WarCraft (Film Review)

WarCraft (Film Review)

Directed by Duncan Jones and based on the bestselling video game series from Blizzard Entertainment, WarCraft is the action fantasy movie that tells the story of the beginning of the war between the Humans of Azeroth and the Orcish Horde.  It stars Travis Fimmel, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper and Ben Schnetzer as members of the humans and Toby Kebbell, Robert Kazinsky, and Daniel Wu as members of the Orcs with Paula Patton playing the half-human, half-orc outcast.

This is…an interesting movie to say the least.  I have long been a fan of Blizzard Entertainment, though I have to say StarCraft’s sci-fi setting appealed to me more.  I didn’t even play WarCraft III until I got to college.  So, suffice it to say, I had absolutely no idea of the story I was getting into when I went to see WarCraft, since the movie is based around the events of the first WarCraft game that was released back in 1994.  Or at least, the time period of the events take place in the first WarCraft game, while the actual events have been expanded upon in the multitudes of books and World of WarCraft expansions that have since been released.

I have to say, to this film’s credit, it was by far the most unique movie I’ve seen in a while.  It could have been easy to just be a dumb action movie, but more time is actually spent on the characters involved and their motivations.  Well, at least on the Orc side.  The humans are just kind of…around.  I’m not sure what it is, but the Orcs’ story was just more interesting than the Humans.  You have Travis Fimmel playing Anduin Lothar, a commander of Azeroth’s armies, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what he’s doing.  Is he drunk 24/7?  He might be trying to be a witty and snarky character but it’s hard to understand him with him doing his Ragnar Lothbrok thing.

That said, there were humans that I ended up rooting for.  Ben Schnetzer plays a mage in training by the name of Khadgar who at first, I thought I would hate (with his wide eyes and pretty face), but as the show went one, he slowly became something of an interesting character.  Annoying but somewhat lovable.

It just seems like more time was spent working on the characterization and story of the Orcs than there was with the humans.  Everything about the Orcs I just enjoyed, from the characters to the story.  Toby Kebbell really shines as Durotan, an orc who is unsure of the warlock who now leads the horde.  At his core, he wants nothing more than to protect his family, even if it means betraying his kind.

The most interesting inclusion to the story is Paula Patton as Garona, a half-orc, half-human woman who grew up as a slave among the orcs.  Sadly, she is underused in my opinion and seems only to be there to provide a baffling love interest for Lothat because reasons.

This is a movie that is less focused on the visuals and the pretty special effects and more focused on the characters, and because of this, the world-building suffers a little.  We’re given pretty shots of locations that seem more catered to the hardcore WarCraft fans but we’re never given any sort of explanation about what these places are and why they’re important.  For example, I know from the games that Dalaran is a city-state run by the Kirin-Tor mages, but nowhere in the movie is that really mentioned.  Nor is it mentioned that Stormwind is the capital city of the human empire.  I’m just saying an explanation of the world we’re supposed to be watching for the next 2 hours would be nice.

For all its faults, this movie does have heart.  I found myself invested in the movie even though everything about would make it seem like a bad movie.  As for myself, I have seen truly awful movies and WarCraft is not one of those.  It is a movie with flaws but it tries.  Sometimes it succeeds and sometimes if fails.  In the end, it is something different and I can never fault it for that.  Which is why it is probably one of my favorite movies based on a video game, if not my favorite.

Finding Dory (Film Review)

Finding Dory (Film Review)

The sequel to the 2003 Pixar animated movie, Finding Nemo (good god has it really been that long?), Finding Dory follows the adventure of your favorite fishes, Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), Nemo (voiced by Hayden Rolence) and Dory (voiced by Ellen Degeneres).  This time under the ocean, Dory begins to have memories of her childhood and, specifically, her parents.  Wanting to find them, the trio go on an adventure to find them.

First of all, was it entirely necessary to make child Dory have eyes bigger than her internal organs?????  Was that absolutely necessary??????

The first thing that comes to mind with this film is that it’s cute.  It does everything in its power to be cute.  The thing is, I didn’t mind.  There’s an inherent charm to this film that just makes me accept the over abundance of cuteness.  That said, at first, this film didn’t really have the power and impact of other Pixar sequels.  Namely Monsters University.

I felt that the message in Monsters University was a million times stronger than Finding Dory.  I realize now that my first impression was like that because I had seen Monsters University after I had graduated from college, so it was timely.  With Finding Dory, I realize now that I didn’t feel it was as strong simply because I don’t know anyone or have a strong relationship with a mental handicap like Dory.

The overall theme of Finding Dory is that people with disabilities can function quite well in the world.  All they need to do is trust themselves.  There are several animals with disabilities in this movie.  A baluga whale that can’t use echolocation.  A whale shark that’s nearsighted.  An octopus with only seven tentacles (making him a septapus).

It took me a while of thinking about the film to realize that this was the message Pixar wanted to get across and I support their decision wholeheartedly.  Kids needed to know this lesson and be comforted by it.  No matter how handicapped you are, you just need to trust yourself and you can do anything you want.

That said, that message was definitely not aimed at me and as such, I didn’t leave the theater feeling wowed and touched.  I left the theater feeling like I had seen a funny and thoughtful animated movie.  Which is never a bad thing.