Looking to escape from his dying world, the orc shaman Gul’dan utilizes dark magic to open a portal to the human realm of Azeroth. Supported by the fierce fighter Blackhand, Gul’dan organizes the orc clans into a conquering army called the Horde. Uniting to protect Azeroth from these hulking invaders are King Llane, the mighty warrior Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel) and the powerful wizard Medivh. As the two races collide, leaders from each side start to question if war is the only answer.
Probably the best way to experience “Warcraft,” a generally amusing and sometimes visually arresting absurdity, is stoned. If watching the big screen through a cannabis cloud isn’t your idea of a good movie time, though, I suggest that you do what I did and just go with the incoherent flow. You may not grasp who the Bluto-like creatures with simian arms and woolly mammoth tusks are or why they seem permanently engorged with rage. But there’s more to movies than narrative coherency, as anyone who has sampled the cinema of Michael Bay or certain art films well knows.
There is in this movie, for starters, the visual appeal of those Blutoesque beings, lovingly fabricated and ornamented motion-capture creations who share their name with the creatures that J. R. R. Tolkien called orcs. Tolkien borrowed orc from the Old English, citing “Beowulf,” one of the many tales of blood lust and vengeance, heroes and monsters that are woven into the “Warcraft” DNA. The ruler here is King Llane (Dominic Cooper), a rather progressive monarch who fights the invading orcs with a multihued army, a rakish aide-de-camp (Travis Fimmel), a token chick (Paula Patton) and a magical twosome (Ben Foster and Ben Schnetzer).
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