these two little plot threads are probably my fave thing about the movie

Warcraft Movie (no spoilers)

Things They Did Well: 

  • Humanizing the Orcs: This one caught me off guard more than anything. The few personal moments we got with Draka, Durotan, and Orgrim were so much more sympathetic than anything we got from all of the time with, say, the Na’vi in Avatar. I legitimately enjoyed the orcs scenes, and I can’t convey how much of a shocker that was because I am a Confirmed Orc Apathist. Even Gul’dan was such a fun Obviously Evil Villain. The warlock ya love to hate.
  • Scenery, armor, outfits felt real and looked good. I thought the atmosphere of the whole movie was pretty well-done, blending CGI with real filming without it feeling terribly jarring.
  • We see men and women of all races performing the same jobs in the Alliance, and lady orcs taking part in Horde scenes. It was just so nice and refreshing to see women doing all the same work as men, and it’s just life as usual for them. I really appreciated that there was never awkward attention brought to women and the jobs they do or what they’re expected to do. Draka, of course, gets to be a mother and we see that side of her, but first and foremost she’s a warrior and a woman with a goal outside of motherhood. Garona mostly serves as the Alliance main woman, with some notable time given to the Queen of Stormwind. It seems a little bit of a cliché for the human Queen to be the emotionally wise one, but it kind of plays off Garona’s physical strength and drive, and since they’re both portrayed as sympathetic and good, it’s less a case of “Nice and Demure is Good, Physical and Ethnic is Bad” and more “Two characters have opposing strengths and weaknesses.” None of the characters said pointless sexist lines or gendered slurs, which was nice! I appreciated how natural it felt to not be on edge, bracing for Dumb Shit.
  • The characters, while simplistic, all had unique personalities and motives, and it’s easy to pick favorites (and faves to hate.) 
  • Changes to the lore: This one is debatable. Some purists are probably going to be angry. Personally, I feel like they ironed out a lot of wrinkles and made an extremely convoluted story slightly less bonkers. Things make more sense, and they’re internally consistent. As someone who has an embarrassingly substantial amount of Warcraft lore in their brain, I appreciated that some changes kept me guessing! I wasn’t entirely sure what was going to happen next, and that was very fun.
  • Young Detective Khadgar
  • In a twist, I’m going to say: Still images of Garona looked like ass. When the movie starts and she’s just a babe in green makeup, it seems like ass. As an audience member it’s like “People are going to acknowledge she’s just a human in makeup, right?” And I said no spoilers, so go see it for yourself, but I felt satisfied with the treatment. Give Garona A Chance®
  • Gryphon: ADORABLE. Those tiny little ears… My sweet birdcat…

Things They Could Have Done Better:

  • Bloated cast of characters. Now, this is hard to avoid when trying to make full societies on both sides of the war. Every side has its roles: The faction villain, the faction leader, the doubter, the supporter, etc. Take a normal cast of movie characters and double it, then give them all fantasy names and try to keep up. Fortunately, most of the main characters do us a favor by often referring to each other in-scene by their names. It helps, but it’s not perfect. I could easily see Non-Warcraft audiences getting lost when it comes to the secondary characters. 
  • As a result of that: Huge cast of characters and dual-sided story culminated in a very jumpy plot. Get ready to keep track of a lot of threads. If you aren’t at least vaguely aware of the Warcraft plot… Yikes on bikes. If you ARE, you’re going to love seeing so much stuff and so many places on display. In hindsight, I feel like this would have worked better as a high-budget TV or Cable mini-series.
  • PoC actors could have used more lines. Having said this, with an already bloated cast of characters, we’re blessed that we had no other characters to memorize. The only prominent PoC characters were the Queen of Stormwind and two recurring soldiers who run with Lothar, one Black and one Asian. The High Elf we get the best look at is Asian, which I love. They could have recast Lothar to be the same race as his sister, but I’m down with inter-racial siblings. In all, you could tell they put conscious effort into to getting PoC in the frame often to give a sense of a multi-racial human society, but I wish they’d been willing to go farther with it.
  • Magic looked corny. I feel bad for thinking this, but I do. The glowing eyes, the teleports, the lightning… Things felt a little too homebrew for a big screen production.
  • Orcs looked so good, but a lot of them looked very similar. There’s no mistaking Durotan for other male orcs or Draka for other female orcs, but it’s easy to confuse Orgrim, Blackhand, the Thunderlord chieftain, and a few others. They went to the trouble of making background orcs unique, but I still struggled at times with the main orcs. They growl all their lines, too, so you’ve got to acclimate to that and have a keen ear to catch every word.

Overall, I went in with very low hopes and was pleasantly surprised that I had an enjoyable, not-significaly-embarrassing experience. There’s one scene I really think could have taken itself less seriously, but it’s forgivable in the grand scheme, and I’d let you all decide for yourselves what scene that is. I didn’t go home desperate to play WoW or get back to rp, but it was fun enough that I’d like to watch it again sometime soon.

If you’re a WoW fan, I say go in expecting a casual summer fantasy adventure and you won’t be disappointed. If you know nothing about Warcraft, prepare to pay really close attention, or you’ll probably get lost.