I have to confess:  I did not have high expectations for WARCRAFT.  When I saw the trailer, my first thought was, “This movie is going to bomb.”  I’ve been burned way too many times on film adaptations of video games, therefore my defenses went up, and I just shook my head.  But part of me hoped the film would be decent, especially after I heard director Duncan Jones was at the helm.  Jones has directed a couple of excellent science fiction forays in the past (particularly MOON and SOURCE CODE), so maybe he could eek out a worthwhile picture.

Lo and behold, Jones not only exceeded my expectations with this film, he blew them out of the water.

While the credits rolled, I sat in stunned silence as I processed what I had just seen.  The epic adventure I had just witnessed in all of its color-bursting splendor literally left me awed.  I checked the clock; how had two hours flown by without me realizing it? 

My mind has forever been changed about video game adaptations.  They CAN be made, and they CAN be entertaining.  Put aside your previous assumptions about games going to the big screen and watch WARCRAFT.  Even if you’re not a fan of the game, you’ll still enjoy yourself immensely and have a great entertainment experience.

If you are not familiar with WARCRAFT, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment:

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.

I have not personally played the game, however I’ve watched my buddy Brian immerse himself in it many times.  As such, I feel confident in saying director Jones truly captured the spirit of the World of Warcraft.  But this is only one reason why the film so good.

WARCRAFT is shot very well and looks absolutely stunning onscreen.  This is the first film I’ve seen that seems to push the limits of 4K HD.  The colors are vibrant and electric, making the world of Azeroth and the Orcs jump off the screen as if alive. CG has truly come far, and as a result, it’s hard to tell where the real world ends and the animation starts. 

The acting is very good, with the whole cast giving wonderful performances.  I was particularly pleased with Paula Patton’s portrayal of Garona, the half-breed.  She does a great job of bringing a human presence to the Orc race.  I also enjoyed Ben Foster as Medivh.  Foster once again shows his diverse acting talents, and he tackles this role with fervor.

The story in WARCRAFT is engaging and fun.  But even more impressive is that viewers do not need to be familiar with the World of Warcraft video game in order to understand the plot.  A brief history is given at the opening of the film, and it sets the stage on which the rest of the movie is based.  As the story unfolds, the viewer is given just enough knowledge to follow what is happening.  The pacing is perfect, and the movie moves at a nice clip. 

WARCRAFT is a lot of fun, and I highly recommend giving it a look.  Be sure and check it out in 4K for the brilliant HD and outstanding Dolby Atmos sound.  The film hits store shelves next week, so make a note now.