If there is a sequel to Warcraft, I sincerely hope Duncan Jones doesn’t direct it
The video game has 12 million subscribers and not a single one of them could have asked for another director for this movie adaptation. But guess what, contrary to the expectations, Duncan Jones birthed a disaster.
Based on the video game franchise, Warcraft is set in Azeroth and tells the story of humans (including dwarves, imps and various other mythical creatures in the fringes) in conflict with beasts; orcs to be precise. The former party is exposed to the threat of colonisation and the latter fears extinction. The orcs are able to enter the human world via a dark portal and that is when sh** hits the fan. But hey, worry not, we have Garona (Paula Patton) to save the day… or at least she tries. Garona is half orc and half human – I have no idea why!
Garona is the mediator and she tries to avert the foreseeable war between humans and orcs by bringing their respective chieftains together for negotiation: the human King Llane and the orc leader Durotan. But things don’t go as planned. There’s a warlock, insane extent of 3D action, magic missiles, axes, griffins etcetera etcetera and the end!
Regardless, it was nice of her to make an effort to settle down the immigration anxiety.
The movie critics are having a field day by bashing Warcraft and honestly I don’t blame them. Keeping in mind my enduring love for the video game and not sounding vicious – the only good thing about Warcraft is that it’s not boring. It kept me hooked as all the while I was trying to make sense of all those senseless twists, weird fantasy names and CGI monsters.
The concept of the movie was all over the place and to what extent the characters and the setting were adapted from the game was unclear. In other words, the conversion of this virtual world to the cinema screen was one epic failure.
Whisking computer graphics with ponderous costumes was perhaps a foul recipe for Warcraft. The director, Duncan Jones, wasn’t on the right track while planning the movie. What was shown in the movie and what players experience in the game were poles apart. The movie does not translate the story through its characters. But I honestly enjoyed the orcs’ peculiar sense of style, their aesthetics and appearance. They’re shown more like intelligent ogres, with tiny heads, tusk-like teeth and giant hands with fingers the size of human limbs.
These beasts are adorned with quirky accessories including dreadlocks, piercings, hides, furs and not just bones but entire animal skins and skeletons. One beast has skulls of a rhinoceros as shoulder pads, another has piercings through his tusks.
Aficionados of the Warcraft game franchise will have a hard time recognising the characters mainly because there are just too many of them! Numerous characters and subplots are bound to confuse viewers, especially those who don’t know much about Warcraft.
Moreover, the dialogues are timeworn and as if it wasn’t bad enough, the delivery and action scenes are way below average.
Turning a video game into a movie is a skill that requires meticulous implementation. Every inch of every detail needs to be carefully kept in mind. As much as I enjoyed how the orcs looked, I felt they lacked something. And that was the biggest disappointment for me. The orcs in the movie were way different than the video game; to the point of being unrecognisable. The beasts were not as bada** in the cinematic version. They did not remotely exhibit the savage, cold-blooded brute barbarianism that I was expecting to see.
Furthermore, the movie was haphazard. Jumbled up subplots slowing down the momentum of the story made me honestly wonder if video games should be converted to movies at all! Viewers who have played Warcraft may still be able to extract some sense out of the mayhem happening in the story however, I feel sorrier for the non-Warcraft players. There is quite a possibility, they would turn suicidal after 120 minutes of torture by Duncan Jones.
Warcraft: The Beginning was godawful but I won’t be surprised if more sequels will follow, for there are a dozen levels of the World of Warcraft (WoW) game. But I hope, wish and pray that next time they are made by a different director.
It is such a tragedy that after Moon (2005) and time-travel masterpiece Source Code (2011), Duncan Jones would create such a catastrophe that would potentially drag his directorial career in a downward spiral.
All in all, those who have experienced the multiplayer online role-playing game will strongly disapprove of Warcraft: The Beginning.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.