“Warcraft” has achieved a lofty goal: There hasn’t been a movie as unrelentingly bad since “Jupiter Ascending” managed to surpass the bloated and pitiful “Battlefield Earth” as the worst big-budget science fiction film of all time.
It’s game over for another attempt to turn a video game into a movie.
On the distant world of Draenor, a race of dentally challenged warriors known as Orcs have not practiced good environmental ways and their world is dying. So as with any race of bloodthirsty warriors in some sort of a predicament, the Orcs decide to move to the lush world of Azeroth.
The magic needed to make the trip is fueled by human life forces. They only have enough people juice to send over a war party, which should be enough to enslave the planet, capture all the humans and turn them into a bigger fuel source.
Doing this means getting past a bunch of heroes, including top soldier Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel) and brave-hearted ruler Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper). They get some sword-and-sorcery support from Medivh (Ben Foster), a guardian with a galaxy of secrets.
Director Duncan Jones, who co-wrote the script, has put together chunks of story that on their own are a little vague but when put together have absolutely no real meaning. Take for example the invasion by the Orcs. Most of the time the giant warriors are so busy killing each other that they don’t have a lot of time for humans. The real magic in this group is as that the more Orcs who die, the bigger their numbers grow.
Then there’s the explanation by Garona (Paula Patton), who probably was an Orcs Illustrated swimsuit model before getting caught up in the fight, who tells us that the Orcs have captured stacks of humans as fuel and that was how they could get to the new world. But, the Orcs couldn’t open the green portal to invade Azeroth until they had the fuel. So, how did they capture the first humans?
The first 90 minutes are a jumble, but the story gets impossibly tangled in the last half-hour. Any attempt to explain what is happening just creates more questions.
What caps off the failed story is the final showdown between the top human and toughest Orc. The movie has been working toward a moment that’s over in three seconds. It’s as if everyone was just ready to go home.
These are just a few of the countless plot points that Jones ignores for the sake of trying to move the film along. When he’s not creating the confusing mess of a story, he drifts off into characters and imagery that seem to have come from a bad game of “Dungeons & Dragons,” “The Lord of the Rings” and the Bible.
All of the story flaws are amplified by acting that ranges from Fimmel’s blank stare to Patton’s melodrama. Only Cooper hits the right blend of seriousness and humor.
The special effects with the Orcs work generally well, but there times during battle scenes where the computer-generated characters have a glitch. The landscape looks like it was lifted off a game screen and lacks any touch of realism.
It is surprising that the movie only gets a PG-13 rating. It’s video game violence, but after a few necks get snapped, Orcs slice and dice to a numbing level.
The studio needed the PG-13 rating to have any hope of making a few bucks. This is a movie that banks on video game fans seeing the movie repeated times. It was the same hope the makers of the failed “Ratchet & Clank” had before it lost power like an unplugged video game.