Warcraft: The Beginning (2016) Review

There aren’t many people who haven’t heard the word ‘Warcraft‘ on their travels even if they have never played the games before.

With a following that spans across decades, the world of Warcraft, is one familiar with many and is held dear to a lot of avid fans.

The Warcraft stories and games (set in the world of Azeroth) span across fictional generations so we would be here forever if I tried to explain it all. In its most basic form, Azeroth infamously houses 2 rival races, the Alliance and the Horde. They each have their own unique attributes and fight against one another.

The fantasy/adventure film Warcraft: The Beginning is ultimately an origin story about a portal that was created in order for the Horde to travel through universes and take over the realm of Azeroth because their own world is dying.

Having played the game World of Warcraft previously, I was fairly familiar with the story and overall aesthetic that was expected which made for a much more enjoyable experience than perhaps someone visiting it for the first time. Every time an Easter egg or reference to the game would pop up it made me smile and remember the quirks of the games. Unfortunately, though, these aspects would brush over the mind of someone unfamiliar and is perhaps why some people greet the film with dissatisfaction.

When you take a film like Warcraft: The Beginning and draw it from an established source, there’s very little to change or rely on in terms of its context except hoping that those who go to see the film are somewhat familiar with the story. Even though I’d played World of Warcraft, it was all that I had played so there was still a huge chunk of material I was unfamiliar with. Every so often my brother who was familiar with the origin stories would tell me that X character would grow up to be X or that X was that way because of X, prompting me to make the familiar connections. Such details would be frustrating and tiresome to those only able to scratch the surface and understand their true meanings.

In spite of the Horde often being mistaken as the baddies, I would prefer to refer to them as the other side of the coin merely fighting for their survival and a place to call home. Contrasted with numerous battle sequences were quieter moments. Some of my favourite sequences involved one of the main Orc characters with his wife and son. Ironically, the race that wasn’t human showed the most humanity.

Stripping away all previously acquired knowledge and lack thereof at times, Warcraft: The Beginning is an enjoyable and attractive fantasy, action and adventure film. Young adults and adults who are fans of the genre will appreciate the film more than those who usually find the genre tedious.