Review: Warcraft (Movie, 2016)

Image result for Warcraft Movie 2016

…It took Blizzard TEN YEARS to deliver on the promise it made back in 2006 that there would be a Warcraft movie. In the decade since then, the world was introduced to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and its prequel trilogy The Hobbit. One of the biggest praises fantasy fans had for the LOTR movies was their depiction of elves.

…On the other hand, one of the biggest complaints fantasy fans had with LOTR was its depiction of Orcs:

Image result for The Lord of the Rings Orc

Fans of the Orcs of the Warcraft universe had reason to be concerned when Blizzard announced a movie would come. Here is an early picture of Warcraft’s Orcs:

Image result for Warcraft Orcs Concept

 

Of course, the Warcraft universe’s Orcs were very different from the ones in LOTR. In the 2000 game Warcraft III, it’s revealed the Orcs are not the bloodthirsty killing machines they had come to think of themselves as only being good for. One of, if not the biggest point of critique fans of the Warcraft universe would have for a Warcraft movie is getting the Orcs right. It’s an iconic race and as has been revealed in the 16 years since Warcraft III, they have a rich and deep history steeped in honor and tradition.

I’m pleased to say Legendary pictures got it right.

Given Blizzard co-founder Chris Metzen co-produced the movie, of course they’d get it right. Having finally seen the movie for myself for the first time on DVD a few week ago, it truly was a labor of love. It’s both recognizable to Warcraft fans and accessible to those who know nothing of the Warcraft universe. It will help those who don’t “get” it understand the World of Waraft. *Rim shot*

Image result for Warcraft Movie 2016

The movie itself loosely follows the plot for the first game Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. Some changes were made, mostly due to time constraints that are different from the established lore from the video games and novels (Lord of the Clans and The Old Horde). Here are the changes:

 

  • Dalaran is a floating city in the movie. This doesn’t happen in the official lore until the beginning of the events of Wrath of the Lich King when the Kirin Tor moves the city to Northrend.
  • Khadgar is a Mage who left the Kirin Tor to investigate Fel Magic. In the game’s lore, Khadgar is sent by the Kirin Tor to Medivh’s tower to be his apprentice and one day become the new Guardian.
  • Blackhand, Warchief of the Blackrock Clan loses his left hand when Lothar blows it off with a boomstick (gun). This is actually a reference to Kargath Bladefist, another Orc who is Warchief of the Shattered Hand Clan (so named because they maim themselves by cutting off a hand and outfit the limb with a bladed weapon). Little was known about the original Kargath until Warlords of Draenor: It’s revealed Kargath maimed himself and cut off his right hand to escape from an Orge coliseum and free his fellow clansmen. Kargath himself doesn’t appear in the movie so Blackhand getting maimed in a nod to him.
  • Stormwind City is not approached by the Horde. In the game’s lore, the First War ends in victory for the Horde after they sack Stormwind and burn the city. Its citizens are led by Anduin Lothar to Lordaeron and the young crown prince, Varian Wrynn.
  • King Llane is killed my Garona on his request so her life will be spared by the Horde. In the game’s lore, King Llane is murdered by Garona in Stormwind, which turned the tide of the war in the Horde’s favor.
  • Medivh opens the portal to Draenor from Karazhan. In the game’s Lore, Medivh opens the portal to Draenor in the Black Morass.
  • Medivh is poisoned by the Fel Magic he tried to contain and is ultimately put down by Khadgar and Lothar. In the game’s Lore, Medivh was Sargeras’ vessel and used Medivh as a pawn to bring the Orcs to Azeroth.
  • Khagar survives his battle with Medivh unscathed. In the game’s Lore, Medivh magically ages Khadgar into an old man before Medivh is overpowered and then decapitated by Khadgar.
  • It’s heavily implied but never outright said the half-Orc half-human Garona may in fact be Medivh’s daughter. In the game’s lore, Garona is half Orc and half-Draenei. She is revealed in the Warcraft comic to be the niece of Vindicator Maraad, whose sister was raped by one of Gul’dan’s underlings. The child born as a result was magically aged by Gul’dan and trained as an assassin. Her connection to Medivh? The comic-only Me’dan, who was born to Garona after she had an affair with Medivh is their child and temporarily became the new Guardian. Officially, Medivh was the last recognized Guardian of Azeroth.
  • Orgrim Doomhammer wields the iconic Doomhammer, which has the Frostwolf Clan’s logo etched in it. In the game’s lore, Thrall was the last person the wield Doomhammer until the beginning of the current expansion Legion. The Frostwolf Clan’s logo was added by Thrall after he became the World Shaman.

