Warcraft (the movie) sucks – The Failure of Story and Aesthetics in a Video Game Adaptation

Matthew J. Wellman and I sat down to finally watch the Warcraft movie, almost a year from its release. Those of us who know us might be very surprised we waited so long to watch this epic fantasy movie, but we were doubtful as to whether this movie would be effective from the beginning. A big red flag for us was the huge amount of cgi, and while that worry was confirmed, it was confirmed in the opposite way we thought it would be. The cgi orcs, it turned out, were far more effective than the human actors, and it was the humans who looked cartoonish and bizarre.

The jarring mismatching of the visuals was a major problem for a movie built on its visual spectacle, but far from the only problem. At the core of the movie, there is both a deep disregard for the necessities of a story – plot that makes sense, characters who have legitimate motivations, and time spent with dialogue to develop characters and their personalities – as well as a deep disregard for the intelligence of the audience as they are constantly recapping the story without realizing that none of it makes any sense.

In its construction the movie was mostly a series of set pieces from world of warcraft, rendered beautifully and populated by actors with an excess of attractiveness and a dearth of talent. These set pieces are then connected with each other by a contrived plot line where events happen without reason or are executed with annoying deus ex machina.

The movie was a success in some respects – the orc characters are well-acted, incredibly well animated, and where the (ironically) real human connection takes place with the audience. Matt and I agreed that the best thing that could have been done to improve the movie would be eliminating the human perspective and making the movie entirely about the struggle of the orcs, along with making the film totally animated (since it was 90% cgi anyway) and getting rid of the live humans.

Matthew J. Wellman is a fantasy author from California. His upcoming urban fantasy book, Immortal Fear, will be available on July 14, 2017.

David V. Stewart is a fantasy and historical fiction author who lives in California. His upcoming Heroic Fantasy book The Water of Awakening will be available on July 7. Pre-order the ebook for .99 cents before the cost goes up!

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