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Warcraft: Review

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First I must confess I am not a big gamer. I am basically still into all the Super Mario games and a couple of 1080 Snowboarding games. I am however, familiar with massively multiplayer online role-playing games such as World of Warcraft and EverQuest. Having seen both of these games played I was very eager to see this movie, plus, I love fantasy films.

I was not disappointed.

Warcraft (alternatively known as Warcraft: The Beginning) is a 2016 American action-fantasy film directed by Duncan Jones and written by Jones, Charles Leavitt and Chris Metzen. It is based on the Warcraft video game series and novels set in the world of Azeroth. The film stars Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky and Daniel Wu. The film portrays the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs and takes place in a variety of locations established in the video game series.

Its movies like this that make me love being a nerd! It’s escapist fun like this is why such movies are being made. This movie actually did poorly with the critics and at the Box office. It has a 28% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, although 73% of the viewing audience liked it. On Box Office Mojo it did only $47 million domestically on a $160 million budget. However, it made a further $386 million over seas for a grand total of $433 million world wide. That will give the film a profit and hopefully a sequel will not be out of the question. I think the poor performance sadly demonstrates that movies like this do need to reach out beyond their fan base and find a way to appeal to a broader audience.

I think I will eliminate my pros and cons because I didn’t find much about the movie I didn’t like…except for one thing. Although I enjoyed the story and the characters greatly the story was a bit confusing at times and my unfamiliarity with the story/game made it difficult for me to always understand what was going on and who some of these characters were. I’m sure on repeated viewings I will comprehend things better.

I want to conclude this by talking about the CGI in this movie. The Orcs are done with motion capture and while there is a lot of blue screen CGI there are also practical effects woven into the movie. I have heard complaints that the CGI isn’t always that great. I did enjoy the effects and I love movies like this because they do such a great job in creating a fantasy world.

I see many people comparing this to other fantasy movies such as Lord of the Rings or Avatar. While I think the CGI is of the same quality, I think the end results are different. That difference is that Warcraft does look like the how the video game it is named after would look like had it come to life. In other words, it still rightfully maintains a look or verisimilitude that exemplifies and represents a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, but on a larger life-like scale. In my view the look of the movie is the best of both worlds, life-like fantasy elements married to video game elements and along with an engaging story are the reasons this movie is very enjoyable.

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It’s Not like the Book!!!!!!

I love to read but I do not read novels. I read strictly non-fiction. I guess that is one of the reasons I enjoy movies so much. Even though I do have a good imagination I still like the visuals of movies. I guess that is why I call myself a special effects junkie.

One of the complaints about movies based on novels is that the movie is not the same as the book. Well, not having read the books that most movies are based on, I avoid this dilemma. I can empathize with those that feel that way to some degree. People get attached to the stories and certain aspects of these stories and if a film deviates too much from the book or changes a beloved scene or character, or omits it all completely, I can see how that would be upsetting.

I also understand that books and movies are two entirely mediums in which to tell a story. With that in mind there will naturally be differences between a book and a movie. Whether or not a viewer likes how a director has changed the story will be subjective. Some people don’t mind the changes and some people do mind a great deal.

As I mention, not having read the book, I do not suffer from this issue. Today I will list my 6 favorite sci-fi and fantasy films based on books that I often read or hear the most complaints about.

1. Starship Troopers

Based on the novel by Robert A. Heinlein, the major criticisms I have heard is that the book seriously discusses the political issues such as war and fascism and while some have complained that the novel was too pro-military, others complain that director Paul Verhoeven went too far in the other direction and made a movie that is more of a satire of the themes in Heinlein’s book.

2. Lord of The Rings Trilogy

This is the one franchise I have heard the most complaints about. Peter Jackson made an epic series of movies from Tolkien’s stories that many said would never be successfully made into a film. The major complaints are that Jackson changed the order of many events in the book and omitted characters that many fans loved.

3. I Robot

The major complain of this movie was that the only thing it had in common with Issac Asimov’s book except for the title. From what I understand there is a lot of truth to this complaint. The writers of the script did borrow the title from Asimov, some themes, such as the Three Laws of Robotics, some character sketches from across many of his short stories but the robot uprising is not found in his writings. I really like the movie anyway.

4. War of the Worlds

Although both the 1953 and the 2005 movie depart from the book by HG Wells in major ways I really haven’t heard too many complaints from people because both movies are very good. The book is set in the 19th century and neither movie adopts that setting. The walking tripods are not in the first movie but are in the second movie.

5. John Carter

Based on Edgar Rice Burroughs series of novels, the movie John Carter is based on the first two novels A Princess of Mars and The Gods of Mars. Although many complained that the title was too generic and that other movies have gutted the themes that were in this old story, some complained that the story deviated too far from the books.

6. The Hobbit?

This one is just speculation. The Hobbit is a book that is geared more toward children than the Lord of The Rings Trilogy and fans fear that Jackson will change the story too much to fit it in with the Lord of the Rings. Fans were also worried that he was making this movie into two parts given the fact that it isn’t really a long story to begin with. Now that Jackson is adding a third movie to tell this story some fans are trembling in their boots! I have the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the extended versions of King Kong, so I am not worried one bit and look forward to all three movies.