Warcraft the Movie: WTF Critics?! It Was Good!

So I went and saw Warcraft on its opening weekend.  I really enjoyed it.  I had heard going in that some critics didn’t like the movie.  But they also don’t usually like the Jay and Silent Bob movies and those were some of the funnest movies of the last 20 years.  I did read one review where the guy complained that the movie had too much CGI (lol?) I guess he wanted actors in costumes with visible zippers to play the orcs.  I had heard there were “too many characters.”  You should try Game of Thrones or some other show where a character might not be seen for a couple of years and you are left to wonder “who the heck is that guy?  Is he new or is he someone from a previous season who I have forgotten?”

I want to point out that I don’t consider myself a Warcraft fan boy.  I loved playing Warcraft 2 in the 90s.  When Warcraft III came out, it was years before I got around to playing it and I only got through a half dozen or so campaigns.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like the game, just that I had other things to do and it wasn’t so addictive that I couldn’t resist.  I’ve tried World of Warcraft on one of those reverse-engineered private servers.  I thought the game was ok but as I was alone on that server and WoW is meant to be played by thousands of people at once, I didn’t get into that either.  I tell you this because if you haven’t seen the movie, I want to encourage you to do so and I want you to know it is because I found the movie enjoyable and not because of some blind loyalty to a game franchise.

It wasn’t a great movie.  It wasn’t one of those that I’ll watch 100 times.  Do you like fantasy movies with swords and sorcery?  Do you like a good story?  Do you like actually seeing magic in use?  (Sorry Gandalf).  Then you might like Warcraft the Movie.

You might have heard about the director Duncan Jones defending the movie and the interviewer who abruptly ended the interview.  I thought Duncan answered the questions really well and I do believe that most of the complaints about this movie are silly.  Check out the video below if you haven’t already seen it.  Though there are some plot spoilers in there.

One of the complaints was that the geography was unclear.  To the non-fan this might be true.  Adam Rosser mentions that when he read Lord of the Rings, there were maps of Middle Earth in his copies of the books.  I loved the LOTR movies.  I even enjoyed the Hobbit movies.  I’ve seen the LOTR movies at least a half dozen times each including their extended editions.  With that said, I couldn’t tell you if Gondor was east or west of Rivendell or Rohan.  I don’t know where Mordor is either.  I presume they are all on the same continent as the armies marching to and fro were never shown boarding ships.  I don’t think it matters.  So I don’t think it mattes in the world of Azeroth where cities are.  Adam Rosser also suggests the plot was hard to follow and he’s not the first critic I have read that has suggested the plot could be hard for a non-Warcraft player to understand.  Duncan Jones puts it pretty simply: Green magic is bad and green magic poisons you.  LOL short and sweet.  I went to see this movie with my 60-year old mother.  She’s never played Warcraft though I know in my teen years I showed her some of the silly things like clicking on a sheep until it explodes.  She was able to follow the plot of the movie just fine.  She didn’t feel lost at all.  Rosser has received death threats and a lot of bad feedback for his interview.

Warcraft Movie Lothar and Gryphon
Herpaderp, why did they have to use a CGI Gryphon instead of a real one?

What other complaints have I heard?  Well lets see… “they traveled too fast!  The mages were able to teleport.”  No joke.  That was a complaint one of the movie critics made.  They didn’t like teleportation spells.  I hope they’ve never seen Star Trek!  Next complaint: “The orcs are speaking English on screen but it turns out they don’t actually speak English.”  This is something that’s been done for years.  In older Hollywood movies the actors just had to speak with bad Russian accents so that you knew they weren’t speaking English.  It is pretty standard though to have the actors speak the language of the country where the movie is being shown and it is just understood that they are really speaking another language.  This is because not every viewer enjoys subtitles.  The real complaints for spoken English ought to be saved for Stargate SG-1 and Star Trek.  On Star Trek, the badges worn on their uniforms also act as translators.  But that means when they talk to aliens, we should really be seeing the aliens speak and then hearing Majel Barret’s voice translating.  Of course that would make the TV show move at a slower pace and would be less enjoyable even if it would be more accurate.

Next complaint:  Garona, the half-orc, finds being a warrior is an important requirement for a mate.  Seriously?  This is not an original idea at all.  I could see if you were complaining about the fact that this has been done in many other stories over thousands of years of human storytelling.  But you aren’t complaining about that.  You are complaining that it exists at all and are somehow unaware that this is not an original concept.  Orcs are warriors and admire strength and honor.  So why wouldn’t Garona want to mate with someone who guarantees her offspring the best chance at a life of survival-of-the-fittest?

I was surprised to see Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga in Warcraft.  I had just watched an episode of Preacher which starred both of them.  I’ll be writing an article about Preacher very soon (it’s long overdue).  That said, King Llane had one critic upset because he was just “too good.”  A benevolent ruler, a fighter, honorable and willing to sacrifice for his people.

What I think is probably the coolest thing about Warcraft is even though the movie appears to be bombing in the U.S. ($24m opening weekend and 7m on the second weekend) the movie is making lots of money internationally.  As of right now Warcraft has earned over $378m and yet just over 10% of that is from the U.S. and $204m is from China alone where the movie was a smashing success and broke a number of opening weekend records.

Typically for a movie to be considered successful, the movie has to at least double its budget and Warcraft’s budget was $160m.  Though I’ve heard there was an additional $110m used for marketing.  That $160 number has been more than doubled already and I feel pretty confident when I say that Warcraft will probably break $500m by the time the blu-ray is released.  Especially if the 40 minutes of cut footage is included.  So the question remains will there be a sequel?  Well I think the better question will be: will the sequel be in English?  If more than half the money comes from China, it might not be crazy to film a sequel in China and in Mandarin.

So yeah to wrap things up.  If you were thinking of going to see Warcraft but the critics made you leary, ignore them and you’ll spend two hours watching a fun movie!

Now my favorite part.  Shameless merchandise promotion. I do have some Warcraft swag in my store including some old and rare Warcraft figures still in their original packages.  So check out our store from some great Warcraft deals.



What do you think?