Plot: Gul’dan (Daniel Wu) is in a desperate situation, as he and his fellow orcs face almost certain annihilation in their own realm, thanks to the rise of a powerful, dangerous presence known as Fel Magic. Even as destruction unfolds all around him, Gul’dan manages to unite several orc tribes and create a larger faction, known as the Horde. Now he plans to march them in search of a new homeland and if that means invading another realm, so be it. That realm turns out to be Azeroth and once the orcs begin an assault, it becomes clear actions must be taken and it might even be too late to hold off the invaders. King Wrynn (Dominic Cooper) begins to mount a defense and an effort to push back the orcs, but he will more than his usual human militia to stand a chance. But can Azeroth assemble a defense powerful enough to hold back the orcs, or will Stormwind fall, with the rest of the realm soon to follow?
Entertainment Value: A movie based on the Warcraft series is an imposing task, as the lore has built over decades and is packed with all kinds of interesting stories, though most are interwoven. Warcraft takes us to the start of the war between humans and orcs, which was a wise choice, as it feels like a fresh slate to build from and offers up a lot of potential for future installments. While this was likely one of the better arcs to forge the movie around, there is still so much information that needs to be relayed and with only two hours, that is no small task. The core narrative is simple and accessible, but so much of the smaller details and threads will be lost on those unfamiliar with Warcraft, so the movie loses some steam there. A lot of what makes Warcraft a fun movie lies with those references and smaller lore threads, so veterans will devour the fan service, but others won’t see those aspects. Even so, Warcraft might be clunky in some ways, but it still feels epic and delivers some popcorn action, as well as interesting characters and introduces the prominent lore fragments in mostly effective ways. So fans of the games will get the most out of Warcraft, but it is still a solid action/fantasy movie even if you’re new to the world of Azeroth.
No nakedness. A little orc blood is spilled, but the violence is non graphic and the few big bursts of it happen off screen. So we know someone gets beheaded, but we’re not allowed to watch as it goes down. The action is solid here and has some epic moments, helped by some impressive visual effects work. I don’t often praise CGI, but Warcraft has some fantastic looking effects and the attention to detail is remarkable. Some of the orcs are just insanely detailed and the textures are so rich, this is some high end CGI and the movie benefits greatly from the superb visual effects. The fantasy elements are woven into the action scenes well, giving us some fun sequences. As for dialogue, this is decent stuff throughout, but a little too much is going on in most scenes and to be honest, most of the lines are forgettable. The lone bright spot is Garona, who has some fun lines here and there. I was pleased to see the orcs were well represented and not just turned to savages, as some fans worried. So the writing is capable in most scenes, but the dialogue itself is rather run of the mill. No real craziness here, as the movie keeps things within the usual action blockbuster parameters.
Overall Insanity: 0/10