The question will remain until it’s effectively answered: Is it possible to make a great movie adaptation of a video game? Sure there have been some pretty decent ones (I’m quite fond of the original Resident Evil), but there’s no denying that when it comes to adapting another medium for the big screen, the video game to film genre is lightyears behind books, TV shows, and comics. Now comes Warcraft, adapted from a popular online role playing game, this Lord of the Rings-esque fantasy is the latest game franchise to fail to leave a mark for movie going audiences.
Warcraft tells the story of a war between Orcs, large humanoid tusked creatures, and humans. After the Orc home world begins to die, an Orc wizard named Gul’Dan (Daniel Wu) uses a dark magic force to create a portal to Azeroth, land of humans, dwarves and several other inconsequential species. There, they plan to conquer the humans and take Azeroth as their new home. Weary of the death and destruction is Orc chief and new father, Durotan (Toby Kebbell) who seeks to unite with the humans to stop Gul’Dan and protect his family. Leading the humans is their fiercest warrior, Lothar (Travis Fimmel), noble King Llane (Dominic Cooper), rogue wizard, Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer), fading sorcerer, Medivh (Ben Foster), and half human-half orc, Garona (Paula Patton).
The special effects are state of the art and the premise lends itself to an entertaining movie, but nearly everything about Warcraft is a bore. This is in large part due to stale performances by everyone not named Toby Kebbell. But I won’t blame the actors, a bland script and a plot void of any real surprises gives us a cast of generic characters that lack the charm or unique qualities to make them stand out as memorable. The result is a movie that struggles to make anyone care who, like me, never played the games.
The action in the film, though gruesome, is entertaining for anyone who is a fan of such things. And although the characters are generic and forgettable, the surviving pieces are at least left in scenarios that might garner a more interesting sequel. But none of that comes frequent enough to excuse a story that lacks conviction and characters that seem like something we’ve seen before. I’m not sure what the many fans of the game will think of Warcraft, but I’m almost certain newcomers won’t be captivated enough to want to stick around for anymore adventures.
FINAL GRADE: D+