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First reviews are in for Duncan Jones' Warcraft

05.25.2016

Warcraft Duncan Jones Travis Fimmel Paula Patton Toby Kebbell Banner

WARCRAFT is set to open in a number of foreign markets this weekend ahead of its U.S. debut next month, and several early reviews of the film have emerged online. If you're a fan of the popular video game series, you'll probably enjoy the Duncan Jones-directed adaptation, but based on these reviews, it sounds like the movie won't do much for non-fans.

We'll have to wait and see if the negative reviews continue to pile up, but at the moment, things aren't looking good for WARCRAFT.

Crave Online:

We are still waiting for a great video game movie. Maybe we’ll never get one, but a film like Warcraft at least makes it feel like we’re buffering for it. This is an honest attempt to recapture the finer qualities of its source material inside of another medium. When it works, it’s a lot of fun. When it fails, it’s merely an average fantasy adventure that focuses too much on familiar plot devices to make a major impact. But there’s nothing wrong with not being great, so long as you don’t suck. And Warcraft doesn’t suck. It’s a flawed but likable adventure that I would happily go on again, preferably as a double feature with The Beastmaster, Legend or Ladyhawke.

Kotaku:

Rather than tapping into the goofy core that makes a game like World of Warcraft interesting, the Warcraft movie aims for grittiness, missing the mark quite a bit. It just doesn’t work. The lore is too campy. This is a world where a mage’s most popular spell transforms his enemies into sheep, yet Warcraft acts as if it’s a green-screen version of Game of Thrones. At my theater, the biggest laughs came not from the occasional bouts of slapstick comedy but from the miserable archmages of Dalaran, whose CGI-enhanced eyes look especially absurd when you’re supposed to take them seriously. I had hoped Warcraft would at a minimum be entertaining, but really, I’ve had more enjoyable two-hour sessions wiping on Molten Core. At least the armor looks good.

THR:

But if you’ve never played Warcraft the game, can you care about Warcraft the movie? Given the ardent global following of the franchise, will it matter? For non-aficionados, the two-hour experience could be more concise, but it’s no ordeal. Neither, though, is it consistently involving. If you haven’t already invested in the self-serious mythology, it can feel borderline camp, if not downright dull — or both, as when an uncredited Glenn Close intones platitudes from on high about darkness and light. Yet there’s no question that it’s a breakthrough in both storytelling and artistry for features based on video games. And compared with another medieval-ish tale, the soporific Hobbit trilogy, this international production is a fleet and nimble ride, likely to conquer overseas box offices and make a solid stand stateside.

Warcraft Still

Screen International:

In the hands of director and co-writer Duncan Jones (who previously earned plaudits for sci-fi outings Source Code and Moon), the film takes a long time to build dramatic momentum and gets interrupted by what seem like unnecessary plot points; some of them, perhaps, geared towards potential sequels. The CG and motion capture work that goes into the orc characters and most of the sets is impressive - Life of Pi Oscar winner Bill Westenhofer leads the visual effects team – but it doesn’t always meld easily with the live action. The film (rated PG-13 in the US) ends up feeling unconvincing and generic, with nothing to compare to either the dramatic heft of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy or the raunch and gore of Game of Thrones.

Variety:

With its meticulously detailed realms built out primarily on soundstages and enhanced via CGI during extensive post-production, “Warcraft” aims for fresh and eye-popping and yet ends up shopworn and rather tacky. It fits into a long line of visually audacious Hollywood gambles: In success you wind up with a sleeper that few see coming, like “300” (or, if you strike the bull’s-eye, a phenomenon like “Avatar”), but the ones that miss — “The Spirit,” “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” “Sucker Punch” — tend to tank hard. Boasting more than 2,000 visual effects shots, it’s dispiriting to think about the time, energy, planning and precision that went into “Warcraft” when the final product brings to mind those animated advertisements for iPhone app games. So good at making the most outlandish elements of his first two films seem completely credible, Jones can’t find a way to get this cartoony spectacle to soar. His heartfelt approach to the material only underlines the silliness.

The Wrap:

Imagine “Battlefield Earth” without the verve and you get this sludgy, tedious fantasy adventure, a fun-starved dud that’s not even unintentionally hilarious. The cast seems mostly adrift, with only Schnetzer giving what might be considered an actual performance. The usually reliable Foster is reduced to gadding about like a prog-rock Jesus in a series of robes that make him look like he’s posing for the side of someone’s van, and poor Paula Patton gets saddled with a sad pair of novelty-store fangs. (To her credit, she makes the green body makeup work; if the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever expands to include superhero-with-a-law-degree She-Hulk, we’re looking at a real contender here.) “Warcraft” promises, or threatens, sequels, but then so did “Super Mario Bros.” And come to think of it, if forced to watch either of these video-game movies a second time, I’d probably vote for the plumbers.

