Monday, 30 May 2016

Review: Warcraft - The Beginning

Warcraft: The Beginning (3D)
Cert: 12A / 123 mins / Dir. Duncan Jones / Trailer

Tolkien-Saurus Clone Shows Critical Gaps in its DNA...

Top Tinseltown Movieologists unveiled their newest creation to the public today, amid a level of face-palming which could set the global medical profession back years as they struggle to deal with the mass concussion caused by the blows. Blizzard Entertainment and Legendary Pictures' Warcraft: The Beginning is the first (nominally) successful attempt at Selective Celluloid Cloning, a process which takes as its basis an already well-received title or genre, then retools it to a point where the newly-produced film shamelessly evokes the visuals of its progenitor, whilst being as spiritually satisfying as eating a cardboard box.

In a move discovered after watching Jurassic Park too many times, a Universal Studios research team realised that much like the aggression and unpredictability of a Tyrannosaur, a final-draft screenplay could be created which was based entirely on a pre-existing property (even someone else's) but with any challenging or troublesome aspects surgically removed, in a bid to prevent after-film conversations in the cinema-foyer or pub. "The last thing we want is our customers dissecting the very thing they've just paid for," said CEO Ian Universal, 58, "I think we all know where that would end…"


Warcraft's director Duncan Jones, 45, told us "As creatively engaging as it was to work on Moon and Source Code, what I'd always wanted to do was re-create The Lord of the Rings, but without any of that socio-political subtext or character development. Y'know, just the fighting. When I saw Peter Jackson devalue both his own and Tolkien's work in the needlessly drawn-out Hobbit movies, I saw that as a challenge to go further with the idea. Imagine taking a world which has already been created as a shameless and unlicensed homage to arguably the most important fantasy epic of all time, and using it to tell an overly-simplistic tale of two armies that can't stop twatting each other with swords! Imagine that! Two hours of watching someone else play a computer game! In 3D! And if I make one of the 'characters' a bit grumpy or sad about all the fighting, that's the same as me having thought about it."


In a statement issued this morning fro Birtley University, film historian Ken Pigby, 42, took a different view: "It's a long-standing truism of course that cinematic entertainment based on branded video-games is about as easy to get 'right' as actual alchemy. We'd be absolutely delighted to see anyone achieve it, but all historical, scientific and even anecdotal evidence suggests it simply can't be done. The fact that the Warcraft games are based on real-time strategy rather than running through rooms shooting people makes it no easier a challenge, simply a different one. Likewise, the interactive-nature and popularity of the original source material does little other than establish a larger core-audience to be disappointed by the project's inevitable failure. I mean, I quite enjoy gardening, it doesn't mean that having Dominic Cooper and Travis Fimmel bedding in shrubs for two hours is going to make a great film…"


General critical response has also pointed out that even last year's Jurassic World wasn't this transparently insulting in its misguided dumbing-down of the source-material, since it was at least based on a thing which was inherently cinematic to begin with. "It's coming to something," said Pigby, "when the only game-to-movie adaptation that brings anything extra to its intellectual-property is the U-rated Angry Birds, developed from a game based entirely on physics and slapstick humour."

"Yes. A succession of anthropomorphised avians being fired point-blank into a brick wall has more to offer than Warcraft: The Beginning…"

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
Watching someone else play a computer game without explaining the difference between what they're meant to be doing and what they are doing.

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
Well, once the credits started rolling I pulled out my phone to send a suitably furious tweet. By the time I'd done that, the entire audience had left the auditorium, bar three people (including me). Now if the people who'd just watched it couldn't wait to leave…

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
I genuinely have no fucking clue.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There is, during the Orcs' first encounter with the humans*2.
Not that it's any consolation

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Warcraft: The Beginning features the work of Clancy 'Savage Opress' Brown and Toby 'additional voices in The Old Republic' Kebbell*1.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…
And it only gets a 2 because some of the visuals are quite nice. But by no means all of them, and by no means all of the time.

*1 Look, I've told you before, that shit counts. If it was on my CV, it'd be the first thing I'd tell anyone I met...

*2 Speaking of which, if Ben 'Guardian' Foster can teleport over vast distances taking other people with him, what are his party doing traipsing through the forest on foot when the attack happens?

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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