Warcraft online movie review - Beautiful Visuals and Strong Soundtrack but not much else going for it...
Here in Denmark, Warcraft had its premier today so obviously I flocked to the cinema to watch the movie. And the movie turned out to be exactly what I expected.
The film looked and sounded wonderful (I'm already thinking Oscar nominations for visual effects, sound editing, and sound mixing), but the story was weak and the characters vanilla. The CGI, which I had feared, turned out to be pretty gosh darned good (especially in relation to the orcs). The acting department of the film was not anything unexpected with a few decent performances and otherwise plain and wooden acting that seemed to gloss over the otherwise dramatic and interesting situations that some of these characters were thrown into. The largest issue with this film however is the weak story, the unbelievable screenplay, and the fact that the movie relies on the audience having previous knowledge of the Warcraft lore (which I don't).
Travis Fimmel, who I've only ever seen in Vikings, plays the human protagonist, Anduin Lothar, and does so decently. Now this is obviously not a groundbreaking or jaw dropping performance, but for a big action movie like Warcraft his acting was fairly good. Fimmel makes the character interesting, relatable, and easy-to-root-for, which is frankly more than anyone could have expected, so props to him. But Fimmel was by no means excellent; on several occasions when he had to deal with loss there seemed to be a weird and inhuman lack of emotion. Paula Patton plays the half-human and half-orc female protagonist, Garona Halforcen, who flip-flops from Horde to Alliance and vice versa. This character, just like Lothar, has a nice relatability and is easy for the viewer to get behind. Patton's performance is also pretty decent, but just like Fimmel, she had moments of uncomfortable stiffness and lack of emotion. I do think though, that in this case that could also be due to a screenplay that totally lacked any sense of believable dialogue. Ben Schnetzer also has a major role in this film as the mage, Khadgar, who accompanies Lothar for the majority of his journey. Although the character is cliché (I'll be saying that a lot), Schnetzer's decent wit and mildly sarcastic approach makes the character fairly compelling and interesting. The character's major moments however are ruined by unpleasing directing and weird dialogue, but Schnetzer did alright.
Ben Foster also features in this film as the Guardian of Tirisfal, Medivh. Now I can honestly proclaim that I was lost for a large portion of his scenes which were something about mages and magic and 'fel', I think? But all that aside, Foster did not help much himself. Foster's portrayal was awkward and inconsistent, sometimes he'd loudly speak to himself and sometimes he'd have a large unjustified outburst of emotion with no true reason behind it, but for the sake of the story. Dominic Cooper portrays the young and dashing King Llane Wrynn, who rules Azeroth. Cooper's character is awfully clichéd, but is wonderfully grounded and believable and seems to mend some of Foster's scenes. But ultimately the character fails to get the audience to back him and it seems truly outrageous that the same actor who made Howard Stark a likable character played such a dull character in such a big movie. Toby Kebell plays the noble yet awfully underused character of Durotan, the leader of the Frostwolf Clan (a clan of orcs). In the very beginning of the film, the character is seen with his very young son, and this helps make the character appeal to the audience. Although the character itself is interesting, and Kebell's acting is decent, the character is so underused and pushed aside for story lines and plots that fall incredibly short of Durotan's.
Robert Kazinsky and Clancy Brown (Mr. Krabbs in Spongebob) play Orgrim Doomhammer, the reluctant follower and occasionally good friend of Durotan, and Blackhand, the aggressive war chief of the Horde, respectively. They both do decently in their roles and Kazinsky especially has nice chemistry with Kebell on screen. Daniel Wu is also thrown into the film as the classic evil manipulative magician-type character. Though the character itself is cliché and has no true backstory or anything (at least not in the film), Wu does play the role well and if it were not for IMDb, I would never have guessed that Wu had played that character. Ruth Negga and Anna Galvin also feature in the film as Lady Taria, Wrynn's wife, Lothar's brother, and queen of Azeroth, and Draka, Durotan's wife respectively. The two are really just shoehorned into the movie to make Wrynn and Durotan more relatable (I guess) and serve no purpose but to be wives, and although Draka especially gets a few moments to shine, she is? despite significant screen time? absolutely forgettable. Negga's acting in the film is depressingly and cringe-inducing wooden, while Galvin's was a little more believable, but was still to a certain degree weak due to the lack of emotion she put into the character. And finally? because I'm tired of writing about these dull character? Callum Keith Rennie plays Moroes, Medivh's assistant (maybe). The character is never really explained and although having a significant handful of scenes with Medivh I have no clue why he was in the film or what his relationship was with Medivh. But despite all that I can still point out the fact that Rennie's acting (like countless other's) was uncomfortably wooden and he seemed to put no effort whatsoever into making the dialogue believable.