WARCRAFT is due out on June 10, 2016.

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+1
12:46AM on 05/26/2016

Wait.....are you telling me....

That The Prince Of Persia wasn't considered a film classic?
That The Prince Of Persia wasn't considered a film classic?
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11:09PM on 05/25/2016
I felt like If there was a year when we would finally get a good game movie it would be this one. I feel like this will be a big disappointment (and I take no pleasure in saying that), but there is still some hope for Assassins Creed.

If not I wonder what it would take to finally pull off a good video game film. An Edgar Right directed Mario Bros could work or a really good take on Zelda. I don't know why they cant pull off a Hitman or Bioshock film (they practically write themselves).
I felt like If there was a year when we would finally get a good game movie it would be this one. I feel like this will be a big disappointment (and I take no pleasure in saying that), but there is still some hope for Assassins Creed.

If not I wonder what it would take to finally pull off a good video game film. An Edgar Right directed Mario Bros could work or a really good take on Zelda. I don't know why they cant pull off a Hitman or Bioshock film (they practically write themselves).
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1:15AM on 05/26/2016
I feel like games with the least built-in story would make the best adaptations, because the writers and directors would have the most leeway to make a normal movie. The closer a game is to already being a story, the worse the adaptation will be, because most game stories are just pale rip offs of better movies to begin with. Their stories don't really have to be good, because people are playing them for the mechanics.
I feel like games with the least built-in story would make the best adaptations, because the writers and directors would have the most leeway to make a normal movie. The closer a game is to already being a story, the worse the adaptation will be, because most game stories are just pale rip offs of better movies to begin with. Their stories don't really have to be good, because people are playing them for the mechanics.
+1
10:00PM on 05/25/2016

I finally saw Gods Of Egypt...

... and it was kind d of okay, for what it was, which is a big video game.

So I'll go see this too. If they can make me care enough to remember the name of any character, then that's enough.
... and it was kind d of okay, for what it was, which is a big video game.

So I'll go see this too. If they can make me care enough to remember the name of any character, then that's enough.
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6:30PM on 05/25/2016
"And Warcraft doesn't suck." Wonder if they'll put that in the ads.
"And Warcraft doesn't suck." Wonder if they'll put that in the ads.
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4:36PM on 05/25/2016

I knew from the beginning

The trailer reeked of CGI overdose crapitude.
The trailer reeked of CGI overdose crapitude.
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12:42AM on 05/26/2016
Agreed, but how else do you do the orc army thing?
Agreed, but how else do you do the orc army thing?
+0
2:24PM on 05/25/2016

Fan of the series since early childhood and Warcraft 1-3, then WOW.

But, seems odd to not respect the source material. Warcraft isn't dark and gritty. Its humour and goofiness. Well, except one game perhaps, Warcraft 1: Orcs and Humans.
But, seems odd to not respect the source material. Warcraft isn't dark and gritty. Its humour and goofiness. Well, except one game perhaps, Warcraft 1: Orcs and Humans.
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1:00PM on 05/25/2016

This movie looked HORRIBLE from the start

They always force these awesome indie directors to take on big budget movies and they always fail. So far the reviews for this movie make it sound horrible. It looks like a horrible CGI filled shitfest that has no story, doesn't make you care about anything going on and has really bad effects. I say skip this shit, move on, go see something else and paint this as another horrible video game movie, because that is all it is.
They always force these awesome indie directors to take on big budget movies and they always fail. So far the reviews for this movie make it sound horrible. It looks like a horrible CGI filled shitfest that has no story, doesn't make you care about anything going on and has really bad effects. I say skip this shit, move on, go see something else and paint this as another horrible video game movie, because that is all it is.
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2:33PM on 05/25/2016
"They always force these awesome indie directors to take on big budget movies and they always fail."

Well that's an overstatement.

Christopher Nolan taking on Batman Begins
Peter Jackson taking on The Lord of the Rings
Bryan Singer taking on X-Men
Doug Liman taking on The Bourne Identity

None of them had ever directed anything remotely resembling a blockbuster before taking on those films, and they turned out fantastic. However, I will agree that there is something to be said for
"They always force these awesome indie directors to take on big budget movies and they always fail."

Well that's an overstatement.

