Confession time, again: I have never played World of Warcraft. I know, I know. “Bad geek! You’ve been a very bad geek!” It’s not that I’ve never wanted to play it. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Many, many times, I’ve considered giving it a try. But then I think about all of the stories I’ve heard regarding people becoming literally addicted to it, and I decide against it. And it’s not that I believe that I have so little self-control that it would disrupt the important things in my life. But I already have so many hobbies that take up a lot of time and I just don’t need another one. So, I continue to be on the outside looking in when it comes to WoW (as the cool kids call it. Look at me! I’m a poser!).
So, I was actually pretty excited to find out that a film was in development. I’d finally be able to get a taste of the universe without sacrificing everything else I hold dear! Admittedly, the first trailer didn’t really sell me. But the second one was more character-based and far superior. It succeeded it making me feel like I might enjoy what I saw when the time finally came to take my seat.
That time was today, in IMAX 3D. And I kind of enjoyed what I saw. Unfortunately, though, the characters were not among the enjoyment. Bland and clichéd, nobody had much of anything truly interesting to say or do throughout the entire film. The dialogue was flat and lifeless and even great actors like Ruth Negga and Dominic Cooper felt completely neutered by the cookie-cutter material. It’s all in there: betrayal, sacrifice, forbidden love, misunderstandings, truces . . . if you’ve seen it in this type of movie, before, you’ll see it here.
Where the film unquestionably soars is in the action and design. It’s all gorgeous and wonderfully staged. The creatures look amazing and fierce and a few even show multiple sides to their personalities. It’s still tough to make a completely CGI character convincingly speak and there’s so much subtle muscle movement in the face when a person speaks. This isn’t so much a criticism as an observation, as I understand that it’s an ongoing process and will eventually be figured out. But if action is the main reason you’re interested in seeing Warcraft, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
So, I didn’t love it, but it wasn’t a complete waste, either. There are much better options out there (Civil War, Now You See Me 2, and especially The Conjuring 2). But if you’re a longtime fan and have been anxiously awaiting this one, you could do worse, thanks to the amazing spectacle, alone.