Set in the mystical fantasy land of Azeroth, two factions, the human Alliance and orcish Horde are readying for a cataclysmic war, but there are heroes on both sides who would wish to avoid it. With everything to lose, two of them, the heroic Sir Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel), and the noble war chief Durotan (Toby Kebbell), join forces to stop the rise of a new enemy and save Azeroth before it’s too late.
Rising directing star Duncan Jones brings the epic scope of World of Warcraft to the big screen in bold visuals with impressive digital effects. A long time fan of the massively popular video game franchise, Jones draws on his considerable passion for this world, building a cinematic experience that both old and new fans will get lost in.
With a massive universe of characters, Jones gets his leads right with Travis Fimmel and Toby Kebbell. With old school swashbuckling charm and a talent for the blade, Fimmel makes for a compelling leading man as Sir Anduin Lothar, hero of the Alliance, and a man who sees the bigger picture. Fimmel brings a certain devil may care attitude to Lothar, which is normally not present in fantasy leads, and while his character is classically stoic, he also injects a healthy dose of wit where appropriate.
Facing him is Kebbell as noble Orc war chieftain Durotan, who seeks nothing more than a new home for his wife, son and clan, but who is forced to pick up the axe. Kebbell brings a deep sense of self-sacrifice and steadfast nobleness to Durotan, and his performance as a mo-cap actor really shines through on-screen where he is transformed into the colossal Orc.
Paula Patton brings a strong independence and strength to the role of halfbreed Orc Garona, who has suffered years of abuse at the hands of the Horde, and breaks free with the help of the Alliance to take her revenge. Full prosthetic make-up doesn’t hold her back from the film’s intense battle scenes where she gets to let loose with a broadsword to devastating effect. Rob Kazinsky realises a dream come true as Orc anti-hero Orgrim Doomhammer, who is the film’s all-round bruiser, while Ben Schnetzer makes a big impression as the over-eager mage Khadgar, and is a seriously strong talent to keep an eye on.
Fans of fantasy combat will get their fill with Warcraft: The Beginning, which also boasts some truly epic battle scenes that take up every inch of the big screen, with Lothar’s duel against Clancy Brown’s Blackhand being a truly memorable watch. But it is the visual effect artisans who are the true heroes of this movie, and the work they have done is equally thrilling and powerful.
Fans of the fantasy genre will eat up Warcraft: The Beginning, and it’s no doubt thanks to the passionate crew who worked on this project.
Image source: Paramount Pictures