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Indyfreak's Movie Reviews (504)

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Warcraft 
I can neither love or hate Warcraft.
2/4 stars

Warcraft is yet another movie where a niche fandom earns a $150M budget and a good director in the form of Duncan Jones. But yet none of the high tech special effects and fantasy spectacle can hide that this is indeed a video game movie. It's not as bad as say a film made by Uwe Boll or Paul W. S. Anderson at least. There are admirable aspects of the production, particularly the meticulous detail in designing each character, costume, and prop. It looks gorgeous. The orcs themselves are a sight to behold.
But the script is a mess. It cannot decide whether it is a serious epic or an offbeat adventure. It rushes from one CGI fueled setpiece to the next without pausing for character development or even proper character introduction. It feels too much like a sequel to a film that already exists and no one in the audience watched it. And it runs over two hours, making the viewer(s) very tired by the rather anticlimactic conclusion.
Still, out of the cast there are good performances. Most of them are Orc characters amusingly enough since they're CGI and not really there. Toby Kebell is the emotional and moral core of the story as the orc chief Durotan and his expressive yet commanding presence is enough to generate sympathy despite being through motion capture effects. Likewise, other cast members that play orcs such as Daniel Wu, Anna Galvin, Rob Kazinsky, and Clancy Brown are great. But the human characters are mostly boring dull stock characters you've seen in so many other fantasy films. Attempts to inject life into their roles are lackluster and in Travis Fimmel's case, embarassing. Whatever made him a star on the show VIKINGS is not found here as he has no charisma as the swashbuckling hero of the plot. Paula Patton looks absurdly out of place as this half human/half orc warrior woman.
What rescues 'Warcraft' from being a complete failure is its obvious reverence for the source material and the effort clearly shown by the director to breath life into an otherwise soulless venture. It's ultimately an average sword-and-sorcery flick that is not ashamed of its origins and as a visual experience, it's marvelous. But unfortunately it will prove too esoteric for mainstream audiences it aims to reach in order to make a film franchise out of this property.


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