Christopher Nolan taking on Batman Begins
Peter Jackson taking on The Lord of the Rings
Bryan Singer taking on X-Men
Doug Liman taking on The Bourne Identity

None of them had ever directed anything remotely resembling a blockbuster before taking on those films, and they turned out fantastic. However, I will agree that there is something to be said for experience and sometimes these newer indie directors don't end up being a good fit with such big projects. More often than not though it seems like when the studio trusts them to make the film with minimal interference (i.e. The Russos on Captain America or Favreau with Iron Man 1) then they turn out well, when the studio interferes (Gavin Hood on X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Favreau with Iron Man 2, or Marc Webb with the Amazing Spider-Man films) the film almost always suffers as a result. I'm not sure which of those camps this falls into, but I do agree that the trailers look absolutely atrocious.
11:44AM on 05/25/2016
I saw a screen er of it last week in Toronto and although I've never played the game (yet have been into Fantasy/Sci-fi my whole life) and I quite enjoyed it. The battles, the story, the sorcery, etc. It was quite a ride and I can see it being enjoyable to many. Heck I may even see it again. Defiantly set up for sequels too so theres that if it does well.
I saw a screen er of it last week in Toronto and although I've never played the game (yet have been into Fantasy/Sci-fi my whole life) and I quite enjoyed it. The battles, the story, the sorcery, etc. It was quite a ride and I can see it being enjoyable to many. Heck I may even see it again. Defiantly set up for sequels too so theres that if it does well.
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11:05AM on 05/25/2016
I have never played the game, so I think myself and others who have never played the game, will be more open to enjoying the film because we'll have an open mind to the storyline and characters and won't be worrying how faithful it is to the games. It just looks like an overall big, fun, summer popcorn loving film.

Plus Duncan Jones is an incredible director and will see anything with him involved.
I have never played the game, so I think myself and others who have never played the game, will be more open to enjoying the film because we'll have an open mind to the storyline and characters and won't be worrying how faithful it is to the games. It just looks like an overall big, fun, summer popcorn loving film.

Plus Duncan Jones is an incredible director and will see anything with him involved.
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10:11AM on 05/25/2016
I can't say if the film is any good without seeing it, but the trailers look atrocious.
I personally think that it would be nice to see a fully CGI film without any of the live action. The two together today look jarring. It mostly takes away from the now and is distracting. I think without the limitation of having folks in front of a green screen, the films can become more immersive. Look at the cinematic game trailers for the Star Wars Old Republic game trailers for example.
I can't say if the film is any good without seeing it, but the trailers look atrocious.
I personally think that it would be nice to see a fully CGI film without any of the live action. The two together today look jarring. It mostly takes away from the now and is distracting. I think without the limitation of having folks in front of a green screen, the films can become more immersive. Look at the cinematic game trailers for the Star Wars Old Republic game trailers for example.
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9:53AM on 05/25/2016

See it for yourself

I can tell this is one of those movies that people are going to have to see for themselves. It's not a movie that you can take a film critic's word on. Blizzard is a company that would not put out a bad product to those who would enjoy the subject matter. If you are a person that generally doesn't enjoy fantasy movies, stay home. If you do like fantasy movies, it sounds like this will be great. Fantasies are like westerns. It's a very specific sub-genre that caters to a certain audience.
I can tell this is one of those movies that people are going to have to see for themselves. It's not a movie that you can take a film critic's word on. Blizzard is a company that would not put out a bad product to those who would enjoy the subject matter. If you are a person that generally doesn't enjoy fantasy movies, stay home. If you do like fantasy movies, it sounds like this will be great. Fantasies are like westerns. It's a very specific sub-genre that caters to a certain audience.
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9:37AM on 05/25/2016

Exactly......

As a video game fan its always frustrating to see another franchise get a black eye from a bad movie adaptation. Never played warcraft but you knew from the previews this was going to be bad. I love Milla Jovavich but those Resident Evil movies are terible except for 1 & 2. Even those only followed the games story line to about a 1/10. My biggest fear is that someone will crap all over Zelda.
As a video game fan its always frustrating to see another franchise get a black eye from a bad movie adaptation. Never played warcraft but you knew from the previews this was going to be bad. I love Milla Jovavich but those Resident Evil movies are terible except for 1 & 2. Even those only followed the games story line to about a 1/10. My biggest fear is that someone will crap all over Zelda.
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12:27PM on 05/25/2016
I really like the 3rd Resident Evil. The first two were alright. After the third one it all went to hell. When Wesker took her powers away she was still doing everything as if she still had the virus in her system. lol. bad writing.
I really like the 3rd Resident Evil. The first two were alright. After the third one it all went to hell. When Wesker took her powers away she was still doing everything as if she still had the virus in her system. lol. bad writing.
11:04PM on 05/25/2016
The third Resident Evil was the only one I think can be argued is a legitimately good film (If admittedly in a dumb B-movie kind of way). They completely stopped trying with 4 and they became strait to DVD level bad (with admittedly shinier, cooler visuals). That being said I have to say I really enjoyed the last one. The writing was as bad as ever but I found it to be a lot of fun provided you didn't put any thought into it and just enjoyed the visuals.

