10 Jun Review: Warcraft
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I’ve seen Warcraft and it’s a bad, bad movie. Not that this matters. It has already broken records in China, ensuring movies with no proper plot continue to be made, and promising much more whiteness on screen and the occasional painful performance by a POC.
How bad is it? I played Warcraft when it first came out. It looks pretty similar to the game: The same impossibly bulky armours of the humans, the over-muscled orcs, the pseudo-European setting. That, however, is the best thing you can say about it. Yes, there’s a lot of CGI but what doesn’t have a ton of expensive CGI these days? The battles are not rousing, the dialogue is crap, the performances meh at best. It’s sad to see a director who has done good work displaying no flair or personality in a movie. But that’s what this is. A paint-by-the-numbers flick.
Ten, fifteen years ago, such stuff could have been forgiven because the visuals would have been stunning enough. But these days, when Game of Thrones aims higher in terms of drama and cohesion, when Lord of the Rings has been adapted to the big screen, such blunders are, well, puzzling.
There is a plot (we must fight evil and defend the land), but for the most part this seems like a movie where the sole purpose is for us to change locations, from point A to B and C. Just for the heck of it. There’s dialogue out of a Chinese fortune cookie such as “from light comes darkness, from darkness comes light.” There’s even a “half-breed” orc chick, one of the visible minorities who in recent years who has been allowed to star in a big budget film, as long as she is covered in paint (Guardians of the Galaxy and the latest X-Men movie also allowed us this).
I could discuss the racial politics of Warcraft at length, but it would be too exhausting. Suffice to say it follows a trend of allowing a random non-white person to show up in the crowd scenes. Sometimes they are even given a few lines of dialogue, like in Huntsman: Winter’s War or The Last Witchunter. Yet the society all around this one or two persons remains so white it becomes obvious it is an empty and silly gesture. It means nothing. The queen, for example, is played by Ethiopian-Irish actress Ruth Negga who has a brother that is blindingly white. Why? Because obviously nobody would give the lead to a man who was of African descent, but instead we can randomly say THEY ARE SIBLINGS. One of these days Morgan Freeman is going to turn to Brad Pitt and call him “son” and we can all cheer because these movies are so inclusive.
What a bunch of baloney. Many times I want to tell white creators, please, don’t try to help represent us and this is one of them.
Sadly Warcraft is not even so bad it is kind of good. It’s just… kind of there, dull and full of exposition. My genuine moment of excitement was when Callum Keith Rennie stood on screen for like, three minutes. I love that man. I frequently joke that only bad movies are shot in Vancouver, and this is another one that proves the point, but hey, people like Rennie need work.
There’s probably better Warcraft fanfic out there than this moment. Hell, the cinematics have more drama than this movie. And yet, as I said before, none of this matters. It will make a shitload of money.