Score: Pretty damn good.
Go watch it if you care about warcraft, if you don't, this review wont spoil you on it. Chances are you know the story if you care about Warcraft.
Lengthy babbling introduction to this review.
When i was 11 years old, bouncing on and off on various videogames like Baldurs Gate, Tiberean Sun, Heroes of Might and Magic 3, and the likes. A friend of mine introduced me to the company "Blizzard Entertainment" with the RPG Diablo 2, boosting me with his god-tier Barbarian that was basically the second coming of Thor fused with Ares with an angry chip on his shoulder against the legions of hell with my little necromancer. The game was great, and i loved it but soon fell off my radar as i couldn't afford it at the time.. The company name stuck with me though, and when i found out that they were releasing a new title: "Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos" in a few months, I pooled my allowance and skipped down to blockbuster to get a copy.
I was hooked from the start, the style, the setting, the characters, the story, the lore: It became my favourite game of all time, and that was only reinforced when i realized their online play was a thing with Battle.net, and from then on Blizzard was basically god-tier of game development in my eyes.
When World of Warcraft was released i jumped in as soon as i got my own computer, age 14 now. exploring the world of Azeroth from my own character, taking part in the story on a wholly new level of involvement.
Since then I've become a die hard fan. I've poured over the tomes of lore along the internet and in-game, studied the characters, read most of the quest text in the game (of which there is an ungodly amount an no, half the time it's not worth reading about why you're collecting 10 bear asses for a gnome). And followed through every single expansion pack they've released.
All that being said: I have never played the story "Warcraft: The Beginning" is based on, because as i mentioned i started with Warcraft 3, and this movie is an adaptation of the very first Warcraft game: Warcraft: Orcs & Humans.
I tell you this so you know what kind of person this review is coming from, and just how many tiny little details in this movie had me smirking sometimes, and othertimes made me giddy as hell.
The original games story was very simple: Big hulking green orcs wanna raid and pillage, they open a big portal from their world to the world of Azertoh, and attack the Kingdom of Stormwind, a human kingdom. War ensues: Orcs vs Humans, Stormwinds capital burns, but the orcs are pushed back, and their portal sealed. Congrats, yous Won the game.
Now imagine someone taking that plot, and now, backed with Lore, Characters, Races, Locations, and a HORDE of details from an incredibly passionate team of game developers amassed over more than TWENTY years of tweaking, retconning, writing and imagining, try to turn this into a movie. And you can already tell the challenge that they'd set before themselves with this project in front of them.
And in my own opinion they've done a goddamned valiant effort at making a movie that holds all of this in passionate respect, and does it's damnedest to make a spectacular fantasy movie.
And at the same time this is both the strength and the weakness of this movie: There is too much Warcraft.Not in the movie, but just in general in the world. There are so many tiny little details in the warcraft universe that you simply cannot make a movie that can encompass enough explanation to all the concepts, lore, characters, stories, subplots, races, etc. Without either turning the movie into a documentary or a bland, lifeless schluck of a film with barely any depth.
And Warcraft has done it's damnedest to try and put down as many details, little nods, characters and concepts from the Games universe into this movie to make it authentic, while also turning what was a very simple story into the first part of what i think will be a 2-3 part series of movies.
I could spend the next five hours gushing over explanations and a detailed description of the movie but i won't. Instead i will try to explain my stance on the movie, as it is.
Warcraft is not gonna be your favourite experience if you go into it completely blind about anything that has to do with the Warcraft universe. That's just how it is in my opinion: A lot Characters that i recognize as huge in the game are simplified and glossed over at times in the movie, concepts and locations are introduced very briefly and then disappear just as suddenly a lot of the time. And the more important concepts definitely feel like they have only gotten a shallow explanation in order to keep the plot going. Some character actions, like X character sending their child down a river and the child then being found by someone, is something i KNOW what will lead to, but the average moviegoer would have no trucking clue about whatsoever about why this is something of enough importance to even show.
The design of the movie is also something to point out, simply because of how unique it is. It's bulky, its defined, It's it's very own style and flavor of HIGH CONCEPT FANTASY. A thing that no matter how you pull it off will probably never make for prime movie material. Magic is common, the orcs look like Three Arnolds stacked atop eachother, and the humans wear armor that looks both unwieldy and sometimes detailed to the point of ridiculous.
And the reason for this is because: That's how Warcraft looks. That's Warcrafts Style, and while it works in a videogame, It was always going to have it's issues when translated over into a movie simply because if you cannot immerse or invest yourself into this concept, and good luck doing that in a 2 hour movie if you come in as a blank slate, you can't take it serious and it looks ridiculous.
And despite all of this, all these issues i can clearly see, all the disjointed stuff, all the far fetched concepts, all the over the top designs and sometimes ridiculous acting, i fucking love this movie.
Warcraft is a GOOD movie. But it is NOT a movie that has been made with the intention of being enjoyed equally by EVERYONE. Because to do so would have been an incredible disrespect to the universe that Blizzard has put so much love, effort, passion and sweat and tears into. And at the end of the day, it's their IP, so you can make DAMNED TRUCKING SURE that they would have made a movie that presents the warcraft universe as they wanted us to experience it.
At the end of the day, it's gonna be like this guys: Warcraft has existed for over 20 years, it's become a global phenomenon. The most successful game (argueably) in the WORLD at one point in time, and the company behind it is a fucking passionate powerhouse of creativity. If you are NOT interested in the warcraft universe by now, and you go to see this movie, and come out thinking it was dumb, that's kinda your own fault.
Because if you've not been interested in anything Warcraft up till now, chances are you're never gonna be interested.