Fantasy has not had a great history of cinema with the exception of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Video game adaptations have an even more dubious history. Warcraft melds the two genres into a terrible movie that has very few redeeming qualities. One thing about the movie that I did enjoy were the special effects. The film does a great job making the Orcs look real and humanizing them despite being CGI characters.
The genre has not attracted the finest actors but Travis Fimmel is passable as the protagonist just as long as he doesn't have to show any real emotions. There are a few parts where he is supposed to be sad that just come off as ridiculous but he takes his humor and Vikings experience to elevated his game just a little bit. The rest of the cast is awful from Paula Patton as the half-orc/half-human mumbling over her fake teeth or Ben Foster doing a poor impression of Gandalf. It does not bode well for the so far somewhat disappointing Preacher comic tv show adaptation that the two lead actors Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga show up in this movie and phone in performances.
It's telling that Toby Kebbell does the best performance as the main orc Durotan. He's an actor that has made some terrible choices in his career so far from Dr. Doom in the flop Fantastic Four last summer to the villainous ape Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and his upcoming as the villain in the Ben-Hur remake. It's a testament to how much bad sci-fi and fantasy are out there that he keeps popping up in these bad roles. These stories not only bomb at the box office and lose the producers money but also hurt the genre and make it harder for quality films of this type to get made without an established franchise.
I've not played the video game so all the politics and settings were lost on me. I would have to find someone that actually played the game to see if it stayed true and made sense but honestly I don't care because the movie did little to flesh out characters or string together a coherent plot. I can only reiterate that the special effects were cool but it was not enough to save the film.
The worst part of Warcraft was that it was just boring. Even during the epic battle there was too much confusion and a part where dialogue takes ridiculously long in the middle of a battle just to push the story forward. Then the ending tries to set up a sequel leaving no resolution for audiences who will most likely never see such a thing. Just another blockbuster summer movie failing, which is no surprise but perhaps the box office in China can save it but the creators should be cautious if they continue this franchise.