With the launch of a new expansion for the ever popular World of Warcraft, it is perfect timing for the Warcraft movie to release on blu-ray and 4K UHD. But does the movie do the series justice? Let’s jump straight to it and see how this fantasy film holds up!
The Movie (3.5/5)
First, I think I should come clean and divulge to you, the reader, that I am a longtime fan of the Warcraft series, but I promise that I won’t let that get in the way of this review. But, in the interest of transparency, I have spent countless hours in the MMO and thoroughly enjoyed the original strategy games as well.
So, being a fan, I was equally excited by and nervous about this film. As it turns out, I was right with both feelings. But I’ll get to that in a second.
The Warcraft movie takes place at a time in the series’ past where we witness the realm changing events that were carried out by a group of the most well known legends of Azeroth. An unknown antagonist has helped Gul’dan, an orcish warlock from another world, open a giant dark portal, allowing the orcs flee from their desolate wasteland to the rich lands of Azeroth, where they plan to use the humans’ death as a fuel to keep the portal open long enough to bring the entirety of The Horde through.
This, of course, doesn’t sit well with The Alliance, the combined might of humans, dwarves, and elves that inhabit the area. Under the leadership of King Wrynn, they must defeat this new threat, or die trying. Thankfully, one orc leader named Durotan has seen through Gul’dan’s fel magic and wants better for his people. This common enemy forges a seeing of eye to eye of human and orc (even if temporary) that pits them against Gul’dan’s horde of fel-infused orcs.Sounds like a lot, right? Well that is because it this movie tries to fit an immense amount of information and characters into a 123 minute package. Understandably, too, because the CGI is absolutely breathtaking and obviously cost a fortune. However, condensing such a huge event from the lore of Warcraft while trying to pay some fan service AND introduce newcomers to the series proves to be a bit too much, and I think that some people will leave confused or apathetic to the story.
However, as I am not a newcomer, I enjoyed every single little reference in this film. Seeing places from the MMO that I’ve “been to” and characters that were legend in game come to life was a very intoxicating experience. The nostalgia was strong, and the fan service fits in perfectly with the humor and personality that Blizzard embodies.
Anyone who has gotten over the franchise will likely not find anything to pull them back, but if there is any love for the world that they’ve built, this movie is sure to tickle your fancy and bring a wave of nostalgia. It is a highly enjoyable film to watch, even if it is a bit crunched for time. Hardcore fans will likely want more, and newcomers may not get sucked in as intended, but this is an awesome start, and I really hope they do another film. There is definitely enough lore out there to continue.
The Picture 5/5
Anyone who has seen a Blizzard cinematic ever will attest to the wonderful quality that goes into the animations that they put out. This movie is 100% in line with what you would expect in terms of quality. The CGI is flawless, the scaling is perfect, and the movie is flat out exciting to watch.
The only gripe I have is that the sets all look a little too polished, and the armor sets all look a little too pristine to look quite real. This is of course to match the game’s aesthetic, but this doesn’t quite translate as well to film. It sort of put the movie into the uncanny valley for me; things looked very real but just slightly off at times. I’m very torn between my love for the game and my love for movies, so this will be a plus or minus depending on the viewer.
The Sound 5/5
The sound on this release is absolutely breathtaking. The music, sound effects, and booming orcish voices are all extremely satisfying and downright exciting. The surround tracks are all used to great effect, and really help establish the tone and bring you into the film.
Plus there are a handful of fun little audio references to the games in there as well, which was always nice to notice.
The Features & Packaging 5/5
We get the standard black 4K UHD case with awesome looking art on both the sleeve and the slipcover. Inside, we get the same art on the 4K UHD disc, a rather generic looking blu-ray copy, and a UV code slip which also includes a few in game goodies for Blizzard properties. Included are a copy of World of Warcraft, playable champion Gul’dan for Heroes of the Storm, and Medivh as a class character in Hearthstone.
In terms of special features, we get all sorts of goodies. All features appear on both the 4K and regular blu-ray, which is nice, as several of the earlier 4K releases only had the special features on the included blu-ray copies.
The features included are:
- Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood motion comic
- The World of Warcraft on film: Talent, VFX, Stunts, and more – a series of mini features that was surprisingly fun and entertaining to watch.
- ILM: Behind the Magic of Warcraft
- Deleted/Extended Scenes
- Gag Reel
- The Fandom of Warcraft
- Warcraft: The Madame Tussauds Experience
- Warcraft Teaser 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed each of these features. Again, my history with the franchise tilted my bias, but even so, these were well put together and interesting. I think that even newcomers to the series will find these worth watching if they enjoyed the film.
The Verdict 4/5
Warcraft is a decent start to bringing the franchise to the big screen. There is fun fan service, fantastic animation, and an interesting story, even if it’s a bit rushed. I definitely recommend this one, unless you already dislike Warcraft, but hey, if that’s you, you probably aren’t reading this.
Note: This Blu Ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.