It says a lot that it’s been something like two weeks since I saw Warcraft and I’m only now writing about it. Mostly because… honestly? I don’t have a lot to say.
The thing you need to understand here is that I’ve played all the original Warcraft RTS games, and devoted more hours of my life than I’m willing to actually count to World of Warcraft. So there is a huge part of me that cannot look at this film in an uncritical way because other criticisms aside, it looked like Warcraft. It’s gorgeous. My god, the humans go flying around on gryphons, HOW COOL IS THAT. The orcs look great. AND OH MY GOD THAT WAS DUROTAN FROSTWOLF CLAN REPRESENT and KHADGAR JUST SHEEPED THAT GUY DID YOU SEE THAT OH MY FUCK and–and–and–
This was a big part of my teenage and twenty-something gamer years, splashed out on the screen and looking cool. I knew the story going in. I knew the characters. I just about shit myself over Gul’dan in the first two minutes.
But this is the thing. I can take a step back and try to address it from the perspective of someone who hasn’t been a fan of the Warcraft franchise, and in that case, the movie is severely wanting. Seriously, if you don’t know who Khadgar is, if you haven’t run the Karazhan raid a million times and known in the marrow of your bones what a dickbag Medivh is, does any of it come out to more than just-so stories and alphabet name soup? From what my few friends who went in canon-blind to see it had to say afterward, the answer is no. The characters aren’t nearly as exciting and compelling when you have no idea where they’re going to be going or what their significance is to a world you’ve never been to. There’s way too many characters, way too much going on in the film, and way too much unspoken backstory that fans can and will fill in easily, but leaves everyone else scratching their heads. Even some of the hand-waving orc culture stuff was a bit much for me, and I knew what was coming.
And that makes me sad to say it, but I also don’t know if there’s really a solution. Warcraft was going to either be a movie that the fans like me would love, or it would be a movie that people unacquainted with the lore could really sink their teeth into. I honestly never thought it was going to be the latter, because translating this much sprawling lore into something you can consume and feel satisfied by in a feature? That’s one hell of a tall task, and at that point would it be recognizable as Warcraft any more? But goddamn, if you’re a fan, it was an amazing two hours. The real question on my mind now is if the film’s going to make enough money for there to be more. It hasn’t done so hot in the US ($45 million so far, oof), but it’s been doing much better internationally ($376 million). I’d love to see another film. I want Thrall: The Movie. I’m hoping I get it, but I’m not going to hold my breath.
But damn you Blizzard, now I want to re-up my WoW account.
By the way, I recently also saw Now You See Me 2. I decided to write up my review of that for my Patreon subscribers only, so if you’re curious, all it takes is a buck.