WAR­CRAFT: THE BE­GIN­NING

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES -

+Di­rec­tor: Dun­can Jones (Moon) Star­ring: Travis Fim­mel, Paula Pat­ton, Ben Foster, Do­minic Cooper, Ben Sch­net­zer, Toby Kebbell Ver­dict: Never has its head in the game AS home to one of the big­gest MMORPGs (mas­sively mul­ti­player on­line role-play­ing games) of all-time, Bliz­zard En­ter­tain­ment’s War­craft uni­verse has been pa­tiently wait­ing its turn at a movie makeover for sev­eral years.

Per­haps it should have kept right on wait­ing. For it only takes a mat­ter of min­utes for War­craft: The Be­gin­ning to be­come the end of cin­ema as we know it.

In spite of a $200 mil­lion bud­get, a two-hour run­ning time and what seems like 2000 dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters with speak­ing parts, War­craft: The Be­gin­ning can only ever start two trains of thought in­side the minds of view­ers.

If you are not won­der­ing what the hell is hap­pen­ing, you’ll be ask­ing your­self why the heck you’re still watch­ing.

To draw any­thing re­sem­bling ex­cite­ment from this dull, soul­less slurry of suck­tas­tic SFX and blowhard act­ing, long­time War­craft devo­tees had bet­ter play the role of some­one re­cu­per­at­ing from a lo­bot­omy.

The plot­ting of War­craft: The Be­gin­ning ap­pears to have ab­sent­mind­edly mapped out by some­one who once watched a whole sea­son of Game of Thrones ... through a set of binoc­u­lars ... on a neigh­bour’s telly.

A care­ful dis­tance is main­tained from both logic and co­her­ence at all times. There are var­i­ous tribes of mo­tion-cap­tured war­rior crea­tures known as orcs, who have been in­ter­mit­tently in­vad­ing the hu­man world through a magic por­tal.

A pow­er­ful wizard (Ben Foster) has been act­ing as the por­tal’s gate­keeper, but he hasn’t been do­ing a very good job lately.

While a stu­dious new ap­pren­tice (Ben Sch­net­zer) and a prag­matic king (Do­minic Cooper) pon­der what should be done next, a vet­eran sol­dier-strate­gist (Travis Fim­mel) pre­pares the way for an in­evitable man-ver­sus-orc smack­down.

Not all orcs are bad. Not all hu­mans are good. As for half-hu­man­half-orcs like the one played by Paula Pat­ton, you guessed it – they are nei­ther good nor bad. The di­a­logue is pres­sure-packed with for­tune-cookie fore­bod­ing (“no one can ever stand against the dark­ness alone”) and greet­ing-card slo­gans (“if love is what you need, you must travel to the ends of the Earth to find it”).

So it is a rel­a­tive re­lief when­ever the cast must shut up so more CGI bat­tles can be waged be­tween mankind and their monstrous en­emy.

You won’t be ex­actly thrilled by these scenes, but you will catch the un­prece­dented movie sight of some­one pick­ing up a horse and throw­ing it at some­one else.

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