Saturday, 18 June 2016
#38 WAR CRAFT: THE BEGINNING
Starring: Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky and Daniel Wu.
Written by Charles Leavitt and Duncan Jones and directed by Duncan Jones. 123 minutes long. $160 million budget.
The plot. A bunch of multi-coloured orcs come through a portal from their dead world because of dark magic and attack the humans to takeover their world. The leader of the humans, Dominic Cooper, his wizard, Ben Foster and some of the other humans fight the Orcs and some of those swap sides to fight the real baddy, the Orc's evil witchdoctor who needs lives, to power his magic.
So the Orcs and Humans fight on, before teaming up to fight something worse than each other in order to save each other, and a baby is sent down the river like Moses for the second film and that's ab out it. It's a shame it takes so long to get there but hey it's a damn sight better than Battlefield Earh and the Hobbit films which I really disliked.
Now, if you believe the critics this is a terrible film, as bad as Battlefield Earth, it's a film they vilified and hated with a passion, indeed it scored a terrible 29% on Rottentomato.com and took just $24 million dollars in its opening weekend. Normally this would mean that this film was a terrible flop. That is except for the fact that in the rest of the world this 'terrible' film has so far taken over $313 million dollars, most of that in China where it was more successful than Star Wars: The Force Awakens, thereby guaranteeing a sequel.
But enough of all that, is it any good? Well I'm not sure i can tell you, I found the whole film rather bewildering, I lost track as to who was what, or who was doing what to whom, or whether what was who or simply just where was what standing, was it on first base or third I really don't know. And I know it's very racist to say this and I feel bad but I simply couldn't tell the Orcs apart, they all looked the same to me.
I will say that the film isn't a terrible film, certainly not this decade's Battlefield Earth that's for sure. Everyone involved gives it their damndest, none so more than Duncan Jones, whose love for all things Warcraftian is blindingly obvious. He directs the living crap out of this film and does a damn fine job and the film's failings aren't his that's for sure.
This is Lord of the Rings for the MTV generation, all of the character seem to talk with American accents, they're all very young, none more so than the wizard played by Ben Foster who just seems far too young to be a wizard and it's all very shiny.
It's very earnest and it's clearly the start of a new franchise. It even ends with events set up to continue on in the next movie.
This sort of film survives on its CGI and although there are aspects of it that are impressive, particularly the skin tones and textures, the effect of so much CGI is that you simply stop connecting or caring for the characters because you know they're all fake and some of the camera moves are so clearly impossible in the real world that you just disconnect, plus there's the ever present threat of the Uncanny Valley to take you out of the moment.
However, if you're a fan of the game and you know these characters I'm sure you'll love this movie, but if like me you've never played it then it might all become a little incomprehensible. Plus it's very hard to root for so many ugly non-human characters and there's a distinct lack of a good, strong human character to root for.