And I apologize to World of Warcraft gamers for my opinions and perhaps getting a few things or a lot of things wrong. I hope not.
When it comes to film adaptations, it’s a big risk that can go or blow. Of course becaues it is an adaptation, there is space for the director to be a little more creative and they can also manipulate a perspective for the audience to see their opinion on the person if it is a biopic. Though in terms of games, how much can you really put in a movie? Although most games turned into a movie have simple plot lines because there isn’t much of an in depth story, there are some games which have a lot of lore, and loyal gamers follow and know the lore by heart. In the case of fighting games, although there are some backstories to the character, it is very simple to be able to use the story and twist it in any way as long as the main events or the characters who hate each other in the game do hate each other in the movie as well. Get what I mean? This was the case for Tekken, which didn’t do very well when being translated on the big screen. I grew up playing Tekken, along with Street Fighter and others, but the film adaptations of Tekken were an embarrassment. Because of the wide range of characters in the game, it is hard, I can imagine, to put them all in a story sequence, and the result of it was a disaster.
What about non-gamers watching a movie adaptation of a game? How considerate are directors to make sure that the movie is something audiences can understand if they haven’t played the game? That was the case of Warcraft. I’ve only played World of Warcraft (WoW) once, and not a long time. I didn’t really like how it was platformed, it was the older version of the game. I just felt flustered. That’s my opinion. I’m pretty sure the storyline in the game is really good. It does look interesting, just not my cup of tea.
Anyway, recently we watched Warcraft the movie and at first I was skeptical. I always am when a game is translated to the big screen. In Warcraft’s trailer, it looked amazing, though I wondered if you needed to play the game to be able to understand the story and the characters. In this case, no, not necessarily. Warcraft was good, in the first half hour or so. It was fast paced from the beginning and had us hooked, with the special effects and I found the scene with Durotan and his wife Draka to be very sweet (effective scene for character development), but as the story progresses, it’s unbelievable how many loose ends they left. Clearly this Warcraft was some sort of a prequel to the actual movie, because by the way they left the ending of the movie, the director are clearly hoping they have enough money and support to make a “sequel”.
How do I know this movie was meant to act as a prequel? I did my research and Thrall (named Go’el by his parents) is one of the major characters of the game. Of course his birth father Durotan was in the games, but in the legend series. In the movie, Durotan is given centre stage as orc protagonist, trying to be as honorable to his people against the obvious baddie of the movie, Gul’dan.
Basically, the story goes: the orcs leave their own land, which is another dimension, and enter a new one, where the humans rule it, with other species and race. They are brought through the dimension using a portal energized by the magic of fel, which is simply blackmagic, used by Gul’dan. Like vikings of their world, they plunder and destroy everything and everyone in their path. Obviously, no one in this world like it and try to go against the orcs. The ruler, King Llane Wrynn (played by actor Dominic Cooper) does his duty to protect the realm with the help of his commander Anduin Lothgar (Travis Fimmel) and the guardian Medivh (Ben Foster), and oh, a half orc named Garona (Paula Patton). At the same time, knowing Gul’dan’s destructive nature, Durotan rebels and tries to ask to make an alliance with the humans against Gul’dan, who captures prisoners to give him the energy to power up another portal using fel magic. This is all good for the story, but it lacked so much in execution. I’ll just point them out to avoid writing a thesis.
- When asked what he will call his son, halfway through the movie, Durotan said Go’el. For gamers, they’d understand. For noobs, we don’t know the significance of the name…so…Go’el huh? Nice name, nice name.
- For the portal to work on both sides of dimensions, there needs to be a summoner, someone to invite in from the other dimension. In this case, it is Medivh, the guardian. Why the F would he do that? Apparently he tried to use fel magic once and slowly it consumed him (like the ring slowly consumed Frodo). But…why? Did he try to use fel to make sure his own powers get stronger so that he can protect the realm even more? Obviously by the way the actor potrayed Medivh, Medivh was not an apparent good guy, nor was he a bad guy. It got a little confusing and at one point, we really thought he was the ultimate bad guy, which would be a really good twist! But then he became the good guy again…Why?
- Because Gul’dan is the obvious bad guy. So bad that they left him off the hook…twice. Huh? What? WTF! Yep. At first we thought he was a cranky old mage trying to help lead his people into a new world to settle in. Though later he has more sinister plots which revealed that he’s not very nice. What bothers us most is that there were two times where he shamed the honor and honor is a BIG THING for orcs. 1) When Durotan challenged Gul’dan to a duel for which the champion gains all respect from orcs blindly. Durotan seemed to have the upper hand, whooping Gul’dan’s ass until Gul’dan decides to use his magic to drain the life out of Durotan. The orcs all say in harmony that it was cheating, but Durotan dies anyway, and no one does anything about Gul’dan. He did something dishonorable…um…what about the consequences? 2) At the end when Lothar dueled with Blackhand, Lothar won fair and square, and because he did, the orcs had to respect and honor the tradition and let him pass. Gul’dan on the other hand, being whiny already, complained that they should not let him leave, in spite of honor. Again…nothing? No punishment? Clearly this guy is the bad guy and until the end, no one goes against him whatsoever.
- Towards the end of the movie, there is a battle at the settlement of the orcs, between them and the humans, of which the humans fail miserably, forcing the King to make a hard decision, to sacrifice himself. He tells Garona the half orc to kill him so that she can gain the honor and respect of the clan and become the new chief. Okay, fine. It was quite a sad death since Garona grew very fond and remained loyal to the king throughout the movie. This move of the king also enabled the battle to stop as the orcs were now celebrating the honor of their new chieftess. Seeing her knife still in the king’s neck, Lothar is heartbroken (since there is something going on between the two as the movie’s love subplot) and hates the orcs even more. This is okay because then there would be more tension in the drama, but because it’s the end of the movie, there is no room for more, leaving the relationship and the tensions in the dark. They just hung it there. Just like that. No confrontation? Nothing?
- What about Go’el (Thrall)? The last scene of the movie is Go’el in the basket (put by his mother) flowing along with the current of the river. I could not help but start singing the lullaby of Yocheved from The Prince of Egypt. Anyway, he docks nearby and is picked up by someone we could not see. And…scene. That’s it.
I’m sure a lot of you have different opinions and you can comment on it below. I’m not a warcraft gamer but that’s one thing the movie definitely convinced me to do, and that is to check out the game once more and give it another chance. Perhaps this was their plan all along but I find it a real shame that the movie wasn’t better. They had the story laid out for them, and instead of a story about the orcs rebel against Gul’dan with the humans, the conflict between orcs and humans seemed to be more important, therefore leaving the story very short on anything too memorable. I guess what we wish for will lie in the sequel. That’s just pathetic though. Everything that was building up in the movie was just…useless. Durotan’s efforts were useless. It was just a plan to set up the real players of the story, Thrall being the real hero of the orcs, delivering them from the clutches of Gul’dan. (Seriously, MOOOOOOOOSEEEEEEEES!)
It’s a movie with a lot of eye candy and hooks you in the beginning but slowly let’s go of your attention and your dedication as it surprises you but not in the good way.