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Review Warcraft: The Beginning (2016): Good but flawed fantasy flick and definitely one of the better videogame adaptations.

genre: action, adventure, fantasy





While I am familiar with the existence of the videogame called World of Warcraft and that it started out as a boardgame I never have played it. Maybe one day I will play the boardgame since it does look like it's a very fun and social game. However the online version does not appeal to me that much. Mostly because that I simply have no interest in playing a multiplayer game that never finishes. For me stories need a beginning and an end. A story that never ends will become tedious and so boring. Anyway it is safe to say that I don't know that much about this game so that I am able to look at this videogame adaptation more objectively. 

Warcraft: The Beginning surprised me. When I saw the trailer it already looked like it was going to be good but you know trailers can be deceiving. I am happy to report that Warcraft makes good on it's promise. For the most part the events in Warcraft are easy to follow for non fans. Although it becomes apparent quickly that some minor subplots are setting up future storylines for possible sequels featuring important characters of the Warcraft universe only fans will know about. Despite this it is these little plots that add charm and depth to Warcraft. I mean how can you go wrong with the cutest baby Orc you have ever seen? Travis Fimmel as Lothar adds the much needed comic relief. Toby Kebbel as Durotan makes sure you take the Orcs seriously and Ben Foster is impressive as Medivh. Having Dominic Cooper in your film always is a good thing. You can tell that director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) took the source material seriously and tried to respect it as much as possible. I read that he made some changes but that was to be expected. Sometimes that is what it takes to translate a videogame to film. What works for a videogame might not work for film at all. Same goes for books. In that medium you can be very detailed without losing the reader's attention. In film you have to convert those words into visuals and that can be very challenging. (Actually I still think even with the best of intentions it always be hard to translate a videogame to film. You will never capture the thrills and excitement of  playing. It is you who accomplishes things actively. Film is passive.) In my humble opinion it does look like he stays true to the spirit of the game. (You can correct me if this is true or not in the comment section.) 

Warcraft is full of action and spectacle that is exciting enough. It also looks incredible to be honest. Those Orcs almost seem real. It is when the action dies down that the film suffers from serious pacing problems. I hate to say it but there are many parts in between the action sequences that drag. That being said the film does reward you for your patience so to me it wasn't a deal breaker. I did miss background information on this universe and all of it's inhabitants. You sort of get introduced as events occur although it's very minimal. It would have been nice had they revealed more about the Orcs and their honour system for example. Or their dynamics amongst themselves. I know that some people think the LOTR movies are too long. But there is a good reason they are. Those movies do a good job of depicting the world and it's people. It seems this film was 40 minutes longer originally and that makes me very happy. I surely will check out the director's cut if it will be released. 

Overall I was very pleased and entertained with the end result and I am looking forward to the sequels if they happen. 


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