captain America: Civil War" terrible, as in you can't tell what's going on with the action set pieces and such. I'm more or less taking about how certain scenes transition from one to the other.
This is most apparent with all the fades in and out of these moments that happen throughout most of the run time. It does slow a bit down in the long run of the film, but it's still a major issue as it makes the story and pacing feel a bit clunky. Particularly in the first act.
Second; Some of the CGI isn't good. I'm not talking about the orcs or some of the other effects, I'll get more into them later. I'm talking mostly about the mounts and some of the backgrounds. For lack of a better comparison, they look like something out of a video game.
They don't look bad. It's that they seem out of place a good amount of the time, especially in one scene in the words involving that wolf thing. There's also an issue with green screen in that some of the backgrounds look a bit off putting with a real actor in front of them, making them pop out a bit more within the frame, giving me some bad flashbacks to the "Star Wars" prequels. Though, not nearly as eye bleeding terrible IMO.
And my last problem is actually a very simple one; The story.
Which in turn, is about two tribes of creatures trying to survive in a time of hardship for both parties what with one losing their home world due to lack of life that can be developed, and the other with the fear of an unknown set of creatures here to potentially destroy and take over their lands.
So what's wrong with this set up? It's very, VERY dense. Meaning that Duncan Jones isn't here to let you simply sit down and watch some long exposition about the world you're entertaining for the sake of getting to the popcorn worthy war set pieces and some quips between characters. He, for lack of a better phrase of words, grabs you by the head, and properly SLAMS it into the giant river that is his massive fangasm for fantasy, film making, and the very franchise this film bases itself on.
Expecting you to pay close attention to many details said by characters and how they intact. Mentioning places they've been/know of that will make there way into the picture later on within the story. Leaving you with characters that have already had their fair share of history, and this is adding more to it.
Another thing worth mentioning as well. THIS ISN'T BASED ON "WORLD", "OF WARCRAFT"! This is based on the original Real Time Strategy game from the early 90s! If you're expecting a "World of Warcraft" movie, this isn't it bud.
So yeah. To say this movie has problems is like saying the current US election is rigged beyond belief and this country is doomed................and yet.
I..........didn't want it to end. I wanted to see where it went. Each turn making me more excited for the next set piece and character interaction. A genuine feeling of pure joy whenever a spell was cast. A feeling of raw adrenaline whenever an orc punched, stabbed, on crushed a human under their mighty weapons.
Actually feeling for characters and trying to piece their motivations and quirks together to find the bigger picture at hand within the story. Wanting to know more about them as the film goes on and surprisingly getting exactly that. I felt a real reason to feel sympathy towards both sides.
This is mostly thanks to Duncan Jones and Charles Leavitt's screenplay that, while overstuffed, definitely has it's heart in the right place by focusing on the orcs and the humans in a way that depicts them as people who want to be okay and save their people from an impending doom from gracing their land by the life draining energy.
Hell, the movie opens not with a bombastic action set piece or even with one of the human characters. Instead, we open with an orc and his wife, talking about the future of their child once they've made their way into the new world. Even then, it's not exactly overly depressing as they talk about how this side is dying and what not. No, they're just, talking and acting like how a real couple WOULD probably take this situation.
How many movies can you really name nowadays that are willing to DO something like that? Especially one as big as this. To pant the supposed "VILLAINS" of the franchise as nothing more than people looking for a home being lead by a terrible leader after literally draining the world they've come from? It takes a lot of guts to do something like that.
It helps as well that for the most part the designs and character animations on the orcs is some of the most well "crafted" (hehehehehehe) I've seen in quite some time in regards to making fully rendered creatures and giving each of them different little details with facial, muscle, and texturing features, making each of them look different from one to the other.
Lets not forget that there's another side to the film in the form of the human characters which are fairly interesting and likable themselves from the likes of Anduin Lothar acting as a good crutch for their own story. Along with that, we have characters like Khadgar and the Guardian who bring something to the big screen that I haven't seen in a long time; Magic.
The way that Duncan Jones brings to life the sorcery in this film made me shake in my seat with pure joy. Grinning from ear to ear. I was seeing actual magic again on the big screen! None of the garbage of superheros beating each other up in airports or boring as hell cops busting up drug lords. I was watching something that made me feel like I was in a completely new world!
You know what!? Yeah! I'm going to say it! I LOVED THIS! LOVED IT! This movie was EVERYTHING I wanted it to be!
