First of all – holy moly, is it that long since I posted anything? Almost three months, and I usually try and post something at least once each calendar month. Fairly busy at work as always, and I’ve been playing a lot of (very casual) WoW after a break of 8 years, which has been fun but not something that generates a lot of brilliant, original insights I want to share as the WoW levelling experience has been pretty well chronicled on a few other blogs out there. The few big ideas I have been mulling over seem to deserve longer posts and more attention than I’ve been able to summon the energy for recently so I have to wait for an opportunity to do them justice.
In the meanwhile, the Warcraft movie opened here in the UK today. Without wanting to spoil anything as most readers won’t have seen it yet, here are my initial thoughts on the movie:
- It’s nowhere near as bad as some of the early reviews would have you believe. I was entertained throughout the two hour running time, and I don’t consider myself a raving WoW fanboy. That’s not to say it’s a great movie, and I went in with a fair amount of Warcraft lore knowledge so I may not have the WTF reaction that the completely uninitiated might have, nonetheless some of the harsher reviews seem unfair. I’m convinced that there’s a “turkey conspiracy” effect where every so often the professional movie critics form a consensus to utterly slate a movie that doesn’t really deserve it, just to prove that they aren’t soft touches handing out high marks to everything that comes along. John Carter was another example – not a classic but entertaining enough, but savaged and left for dead by the press. It would be a shame if the movie flopped, not on its own merits, but because too many reviewers felt they had to burnish their “not a nerd” credentials at its expense.
- This is definitely a ‘proper’ Warcraft movie, not a Uwe Boll style ‘Warcraft in name only’ cash-in like some videogame adaptations. There are lots of little shout-outs to the world of the games (spot the murloc!), as is to be expected when you see the Blizzard logo right up front and a number of familiar names in the credits. Lots of familiar locations, lots of familiar architecture, the orcs are spot on in appearance and the arcane magic looks suitably arcane
- The look and feel of the world is very much in the Warcraft style whilst being adapted to the use of live action – if you look at the early WoW cinematic trailers (i.e. the ones for vanilla and Burning Crusade) you’ll get a good feel for how this looks. It makes a nice change from the grubby shades of mud style that pretty much every fantasy movie in the last few years has adopted in an attempt to hijack the Game of Thrones grimdark mystique.
- Travis Fimmel needed to be taken aside and told that he’s not playing Ragnar Lothbrok, so he can drop the accent and the head-tilting that he brought with him from the set of Vikings. No real complaints about any of the other performances – nothing really stand-out either, although I will say some of the orc actors managed to deliver some pretty good characterisation even through the CGI.
On the whole, as I say, I was entertained. For me, it’s a three stars out of five movie and one I’d be happy to pick up on DVD or watch on Netflix. Since it is based on events from the original Warcraft game and doesn’t even touch on Warcraft 2 or 3, never mind World of Warcraft, it’s wide open for a sequel and should one be made I’d be happy to go and see that.