Warcraft: The Beginning DVD Reviewed By Jon E Clist

The Premise
The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people, and their home.

The Review
I never really got into many video games in my youth and as a result never really jumped on the World of Warcraft bandwagon. I am aware of it, have seen it and generally know what it is about but I certainly wouldn’t say that I was a fan nor would I say that I don’t like it. It just is and so am I. From listening to the general thoughts out there, post screening, it would seem that the WOW nerds are reasonably happy with the cinematic rendering of their precious world. Which is good news overall, as this certainly does seem like one area of gaming that has a huge following and a lot of support.

For a start you have a ready-made audience just waiting to come out to see the film and if they are happy, they have proved that they will spend lots of money on it and hence the return viewing could be massive. Yet, as film makers you really want to attract the greater audience and therefore it needs to be a film that can stand alone and will make sense to people not all that familiar with the whole concept.

So how do you at first take something that has such a varied story and many underlying themes and then pull it together into a cohesive storyline? The source for the movie adaptation is being taken from the books "Rise of the Horde", which tells how the Orcish Horde was formed; as well as "The Last Guardian", which shows the human side and reaction to Orcish invasion. The film’s director, Duncan Jones, said that the original script was very one sided in terms of the two factions (Horde and Alliance). After signing on to direct, he made major edits to the story, as well as the script, so both factions could tell their side of the story.

Okay, so that being said how does the film stand up in the simple form of a cinematic outing? I enjoyed it, there was plenty of action and characters that you could believe in. From both sides of the Horde and Alliance side of things. I certainly think that Jones did a great job of evening out the storyline a little in order to show both sides of the battle. In all good battle stories, each side must have good and bad guys. There has to be internal battles going on in order to help balance the story and draw you into fight emotionally and not just in a macho “Yeah smash em bro” kind of way.

Dropped in the middle of this war film we find a nice little Romeo and Juliet kind of love story that stands the chance of bringing the two races together and yet could push them apart and I think though at times it felt a little forced into the equation, it was still something that helped to add some breadth to the plot.

From a visual point of view, I thought it won. Yes, there were times when the overly CGI backdrops looked animated and it felt like an animated film as opposed to a pretending to be real kind of world. Yet the fly over shots as they are moving around have a great feel of the whole concept of the World of Warcraft and the building armies and battles etc. I heard one of the gaming fans say that they liked how they recognized key landmarks and buildings along the way from the game.

The Verdict
A solid film that won’t win any awards and is unlikely to break a billion at the box office unless China does it for them. Yet very entertaining and a great set up to a film franchise.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 5th October 2016
Rating: TBC
Duration: 123 minutes 
Genre:  Fantasy
Starring: Travis Fimmel, Ben Foster, Paula Patton
Director: Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code)

The Extras
Director Uwe Boll contacted Blizzard about directing the film, but Blizzard refused. As quoted by MTV news Uwe Boll stated: "I got in contact with Paul Sams of Blizzard, and he said, 'We will not sell the movie rights, not to you... especially not to you. Because it's such a big online game success, maybe a bad movie would destroy that ongoing income, what the company has with it."

Bill Westenhofer, the lead visual effects supervisor for the film, is a long time World of Warcraft player and has mentioned getting up at 2 AM to raid with his guild while on film sets. Robert Kazinsky is also a die hard Warcraft player and recalls producers telling him to turn the game off while on the set of Pacific Rim (2013).

The film was going to be released in December 2015 but was pushed back to May 2016 to avoid the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

An Orcish dialect was created specifically for the movie.

The film went through 20 months of post-production. Thomas Tull the CEO of Legendary Pictures and producer of the film said that the things Duncan Jones and the special effects team are doing are truly on the cutting edge.

When a fan asked Duncan Jones where he would be shooting the film during a Blizz-Con Q&A he was not allowed to answer but did hint at the shirt he was wearing that said "Vancouver"(where the film was shot)

Blizzard announced a Warcraft film in 2006. The film was eventually released in 2016.

It took 123 days to complete filming.

Lifesize weapons and suits of armour were built for the orcs despite the orcs being played by actors via motion capture. This was mainly for photographic references and so that they could use them as props on the set.