I’ve never had the pleasure of playing any of the popular World of Warcraft games, but after seeing its big-screen adaptation, Warcraft: The Beginning, I feel like I have. That’s sort of the point when it comes to Duncan Jones’ immensely ambitious film, which has already been treated quite unfairly by critics.
Admittedly, the film does suffer from a couple of problems, most of which stem from there simply being too much going on. As you can imagine, as an introduction to such an expansive and full world such as this, there’s a lot of different characters and rules to take in. Whilst Jones does an admirable job of juggling all the different elements, he does sometimes drop along the way.
This isn’t necessarily his fault. As its title suggest, this is intended to be the first of what I can only assume will be a Warcraft franchise – although that may no longer be the case after its critical response – meaning that, whilst certain plot threads may be frustratingly left hanging in the air, it is important to keep the bigger picture in mind.
Its few wobbles aside, I couldn’t help but go along with the Warcraft: The Beginning; its world full of knights, orcs, dwarves, magi and demons appealing to my fantasy-loving inner child. For somebody who grew up on films like Willow, Krull, Excalibur and Legend, the fact that this made me feel like I was ten-years-old again is just scratching the surface of my respect for the film, and what Duncan Jones has achieved with it.
At a time where it’s becoming more and more difficult to distinguish between video games and film, this feels like the first adaptation of its kind to successfully make the leap from a computer to cinema. Whether it’s an ariel shot of battling cities, or a battle sequence which is shot in a way in which you feel in control of the characters, it is as if the director has kept the game’s fans close to his heart when making the film.
Whereas certain narrative points are questionable, the visuals remain incredibly inpresskve throughout. There’s just the right amount of the fantastical that has gone into the construction of landscapes, whilst the use of motion capture does the impossible in giving its various creatures emotional expressions to the point where they feel absolutely real.
Yes, it is problematic in some parts, but Warcraft: The Beginning is far from the disaster that some have made it out to be. Its technical achievements alone are worth the price of a cinema ticket, but it has far more to offer than its visuals. If you go into it expecting something on the same level as The Lord of the Rings, there’s a lot of fun to be had with it. It kept me entertained throughout, and I for one hope that we get to go on more adventures within this world. Go see it and enjoy yourself.
Image credit to http://www.impawards.com