"Mixed but Entertaining Fantasy"
What You Need To Know:
WARCRAFT has a dense opening where the filmmakers try to introduce the fantasy world to viewers. Unlike the mythos of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, which Tolkien brilliantly sculpted with Christian symbolism, WARCRAFT seems to borrow from Eastern religious viewpoints of the supernatural. Eventually, however, evil is shown as evil, and compassion, kindness, and sacrifice are heralded as positive virtues that are better than magic. One subplot parallels the story of Moses in the Bible In the end, WARCRAFT is an enjoyable ride, but the strong action violence and magical elements warrant extreme caution.
(PaPa, BB, C, FRFR, OO, VV, S, N, AA, M) Strong mixed pagan worldview with positive biblical, moral, redemptive virtues extolling compassion, kindness, sacrifice, empathy, fighting for your family, and not following false leaders blindly, but set in a fantasy world where both good and bad magic come from the same source, implying a false religious mythos, character makes a reference of a dead father’s spirit teaching his son; no foul language, other than one utterance of “bloody”; strong action war violence between orcs and humans, humans slice and stab orcs, and shoot them with “boom sticks” aka guns, orcs smash humans with hammers, breaking necks and pulverizing anyone in their path (multiple times with blood splatter), and scary orcs suck the life out of living creatures in a somewhat grotesque way; no sexual content, but woman bluntly states that a man wants to “lie with her” based on the looks he gives her; upper male nudity, and a half-breed orc wears a somewhat skimpy outfit with some cleavage and midriff shown; brief drunkenness; no smoking or drug use; and, betrayal and greed for power are shown, but not condoned.
WARCRAFT is a fantasy movie based on the video game which had a cult-like following for several years. The movie works on a few levels, but ultimately will have a difficult time finding an audience if avid fans don’t show up at the box office en masse.
In a fantasy world that’s not too far off from THE LORD OF THE RINGS’s middle-earth, Azeroth is a land inhabited by many species, including humans, dwarfs, ancient magicians, and other creatures. The king of the humans, ruler of Stormwind Kingdom, Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper), is a good and compassionate king. He treats all creatures and humans with kindness, so Azeroth is living in a time of peace.
In a separate universe, a world of orcs has been ravaged. The leader of the orcs, Gul’dan, who possesses a strong green that feeds off living life, uses this magic and creates a portal that allows him to take an army to Azeroth so they can possess the land. Among the orcs is Durotan, a clan leader who only has his wife, newborn son and clan members as his priority. They follow Gul’dan through the portal, but Durotan is skeptical of his leader’s ways. As soon as they enter through the portal, the orcs begin pillaging villages and taking prisoners.
King Wrynn finds out about the attacks on their land and sets his top warrior Sir Anduin Lothar, who also happens to be his brother in law, to investigate. Anduin runs into a talented young wizard or mage, Khadgar, who detects that the forces behind the attacks are controlled by dark magic. They’ll need help from the Guardian, Medivh, who also wields magic, if they are to defeat the orcs.
Eventually, both Durotan on the orc side and Khadgar and Anduin on the human side begin to question their leaders who possess magical powers. All this leads to an epic battle.
WARCRAFT begins very swiftly, with every scene in the first 20 minutes adding a new fantastical element that leaves the audience a little confused. Eventually, the audience catches up, but the plot’s density and its multitude of characters are a bit jarring. The CGI and visual effects are impressively immersive, and look less gimmicky than the recent HOBBIT movies. While the action is exciting, most of the characters are flat, especially the young mage Khadgar who’s given the worst expositional dialogue.
Magic is a seminal element of the plot and world in WARCRAFT. The mythology of the world isn’t explored very much at all, but what is shown and discussed regarding the magic contradicts Scripture. Unlike the mythos of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, which Tolkien brilliantly sculpted with Christian symbolism, WARCRAFT seems to borrow from Eastern religious viewpoints of the supernatural. Though good magic and bad magic are clearly and distinctively shown, a mysterious being says, “From light comes darkness, and from darkness comes light,” implying that good and evil forces essentially come from the same source, similar to the STAR WARS movies.
Eventually, however, evil is shown as evil, and compassion, kindness, and sacrifice are heralded as positive virtues that are better than magic. A king sacrifices himself for his people, and an orphaned baby orc is put in a river and sent downstream in a basket, only to be picked up by humans, a subplot that parallels the life of Moses in the Bible.
In the end, WARCRAFT is an enjoyable ride, but some strong action violence and the magical elements warrant extreme caution.