Duncan Jones brings this world to life with the power of pure movie magic with big well detailed sets, goofy costumes and names, and sweeping camera work and lush cinematography that makes even the smallest of moments feel like their own mini epic. Unlike some other blockbusters recently, this man knows that in order to make your action good, you need to use WIDE takes and put everything that needs to be in frame, IN THE FRAME! No quick cuts! No shaky cam! No nothing!
Sound design as well makes each punch, gun shot, hammer smash and sword swipe feel weighty and brutal. Including many scenes of stabbing, decapitations, neck snapping (There's one point where an orc crushes a guy's neck in his one fist) and so much more! IT WAS AMAZING! You know what helps this? A soundtrack actual worth a damn.
Ramin Djawadi's score for this movie just screams, no, CHEERS! Fantasy adventure. The main theme itself is probably one of my top five favorite pieces of film music from this year. The strings. The horns. The drums. Everything gives a real sense of war and scale coming. And once the actual war breaks down in the final act, my eyes were clued to the screen, fully invested with these characters ready to see what happens next to get them out of this.
Feeling a real sense of excitement as Lothar jumps off onto his mount to head out to save the realm like you see in the trailers. A true sense of fear from the villain draining the life out of everything for fuel to power everything.
You also have some genuinely well timed comedy in the mix through character introductions and some clever visual yucks that keep everything from being too dower. Plus you know what's great? Color. The colors in this are amazing. The blues. The greens. The reds. The golds, silvers, browns. Everything looks bright. Everything looks beautiful. Everything just looks......fantasy.
That's what I love about this. It's a fantasy movie that's not ashamed to be one. You get a real sense that everyone was having fun making the film, much akin to a group of friends making home fantasy movies in their backyards. Duncan Jones is a filmmaker who LOVES filmmaking and storytelling and, creating!
Not doing it just for a paycheck or trying to set up future movies. But because he LOVES doing what he does. I would kill to meet this guy and it would break my heart if he couldn't get another movie made, especially with all the shit he had to go through during the production of this...
Yet the thing that surprised me the most? How much of an emotional gut punch this brought me down to not with over sentimentally, but through simple details. Both examples would be spoilers, so I don't want to really ruin it for those who still somewhat want to see this film (Though, judging by the numbers it's expected to make, that's not going to be a whole lot) but all I'll really say is that one made me despise the main villains even more so and one brought me down to actual tears.
Performance wise, everyone does a fine enough job I guess. Though frankly, I don't really go see a movie called "Warcraft" for its Oscar worthy acting. Even though again, they all do fine (With the orcs standing out as more than likely the best performance wise). The only real actor that I couldn't really by into was the son.
I dunno, maybe it's because he didn't have a whole lot of screen time but he couldn't help but feel out of place during some of the action pieces he was in. Then again, there was about forty or so minutes cut from the movie in order to condense it down to two hours for it to be more excusable for most movie goers so maybe in a Director's cut or something we'll get a bit more of him. I dunno, and frankly don't care that much..
.....look, I'm not going to act like this has "brought new life" into modern blockbusters or films in general. Nor like I said in the beginning of this review, I'm not telling you to go see this movie right now. I'm just here to tell you that, for all of its problems. For all the clunky pacing. Some odd dialogue. And often times, pretty awful transactions from scene to scene (I summed it up to a Bailey Steen (( letterboxd.com/steentrain643/ )) as it felt like I was watching it on TV and it was cutting to a commercial that never came.), I couldn't stop myself from having the time of my god damn life.
Duncan Jones's "Warcraft" is not a perfect movie in the slightest, and I fully understand why many are hating it as much as they are (Though, I'd argue some are being a bit too harsh than others without naming names), but I'm sorry. I was too busy being engaged by the characters, swept up into the world, fascinated with the story, and loving each action scene and music piece to really give that much of a damn.
This is what I wanted in a summer movie. This is what I wanted when I first saw those posters. When I first heard the words "Duncan Jones directing "Warcraft"."
This movie left me in child like awe. It left me in tears. It left me with a giant smile on my face. Movies like this and people like Duncan Jones, are the reason why I want to become a a filmmaker. Why I got into the medium in the first place.
This is my "Force Awakens". This is my "Captain America: Civil War". This made me feel like a little kid again. This made me want to go rewatch it, over, and over, and over again. This felt like a earlier birthday present given to me by now, one of my favorite filmmakers of all time.
This is something everyone else is going to despise with all their hearts and souls. This is Duncan Jones's aftermath of taking the entire genre he loves and forcefully shoving it into theaters for our viewing pleasures or horrors.
This is made me feel alive. This made me feel welcomed again, reminding me of the days of joy I used to gain from watching what were some of my favorite films growing up. This made me excited to be in the movie theaters again.