Warcraft – The Best Fantasy Epic Since LOTR
Yep I said it. A direct comparison with the LOTR Trilogy. And why not? It’s not like Warcraft is trying to be any different. In fact it’s pretty refreshing to see a film just say ‘Yep, we’re totally ripping off that other franchise you love, but by embracing that fact we’re gonna make a pretty kick-ass movie’. And that is what the makers of Warcraft have done – created a film that would, if worlds collided, quite seamlessly fit into the realm of Middle Earth.
The Warcraft story is good. Orcs, lead by their leader Gul’dan (Daniel Wu) flee a dying world to conquer the peaceful lands of Azeroth, a world occupied by humans, dwarves, elves and other such races. The Orcs destroy everything in their path, but some among them come to realise that perhaps Gul’dan doesn’t really offer the future they had hoped for.
The main cast, Travis Fimmel as Lothar, the human warrior, Paula Patton as Garona, the half human/half Orc, Ben Foster as the Guardian Mage Medivh, Toby Kebbell as the Orc warrior Durotan, and Ben Schnetzer as the young Mage Khadgar are all excellent and do an amazing job at actually creating characters with immense depth. I mean, let’s be honest. There’s nothing truly original about the aforementioned characters in fantasy films, but these characters are genuinely well written, and even offer a surprise or two as the film moves along.
The remainder of the cast is equally strong, and combined with stunning visuals (see it in IMAX if you can. This is a BIG world they’ve created here), Warcraft is everything fans of the fantasy genre could wish for.
The Warcraft climax has a bit of an Empire Strikes Back feel to it (oh yes, I just did it again. Another big franchise comparison) in that at films end, you get the sense that the real work is just beginning, and nobody can truly be happy with where things stand. This is clearly set up to be a series of movies, and honestly, with such a strong first entry, and without any genuine source material (it’s based on a video game, so the outcome of the source material isn’t really clear) I really look forward to seeing where this one goes.