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I'll try to give my opinion without spoilers since there is no release date yet in many countries.
So, I didn't manage to go to the movie premiere on May 26. There was a lot of confusion about preparations and going to my brother's wedding. And yet, as soon as my wife and I returned to St. Petersburg from Moscow, we immediately went to IMAX. We didn't even visit our apartment after the train, to change or leave our luggage :) Well, the cinema is a building next to the train station, so....
- Lok'tar ogar! - We don't like any Hordes here.... (dialogue between audience members in the cinema)
Let's just say I had mixed feelings after this movie. It was both amazing and terrible, split between different aspects. So they need to be listed.
I've been a fan of this universe since the mid-90s. I started my acquaintance with the Warcraft saga with Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and have been following the story ever since. I'm a lore geek in WoW - it's actually one of the main reasons I play the game. I carefully scramble the smallest quest chains and follow the larger story and mythology. So lore is very important to me.
However, I understand that the movie script has to deviate from the lore of the game. If you copy all the events exactly, it can be boring to watch. The movie and the game are different entertainment, so we should expect changes.
Let's just say that overall I'm happy with the storyline. The main plot threads are. There is Medivh, there is Garona, Gul'dan, Khadgar, Anduin Lothar, and the other heroes and villains of the First War. They all do what they are supposed to do according to the lore. Their motives and reasons are there. However, the First War ended a bit differently, but that may play out well in the sequel.
From what I've heard, Duncan Jones must have cut about 30-40 minutes of the film for the theaters. If so, it didn't play out well. The pace of the film is quite strange and I could almost feel where the cutting scissors were applied. Sometimes it rushes, sometimes it bores, not every character or situation is given enough attention. I definitely need to see the director's cut version. If a sequel is to be made, there is much room for improvement. Putting all the scenes in their places.
Let's talk about the human actors in Stormwind here, and leave the CGI for later.
I really liked Medivh and Khadgar. Ben Foster and Ben Schnetzer really nailed their characters, they are very alive and believable down to the bone.
Garona turned out not to be as bad as the critics wrote. There were some questions about her, but overall Paula Patton was pretty good.
The biggest shocker in the entire film was the acting - or rather lack thereof - of Dominic Cooper and Travis Fimmel. Dominic Cooper's acting skills in Warcraft are best compared to a log in the woods. Overall, he acts like he doesn't know what he's doing here. He looks like a guy who came to Comic Con wearing a cosplay he didn't really want to wear. He just ruins the whole atmosphere by being very bored at the filming stage. And since we see King Llane a lot, it's a disaster for the whole movie. This is the number one candidate for the Golden Raspberry Award - give him a 10 please.
Anduin Lothar is slightly better, although it seems that neither he nor the director could decide which character they had in mind. He sometimes shines in the humorous scenes, he is moderately ok as a heroic knight, but overall he did not create a believable character. Too many personality strengths were put into one man, too many character types, and he failed to convince us of any of them.
CGI-actors, creatures, and scenery
If you remember people telling you to run and see Avatar (3D only!) - I would say the same thing about Warcraft. It's a feast for the eyes. IMAX was worth every cent paid for the ticket.
I was scared shitless by Gul'dan. It's the most terrifying portrayal of that character ever, and Daniel Wu's performance was sensational.
There were some damn believable and awesome orc characters - Durotan, Orgrim, Draka, Blackhand were amazing. Compared to the shallow Lothar and Llane.... no, let's not even compare. It's how they move, speak, what they feel and what they do - the Horde shines here.
The dwarves are very cool. They couldn't be better. About the trolls, goblins and gnomes in the sequels, I'm very calm now.
High elves and Antonidas were.... erhm. I didn't like the glow in their eyes - it's a bit too big and artificial, just like the resin elven ears. Btw, I don't mind that one of the elves was Asian :) Why not?
The animals are awesome, even if they were few. The wolves of the Frostwolf clan and the griffins of Stormwind act as both mounts and weapons of destruction. You'll abandon your crappy drakkars in the game and go back to basic mounts after the movie, I promise.
And the scenery. You'll be crying your eyes out at the familiar landscapes, depicted with love and care and the most luscious colors I've seen in a long time.
The magic - well, magic it is. Arcane could easily be called just one more character. There is a lot of detail and care put into all the spells. It was wow - and WoW.
All the visuals are why Warcraft is a must-see movie.
Warcraft is brutal. All the battles boast extreme violence - which is amazing. We need to keep that in the sequels, the savagery needs to be present. When the battles start, you forget everything off screen.
Let's just say that Ramin Djawadi is one of my favorite film composers and again he did everything right. The main track played for 2 hours in my head after the movie ended. And that is the case now as well.
All in all, the film looks like a test of epic cinema skills from Duncan Jones. There are some flaws in the storytelling and acting, but he has managed to bring the magic of the Warcraft universe to the screens and let us feel it.
I need to see this movie at least twice while it's still in theaters. I need to see the director's version. And I really need a sequel - without the flaws of the first film :)
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