I also second that comment about
The third Resident Evil was the only one I think can be argued is a legitimately good film (If admittedly in a dumb B-movie kind of way). They completely stopped trying with 4 and they became strait to DVD level bad (with admittedly shinier, cooler visuals). That being said I have to say I really enjoyed the last one. The writing was as bad as ever but I found it to be a lot of fun provided you didn't put any thought into it and just enjoyed the visuals.

I also second that comment about Zelda. Of the few video games that really have great potential for film adaptions, Zelda is probably in the top 3. If done right it could be something really special.
9:19AM on 05/25/2016
My feeling is this: if you've played the game, you'll get a big kick out of this movie. If not, you still have a great time at the movies.
My feeling is this: if you've played the game, you'll get a big kick out of this movie. If not, you still have a great time at the movies.
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9:14AM on 05/25/2016
The vibe im getting is that film critics and average filmgoers are finding this movie absolutely fromage because to the uninitiated, the lore is really cheesy and hokey, but to the fans its jerk off material in all its glory.
The vibe im getting is that film critics and average filmgoers are finding this movie absolutely fromage because to the uninitiated, the lore is really cheesy and hokey, but to the fans its jerk off material in all its glory.
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8:30AM on 05/25/2016

I guess we haven't seen the same film !

And I can't even tell that it's because I've never played the game, because the place was full of hardcore fans and they felt the same thing as I did !
One fucking great time !
Of course, the movie is not perfect, but it's not like any movie is.
As far as Fantasy movie goes, it's one of the best I've seen in some time. Obviously not LotR level, but, yet again, not many movies are !
And I can't even tell that it's because I've never played the game, because the place was full of hardcore fans and they felt the same thing as I did !
One fucking great time !
Of course, the movie is not perfect, but it's not like any movie is.
As far as Fantasy movie goes, it's one of the best I've seen in some time. Obviously not LotR level, but, yet again, not many movies are !
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9:15AM on 05/25/2016
So why give it a negative with the "This is a bad idea" tab? The column just said that reviewers say it's average and enjoyable, but not great.
So why give it a negative with the "This is a bad idea" tab? The column just said that reviewers say it's average and enjoyable, but not great.
7:32AM on 05/26/2016
It was mostly to tell I disagree with the review, my dear Des1
It was mostly to tell I disagree with the review, my dear Des1
8:27AM on 05/25/2016
Awww man. I really wanted this to work, especially after having disappeared into the game 24/7 for six months ten years (give or take) ago. I'll watch it down the road out of pure curiosity about what made it from the game into the film but will miss it at the theatre.
Awww man. I really wanted this to work, especially after having disappeared into the game 24/7 for six months ten years (give or take) ago. I'll watch it down the road out of pure curiosity about what made it from the game into the film but will miss it at the theatre.
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8:40AM on 05/25/2016
First of all, it's a prequel to the game.
And the screening I was at, was full of fans. And they sheered and applauded a lot at the end !
Go see it !
First of all, it's a prequel to the game.
And the screening I was at, was full of fans. And they sheered and applauded a lot at the end !
Go see it !
9:02AM on 05/25/2016
Thanks for the scoop Cathelotte.
Thanks for the scoop Cathelotte.
8:21AM on 05/25/2016

I never played the game...

... so I cannot tell if it's faithful to the material source, but the movie is really really good !
I went with no expectations, knowing just the game's reputation and that's it, Watching the trailers I thought it will be a variation of Lord of the Rings and was worried by the CGI... Finaly, I was very well surpruised what fun the movie was... Finaly, a good movie from a video game !
... so I cannot tell if it's faithful to the material source, but the movie is really really good !
I went with no expectations, knowing just the game's reputation and that's it, Watching the trailers I thought it will be a variation of Lord of the Rings and was worried by the CGI... Finaly, I was very well surpruised what fun the movie was... Finaly, a good movie from a video game !
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8:36AM on 05/25/2016
My feeling exactly !
Never played the game, and I had a great time at the screening !
And, as far as I can tell, the fans of the game, around me, felt the same.
My feeling exactly !
Never played the game, and I had a great time at the screening !
And, as far as I can tell, the fans of the game, around me, felt the same.
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