Following a decade long development process, Blizzard Entertainment have finally launched their first foray into the world of film, as Duncan Jones adapts their most popular gaming property for the big screen, with Warcraft: The Beginning.

So, is it any good?noFirst off let me state for record that I’m a relative rookie when it comes to world of Warcraft, and although I’ve played the original three games in the series, my level of fandom could be described as casual at best. And if you’re anything like me, get ready to be super confused; because the filmmakers behind Warcraft (as it will hereby be referred to in this review) make no concessions for those unfamiliar with the lore of the series. In the first twenty minutes alone you’ll have a whole lot of unfamiliar words like The Fel, Kalimdor and Stormwind thrown at you; and that’s not even counting the character names you’ll have to try and remember, which numbers in the double digits. And therein lies the main problem with the film: in trying to pack so much material into the all important two hour running time, Jones shortchanges his hardcore fans, while alienating the other large contingent of the audience.Z4PESHkVKAhqq2YFVEng59

The story starts out simply enough, with the Orcish Horde leaving their dying world of Draenor in the hope of conquering the human realm of Azeroth, which lies through a mysterious portal, fuelled by the powerful Warlock Gul’dan (Daniel Wu). Once in Azeroth, Gul’dan’s legions set about constructing a new portal in the hope of bringing further clans to their new world, whilst a small band of his followers (led by Rob Krazinski’s Orgrim Doomhammer) begin to question the motives of their leader. Meanwhile the Alliance of men, having learnt of the impending war, must consult the Guardian, a powerful Mage and protector who could be their only hope of defeating the Horde and saving the realm from total annihilation. I’m of course only just skimming the surface here, but an entire review could be written on just the synopsis for this film alone.ierdq1mmfh0gd8v8ds0fIt must be said that Warcraft is a visually impressive film,  both in the design of the world and the state of the art motion capture work that has gone into bringing these characters to life. The Orcs in particular have been faithfully translated to the big screen while each having their own unique personality. Sadly the same cannot be said for the human characters of Azeroth, with only Travis Fimmel’s Anduin displaying even the slightest hint of charisma.

There are several easter eggs that I spotted from the games scattered throughout this film, and I’ sure there are many more that long time fans will pick up on. There’s even a ‘top down’ shot which pays homage to the RTS-style of gaming we know so well from the early games. However gimmicks such as these only serve to further highlight the lack of a compelling plot, and make you pine for what could have been had the filmmakers not tried to pack quite so much into the one movie.warcraft-movie-images-hi-res-1Warcraft should please the hardcore gamers out there, particularly from a visual stand point. But much like the Orc characters in the film, audiences not versed in Warcraft lore will be lost in this new and unfamiliar world; filled with one dimensional characters and confusing plot developments.

Warcraft: The Beginning opens in Australian cinemas from tomorrow