Warcraft (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
September 18, 2016 by Dennis Amith
“Warcraft” is a visually mesmerizing film. While its plot may require a second viewing for better clarity, it’s a film that holds tremendous potential for its sequel. A promising first film adaptation of the popular Blizzard Entertainment videogame franchise, “Warcraft” is recommended!
© 2016 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
YEAR OF FILM: 2016
DURATION: 2 Hrs. and 3 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English Dolby Atmos, DVS Dolby Digital 2.0, Espanol, Francais Dolby Digital 5.1
COMPANY: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
RATED: PG-13 (Extended Sequences of Intense Fantasy Violence)
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Directed by Duncan Jones
Screenplay by Charles Leavitt, Duncan Jones
Produced by Stuart Fenegan, Alex Gartner, Jon Jashni, Charles Roven, Thomas Tull
Co-Producer: Nicholas S. Carpenter, Stuart Fenegan, Alex Gartner, Jon Jashni
Executive-Producer: Michael Morhaime, Brent O’Connor, Paul W. Sams, Jillian Share
Cinematography by Simon Duggan
Music by Ramin Djawadi
Edited by Paul Hirsch
Casting by Sandra-Ken Freeman, Lindsay Graham, Mary Vernieu
Production Design by Gavin Bocquet
Art Direction by Dan Hermansen, Helen Jarvis, Iain McCaig, Margot Ready, William Ladd Skinner, Grant Van Der Slagt
Costume Design by Mayes C. Rubeo
Travis Fimmel as Anduin Lothar
Paula Patton as Garona
Ben Foster as Medivh
Dominic Cooper as Llane Wrynn
Toby Kebbell as Durotan/Antonidas
Ben Schnetzer as Khadgar
Robert Kazingsky as Orgrim
Clancy Brown as Blackhand
Daniel Wu as Gul’dan
Ruth Negga as Lady Taria
Anna Galvin as Draka
Callum Rennie as Moroes
Burkely Duffield as Callan
Ryan Robbins as Karos
Dean Redman as Varis/Caged Frostwolf
The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, an unlikely set of heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their families, their people and their home. So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.
Since 1994, the “Warcraft” franchise of video games, novels and other entertainment by Blizzard Entertainment has entertained millions of people all over the world.
And since the announcement of a “Warcraft” film a decade ago, there was always a question if a film would ever be made.
In 2016, “Warcraft” would be released in theaters. Directed by Duncan Jones (“Moon”, “Source Code”, “Whistle”), which he co-wrote with Charles Leavitt (“Blood Diamond”, “In the Heart of the Sea”, “K-PAX”).
The film would star Travis Filmmel (“Vikings”, “The Experiment”), Paula Patton (“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”, “Deja Vu”, “Precious”), Ben Foster (“3:10 to Yuma”, “Lone Survivor”, “The Mechanic”), Dominic Cooper (“Captain America” films, “Need for Speed”, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Killer”), Toby Kebbell (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”, “Rock n Rolla”, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”), Ben Schnetzer (“Pride”, “The book Thief”, “Goat”), Robert Kazinsky (“EastEnders”, “Pacific Rim”, “Hot Pursuit”), Clancy Brown (“Highlander”, “Starship Troopers”, “The Shawshank Redemption”), Daniel Wu (“Europa Report”, “One Night in Mongkok”, “Protege”), Ruth Negga (“World War Z”, “The Samaritan”, “Jimi: All is by My Side”), Anna Galvin (“Girl vs. Monster”, “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf”), Callum Rennie (“Born to Be Blue”, “Memento”, “Battlestar Galactica”), Burkely Duffield (“House of Anubis”, “Pathfinder”, “Rags”) and Ryan Robbins (“Sanctuary”, “Walking Tall”, “Apollo 18”).
While critics were not favorable to the film and domestic box office wasn’t great, the worldwide box office would be fantastic as the film budgeted at $160 million, would go on to earn $433.5 million, surpassing the 2010 film, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” as the highest-grossing video game adaptation of all time.
And now “Warcraft” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
The film begins with Durotan (portrayed by Toby Kebell), the chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan, comforting his pregnant mate Draka (portrayed by Anna Galvin) looking forward to having a child. But for the time being, he and his tribe must find a new world, as Draenor, the homeworld of the Orcs is being torn apart by a green mysterious magical force known as fel magic.
Gul’dan (portrayed by Daniel Wu), the powerful orc warlock has united the orc clans to form the Horde and he would use the spirit energy of non-Orc’s (known as draenei) to create a portal that would lead to the world of Azeroth (human world).
Gul’dan sends out a group to venture into Azeroth to capture prisoners, so they can use them as draenei to power the portal and bring the rest of the Horde to go through the portal into Azeroth.
Meanwhile, a mage named Khadgar (portrayed by Ben Schnetzer) has noticed that deceased bodies have shown traces of fel magic. He tells the military commander, Andui Lothar (portrayed by Travis Fimmel) about what he has found and together, they inform Stormwind’s king, Llane Wrynn (portrayed by Dominic Cooper). Concerned, he has Anduin and Khadgar to consult with Medivh, the Guardian of Tirisfal in Karazhan.
When Anduin, Khadgar and Medivh join a scouting team to find traces of fel magic, they are ambushed by orcs. The human warriors are saved by the magic of Medivh, while Blackhand, Durotan and Orgrim flee and the soldiers capture a half-orc slave named Garona (portrayed by Paula Patton).
