WARCRAFT: THE BEGINNING
+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.