Those are the noteworthy ones that immediately come to mind. There are references and nods for Warcraft fans throughout the film  as well.

Here are just a few of the noteworthy ones:

  • Varian Wrynn makes a cameo appearance as a child. He ultimately succeeds his father as King of Stormwind.
  • Chris Metzen had a cameo but due to time constrains, his cameo ultimately didn’t make the cut and was released on YouTube.
  • Orgrim and Durotan “hand in” two sacks full of Draenei skulls at the Dark Portal on Draenor. This is an obvious reference to various types of kill quests in WoW (“…And bring me proof of your kills while you’re at it”). The scene is not in the movie but is part of the Deleted/Extended Scene Reel.
  • Warsong Clan Warchief Grommash Hellscream speaks to Orgrim and Durotan the night before Gul’dan opens the Dark Portal. He talks about how Gul’dan’s Fel magic made him stronger and reccommends they do the same. Orgrim declines and makes a joke about his green skin in response. The scene is not in the movie (cut for time) but is part of the Deleted/Extended Scene Reel.
  • By the way, Grom does appear in the movie and is easily recognized but has no speaking roles outside the deleted scene. He wields Gorehowl (later wielded by his son, Garrosh) during the second and final clashes between the Horde and the Alliance.
  • Lothar getting exhausted climing the steps ar Karazhan is a reference to the winding stairway players climb in the Karazhan Raid in World of Warcraft.
  • Moroes is actually one of the bosses in the recently released Kharazan 5-man Mythic-Only Dungeon in Legion. Echo of Medivh is the final boss.
  • Medivh’s demonic appearance during his battle with Khadgar and Lothar is a nod to his in-game self, which was possessed by the Dark Titan Sargeras before birth.
  • Khadgar and Lothar coordinating in their fight with Medivh is an obvious reference to boss encounters in World of Warcraft. Lothar “Taunts” the Golem off Lothar and “Kites” it to a certain spot in the room.
  • The flash of golden light that surrounds Khadgar after Medivh is subdued is a reference to the level-up animation in Blizzard games when a character levels up.
  • Go’el (Thrall) being found by humans at the end of the movie mirrors his fate after his parents are killed in the game’s Lore: The newborn Thrall is found by Lord Aedelas Blackmoore of Lordaeron and raised to be a pitfighter and gladiator. Thrall would later become Warchief of the New Horde after the Third War.
  • The theme music from World of Warcraft plays during the credits (See Below).
  • Before I forget: A Murloc appears near the beginning of the movie. Murlocs are an iconic part of the Warcraft franchise.
  • When the movie was in theaters, players who logged into World of Warcraft as Alliance and Horde got weapon appearances used in the movie plus an achievement per faction (Fight for the Horde and Fight for Alliance respectively). Alliance players got the sword and shield appearances, which can be used separately or together by certain classes (Alliance Only). Horde players got the two-handed Horde Battle Axe and Gul’Dan’s Staff (!), which can be used by certain classes (Horde Only).
  • Speaking of Gu’dan: Those who buy the home release get a voucher to unlock him as a playable character in Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm game (100% Free to Play), which is basically Blizzard’s verion of DOTA and League of Legends using characters from all of their franchises (Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, Overwatch and even Lost Vikings!).

…I coould go on. I’m gonna ramble for a bit so I’ll give my review now. I give the Warcraft movie (2016) a 10/10. It was well worth the wait in my book and deserves a followup movie ^_^

Here is World of Warcraft’s iconic theme music Legends of Azeroth:

While the Warcraft movie did well internationally and ultimately broke even, it could very well share the same fate as The Last Airbender (movie adaptation of the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender): Not a bust but not profitable enough to do the sequel. To top it off, the movie wasn’t mentioned at all at BlizzCon earlier this week.

