Sunday, June 12, 2016

Warcraft movie is job security for my son

Movie Title:      Warcraft

Grade:  B- (I can't bring myself to give it a C)

Rating:   PG-13, 1 hour 40 minutes

In a Nutshell:  Big Disclaimer….my son is actually one of the computer animation artists for Blizzard (I know, super cool, right?), so I’m completely biased and want this movie to do well at the box office. 

For what it’s worth, my son didn’t work on this movie.  Instead, he works on the actual World of Warcraft video game.  I’m so happy that he has a job he loves and gets paid to use his amazing talents!  By the way, if you’re a WOW fan, you HAVE to go to Blizz Con.  I don’t even play the game, but I went last year and had a blast!

In case you didn’t know, director Duncan Jones is the son of the late singer/songwriter David Bowie.  For the horde!

Uplifting theme: 
  • “If love is what you need, you must be willing to travel to the ends of the earth for it.” – Guardian Medivh (Ben Foster)
  • “No one can stand against the darkness alone.” – Alodi (Glenn Close)

Things I liked:
  • The fan service is substantial and impressive.        There are tons of Easter eggs in the film, I'm told. The film made $45 million at the box office in ONE DAY in China alone!
  • I thought the CGI blended well with the live actors.  The motion capture work was really great.
  • The 3D aspect enhanced the visual experience.  See it on the biggest screen you can.
  • I loved the cool wolves and the detail of Durotan’s fingers running through the fur.  In fact, the detail of all of the animation was awesome (and I’m not just saying that because my son is an animation artist).  All of their video games are like that too.  The world-building talent is truly amazing.
  • I love the vibrant, ethereal glowing blue and green colors, which is a classic Blizzard look.
  • While Paula Patton (Garona) only gave us a surface-level performance, I thought Ben Schnetzer (Khadgar) showed us some depth.
  • I loved Durotan and thought his character was the most intriguing.  Is it weird that I loved his hairy, muscular chest? When you see him take off his wolf fur cloak, his back looks almost real.  He's a striking, almost handsome creature that you fall in love with. 
  • During an awesome battle scene, Garona (Paula Patton) thrusts a sword through a “bad guy” and green blood splatters on the “camera”.  I thought that was a cool effect to make you believe it was live footage, rather than CGI.
  • Glenn Close?  How did THAT happen?
  • You feel the weight of heavy weapons, which is hard to do in animated film.  The battle scenes are pretty epic.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Despite the fact that my son works on World of Warcraft, I’ve never played the video game, so I was unfamiliar with most of the characters, the lore, and the worlds.  I wish the film somehow gave us newbies a primer on the “world” in the beginning of the movie.  Most “uninitiated” viewers will be a bit confused.  It’s kind of like watching “The Lord of the Rings” where the lands and characters have unusual names and it takes some time to figure out who the good guys are and what’s going on.  (I loved the LOTR trilogy, by the way!)  The good news is there isn’t a quiz at the end of watching this movie, but you WILL feel like a nerd for watching it.  There are hundreds of hours of game development which, you can imagine, would be hard to cram into a 90 minute movie.
  • Ben Foster’s character, the Guardian, has a really bad CGI moment and does a lot of over-the-top acting. 
  • Sometimes it’s really hard to understand what the characters are saying.
  • It’s hard to become truly invested in most of the characters, because we aren’t told very much about them and they begin fighting immediately.  There are a couple of protagonists who experience personal growth, but many of the others are paper thin.
  • The emerging romance was awkward.

Funny lines:
  • Whatever you plan to do, do it now!” – Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel)
  • “Can you hide your fat belly?” –  Durotan (Toby Kebbell from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)
“Better than you can hide your fat head.” – Draka (Anna Galvin)

Interesting lines:
  • “For orcs, there is no other life but war, but with the humans, there could be.” – Durotan
  • “We fight together or we die together.” – Durotan
  • “For years, our worlds have been at peace, but something is coming.  I feel it.” – King Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper)
·       “From light comes darkness and from darkness comes light.” – Alodi (Glenn Close)
*      "Broken bones heal stronger." - Garona

Tips for parents:   

  • There are a LOT of scary looking creatures.
  • There is a LOT of fantasy violence and fighting, sometimes gruesome.
  • This movie will give your child the reason to play yet one more video game…
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