Viewed – 18 October 2016 Online-rental
I went into this fairly blind, other than seeing the trailer a couple of times and thinking … hmm, looks fun. You see, I never played the long-running MMORPG PC game on which this takes it’s inspiration, and well sitting down to it I was presented with a colourful if unremarkable fantasy adventure movie. The story has a race of Orcs who travel from their world which is apparently dying into the human world of Aseroth after their powerful wizard opens up a doorway powered by, it seems the souls of innocents. At the same time we meet a conflicted Orc and his pregnant wife who don’t seem totally in approval of the wizard’s ways but follow him anyway. Once in Aseroth the Orc race start attacking the humans in a bid to take over, which brings forth seasoned warrior Lothar (Travis Fimmel), a reluctant mage and a powerful warlock ‘Medivh’ (Ben Foster) who must figure out a way of saving their world.
Adaptations of video games (or even computer games) have rarely gone well, with a couple of exceptions (Silent Hill, Tomb Raider?). In the hand’s of director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) however I was hoping for more. Sadly we don’t get that. This avalanche of hit-and-miss CGI and surprisingly wooden performances is only marginally helped by some exciting battle sequences and vaguely interesting character development especially from the conflicted Orc and a half-human, half-Orc female. Yet this fails to really hold it’s head either alongside or above similar fair like The Hobbit or even Game of Thrones and is a little too pretty and safe. Hardly any blood is shed for that family friendly rating and it really grates especially when the movie would have benefited from some gritty violence. The final act does liven up proceedings, what with a magically animated ogre and some fun effects and tense showdowns. However that can’t help a very weak story, a world I was left knowing very little about (it begs for an explanatory prologue) and characters only had a fleeting interest in.
Perhaps fans of the game will be spotting references and nods throughout for added fun, but anyone else should get their fantasy-adventure fix elsewhere.
Verdict: 2 /5