At this point, Legendary Pictures and Blizzard have three options as I see it:

  1. Release the next movie in theaters (They’d have to be real confident it will at least do better than the first).
  2. Make the next movie straight to DVD/Blu-Ray (Not confident it would do well in theaters but have the funding to make it anyway)
  3. Make all successive films animated but with the voice actors from the movie (far cheaper than live-action and would open the door to making several movies in succession)
  4. Make all successive films the same as the opening cinematics for World of Warcraft’s expansions (see below).

Before I continue, here is Legion’s Opening Cinematic for reference:

It is worth noting moviegoers got a voucher to play World of Warcraft up to the previous expansion, Warlords of Draenor + 30 days prepaid time (as well as having the option to upgrade to Legion of course). It’s called the Warcraft Battle Chest, which grants you the game up to previous expansion and 30 days prepaid time. It would normally cost you $30 + $15, $41 or $67 for a 1, 3 or 6 month sub (recurring or prepaid) + $50 if you want to upgrade to the current expansion (In this case, Legion).

It’s cross-promotion and is actually a clever way of allowing those who watched the movie but are unfamilliar with the Warcraft universe to explore Azeroth fans have come to know and love as a member of the Alliance or Horde (or both if you want). There are 13 playable races, 12 classes and 3 worlds to explore (Azeroth, Outland and Draenor). As someone who started playing WoW almost 10 years ago, there’s something for everyone in my honest opinion.

Anywho, those who buy the home release (DVD or Blu-Ray) get the same voucher. I used mine and can confirm it can also be used to upgrade Starter Edition accounts (Starter Accounts can play for free up to level 20 as well as other restrictions) to the full game and gives it 30 days. Those who buy the home release will also get serial codes to unlock Gul’dan as a playable character in Heroes of Storm (as I mentioned before) and a Medivh card in the Hearthstone card game (100% Free to play). A Battle.net account and a computer are required to redeem the serial codes.

…Like I said before though, it’s up in the air as to weather or not we will see another Warcraft movie. The movie franchise wasn’t mentioned at BlizzCon and that isn’t a good sign for those wishing for a sequel.

Mind you, I WANT a sequel.

The story can branch off into several directions. The common fan theory is the second movie is it will focus on the divisions within the Horde eluded to at the end of the first movie and the formation of the Grand Alliance (Lordaeron, Stormwind, Ironforge, Gnomeregan, Quel’thalas, Arathor, Alterac, Kul Tiras and Gilneas). Arthas and Thrall would also be introduced for the roles they would play later. It would end with the Horde being defeated and the death of Gul’dan at the Tomb of Sargeras. They could actually bring back the guy who played Medivh to play Uther the Lightbringer.

The third movie would focus on Thrall’s rise as the new chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan (as eluded to at the end of the fist movie) and getting Doomhammer from Orgrim, leading Orcs to Kalimdor where they meet the Tauren and form the New Horde. Orcs’ story would end with Thrall and Grom slaying Mannoroth. The Human side would cover the rise of the Scourge in Lordaeron and Arthas’ battles with Mal’Ganis. It would end with Arthas getting Frostmourne and his return to Lordaeron…as a Death Knight. The movie would end with the Night Elves being officially introduced after being eluded to during the Orcs’ story where Tyrande and Malfurion meet Thrall and Jaina, agreeing join forces with them to fight Archimonde and the Burning Legion.

The fourth movie would focus on the fallen kingdom of Lordaeron and the Death Knight Arthas conquering Quel’Thalas as well as the long-secluded Night Elves stepping out of the shadows to fight with the Horde and the Burning Legion. Illidan Stormrage would also be introduced. The Forsaken break away from the Scourge as the Sindorei work with Illidan to attack the Frozen Throne. The movie ends with Arthas dueling Illidan Stormrage and then becoming the Lich King himself.

…This would catch the story up to the beginning of the lore in World of Warcraft.

If there is a 5th movie, it could be titled World of Warcraft and cover major Lore events from the beginning of WoW to the beginning of the current expansion at the time it’s made. It would be from the point of view of Adventurers narrating different stories to tell one. It would be powerful and introspective.

This ended up going longer than planned but the Warcraft story is a pretty immersive one ^_^

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This entry was posted in Blizzard Entertainment, Blog, Brendan Aurabolt, MMO, Review, RPG, Serene Adventure, Video Games, World of Warcraft and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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