WARCRAFT (2016) – 4 Stars (out of 5)


The one screening that I really wanted to avoid was for WARCRAFT. I knew nothing about the video game series, and the trailer being shown on TV and around the Internet seemed strange if not confusing. The critic reviews were not good. But I still dragged myself to the screening and I was glad that I did. You will not see a better 3-D IMAX film. Much of the technical credit goes to Industrial Light & Magic, who seems to be at the top of their game. Yes, the poor reviews will continue and the screenplay is disappointing, if not incoherent. But — the non-stop special effects are jaw dropping and just alone are worth the price of admission. (I continue to find the large Regal Red Rock 3-D IMAX auditorium in Summerlin to be one of the best in Las Vegas.)

WARCRAFT is only the third film directed by Duncan Jones. This is a film that he always wanted to make. When original director Sam Raim dropped from the project, Jones took over. Recently, he shared with the New York Times that he was disappointed with the original screenplay. According to the Times, “It just didn’t capture in my gut what made Warcraft — the idea of heroes (humans and monsters) being on both sides.” So Mr. Jones and Charles Leavitt wrote the screenplay together developing “a more balanced story that found a common humanity in both sets of characters”.

Last January, as the production was nearing completion, Mr. Jones’s father — David Bowie, died of cancer. “I showed him an early, early cut of the film, and he was pretty amazed about how we achieved some of the visuals.” Despite the bad reviews, due to the foreign box office alone — WARCRAFT will be a financial success.

The 4 Stars (out of 5) are the result of the technical excellence — including film editing, cinematography, art direction, production design, original music, costume design and set decoration. I may just be the only film critic to write the following, but — there should be a WARCRAFT 2.

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