Sunday, June 12, 2016

Summer Cinema: Warcraft

This past Thursday we went into Warcraft with no real expectations. I'd played the original game and part 2 as a youth, dabbled in part 3 but never checked out online giant World of Warcraft. Directed by Duncan Jones with a co-writing assist from Charles Leavitt and Chris Metzen, the first trailers did not look good. Just your typical bad CGI with live action mash up. But hey, I'm a sucker for large scale, fantasy world set, sword swinging action flicks like Lord of the Rings, Willow, Dragonheart, Clash of the Titans, Conan the Barbarian, Masters of the Universe and the recent Gods of Egypt. Sadly, even with no expectations, Warcraft failed to deliver. It just wasn't very exciting or compelling. I felt so bad for my lady that halfway through the film I ran out to get her another glass of wine so she wouldn't be too bored. And I was several whiskey gingers in yet still not enjoying the flick.

We're thrown into a world of orcs, knights, mages and griffins with magic portals, ornate armor and lightning spells. But no real set up so like Hunger Games, I didn't get transported in or believe what I was seeing. The humans feel threatened by the orcs, the orcs are just trying to save their clan, there's some family and character moments but most of it falls flat. As Jones and crew fail to set up the alternate world, they also try to ground it in reality with all the character bits but end of the day you don't care about anyone in the film or if they live or die. Add to that the fact everything looks fake, from the CGI orcs next to a green painted Paula Patton to the well designed yet still manufactured looking armor and false looking sets, there's just nothing to grasp to. There's swords, war hammers and axes galore but not a single duel if I recall correctly. Lots of implied violence and cutting to black but no sword clashing or choreography. Battle scenes come off as a lot of frantic activity with no actual fighting. I just don't get it.

Budgeted at an estimated $160 million, Warcraft was supposedly aimed at the Chinese audience which has eaten the film up, breaking records and grossing a shattering $140+ million in only a few days. Yet there's one Asian character in the film and he doesn't have a line. Although American born Daniel Wu is a performance capture villain. Opening in the states this weekend, Warcraft grossed a not great $24 million amidst poor reviews and will struggle to hit $75 million I'm guessing. My hopes for a Pacific Rim or Edge of Tomorrow surprise were certainly dashed and I can't imagine any amount of foreign box office will greenlight a WC sequel any time soon. Look at Terminator: Genisys, it didn't hit $100 million in America but ended up grossing $440 million globally with so-so word of mouth, prompting Paramount to promptly pump the brakes on two proposed sequels. Leaving the film I felt weirdly frustrated, this is the kind of movie I should like and I was hoping it would succeed as the underdog but as it stands, Warcraft is the worst and most disappointing movie I've seen this summer if not the year. Oh, plus there was no Leeroy Jenkins reference...

1 comment:

  1. great movie! I saw it twice. Never played the game 😑