Warcraft: The Beginning a baffling fantasy film

Orc Durotan in Warcraft: The Beginning.
Orc Durotan in Warcraft: The Beginning.

I HAVE sat through some of David Lynch’s mind-bending films, head scratcher Donnie Darko, challenging Inception and tricky Memento, but have never been more baffled than by Warcraft: The Beginning, the film adaption of the video game.

A potential war brews when the peaceful and utopian realm of Azeroth is invaded by orc warriors, who seek to colonise after their home world Draenor is destroyed.

But the people of Azeroth are up for a fight.

There’s a portal between worlds, a Fel (magic), shifty guardian Medivh (Ben Foster), a baby orc of some significance, life-force sucking, a glowing tattoo and a vague sub-plot on loyalty.

I think.

There is so much world building and a stream of fantasy words and language that is so dense that anyone who has not played the game (me) or have a guide book or translation book with them (me again) may struggle to wrap their head around it.

It is either sink or swim with Warcraft: The Beginning and I sunk, hard.

Any potential commentary on the refugee plight, which the story hints at, is lost under a litany of CGI, magic-fuelled lightning and blue and green mist (so much mist).

There is Lord of the Rings epicness to the battles, the swooping camera picking up the vast landscapes dotted with battling heroes and villains, yet it is all so The Hobbit-like in its storytelling as it otherwise lumbers along at a glacial pace.

We are asked to emotionally connect with a father and son relationship despite the son appearing in a total of 10 minutes of screen time and a prisoner being torn between humans and orcs is merely flavouring amidst the carnage.

Perhaps those with the luxury of context having played the game will enjoy this big budget fantasy film much more; I was just left puzzled and craving the simplicity of a Sonic the Hedgehog adaptation.


Warcraft: The Beginning (M)

Directed by: Duncan Jones

Starring: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster

Two stars

Review by: Julian Wright

In cinemas June 16