King Llane gives Garona her freedom, but to prove her loyalty to Stormwind, she must lead the humans to spy on an orc camp and they learn about Gul’dan’s plan to bring the Horde to Azeroth.
But when Durotan finds out that fel magic is responsible for the destruction of his homeland and with Gul’dan using fel magic in Azeroth, he fears that it would lead to the destruction of Azeroth, so Durotan and his Frostwolf Clan try to negotiate an alliance with the humans, to stop Gul’dan but are they enough to stop Gul’dan? And can human and orc’s trust each other?
“Warcraft” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality features great detail. The orcs simply look wonderful. The gorgeous created landscapes look awesome! Even the various animal characters feature great detail, especially when it comes to closeups and skintones look natural. Picture quality for the most part looks very awesome on Blu-ray with no signs of artifacts or banding issues.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Warcraft” is presented in English Dolby ATMOS, Dolby Digital 2.0, Espanol, Francais Dolby Digital 5.1. As one can expect, the film features a lot of action sequences and primarily a lot of fight scenes from the orc’s clanging or the pounding of their weapons, the screeching of the giant bird, the sound of the fel surging within the gate, to the galloping horses from a distance and many more action scenes that utilize the surround channels and LFE.
Subtitles are in English SDH, Espanol and Francais.
“Warcraft” comes with the following special features:
- Deleted/Extended Scenes – (13:57) Featuring 11 deleted/extended scenes.
- Gag Reel – (3:25) Featuring the gag reel for “Warcraft”.
- The World of Warcraft on Film – Featurettes exploring the origin of “Warcraft”, the talent, the visual effects, costumes, motion capture and stunts for the film.
- The Fandom of Warcraft – (6:29) A look at the fandom for “Warcraft” and BlizzCon.
- Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood Motion Comic – (53:43) Featuring the five chapters of the comic book of “Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood”. A motion comic featuring the comic book and voice acting.
- Warcraft: The Madame Tussauds Experience – (2:38) A few of the cast members talk about their Madame Tussaud experience of seeing the wax version of their character.
- ILM: Behind the Magic of Warcraft – (2:59) A short featurette of Industry Lights and Magics involvement for “Warcraft”.
- Warcraft Teaser – 2013 – (2:23) The 2013 teaser trailer for “Warcraft”.
“Warcraft” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the film, an UltraViolet HD code and Blizzard Entertainment game codes.
For anyone who has been involved with PC gaming, Blizzard Entertainment’s “Warcraft” is a video game that has long since been part of gaming culture since the early ’90s.
While my foray into the game was more with the “Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos” PC game (and more so with their “Starcraft” game), I know of many friends (and even relationships ended) thanks to the popular and addicting game, “World of Warcraft”.
Needless to say, “Warcraft” has a large legion of fans and those fans have been awaiting the release of the “Warcraft” film since it was announced back in 2006.
And while it would have been awesome if the film was released in the mid-to-late 2000’s, when the video game was still at its peak, what benefits the film being released nearly a decade after its announcement is the fact it can utilize newer CG technology available and for that, the film looks fantastic in HD!
But there are positives and negatives about the film and for the most part I enjoyed the film.
Let’s first take a look at the positive aspects of the film. Filmmaker Duncan Jones and writers Jones, Charles Leavitt and Chris Metzen were careful and made sure to give fans what they wanted and incorporate various aspect of the video games into the film.
The film looks absolutely gorgeous with the detail of the orc’s, the overall costume design and production design were top notch and the visual effects, especially the creation of Azeroth really looks amazing.
And the storyline setting up the challenges between humans and orcs in the first film was well-done!
But the problem with “Warcraft” is that the film tries to feature too much within it’s two-hour time frame. Upon my first time viewing the film, I’ll be truthful, I was lost because there were so many characters that a lot of situations went over my head.
Watching the film again, this time on Blu-ray, to be truthful, a second viewing gave me more clarity and I think for those who watched it once and were a little confused, may find themselves enjoying the film the second time around.
But one will notice that there are number of deleted/extended scenes included on the Blu-ray, and some scenes I wish were not cut from the film. But for timing and pacing, similar to the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” films, “Warcraft” is a film that would benefit from an extended version. People who are willing to watch the longer version of the film, especially “Warcraft” fans.
I’m not a “Warcraft” fans, but I really enjoyed the film, I just felt too much was being crammed in the first film, that I wouldn’t have minded if it had an extra 15-30 minutes of additional storyline to make things a bit more comprehensive.
I also hope there is a second film and while the domestic box office was unkind, the fact that “Warcraft” has an international following, that international following helped make this film profitable. And I do feel that this film will receive more attention for those who passed on the film at the theaters and are now more willing to watch the sequel if it’s ever released (hopefully not ten years from now).
As for the Blu-ray release, as mentioned, picture and lossless audio is magnificent and there are a good number of special features included. I absolutely love the inclusion of the “Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood” motion comic (although the voice acting was not the greatest).
Overall, “Warcraft” is a visually mesmerizing film. While its plot may require a second viewing for better clarity, it’s a film that holds tremendous potential for its sequel. A promising first film adaptation of the popular Blizzard Entertainment videogame franchise, “Warcraft” is recommended!
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