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Review: ‘Warcraft’ Is All War, But No Craft

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Warcraft MovieSpoon.com

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]lright, let me put my cards on the table. I have played the Warcraft video games from the 1990s, but not the pop culture phenomenon of World of Warcraft. I’ve never read a Warcraft book, comic book or even a strategy guide for that matter.

Warcraft MovieSpoon.com

Looks cool, but looks can be deceiving.

So while I may not be familiar with the abundance of lore coupled with Warcraft, I can state that the movie did capture the atmosphere of watching other people play World of Warcraft. I spent my college days in dorms where students would be glued to their screens in walleyed hypnosis over this fantasy game. They’d spend hours upon hours mindlessly grinding levels by clicking profusely, waiting for their character to walk to the next enemy and then clicking some more. They spoke to one another in nasally and droning voices that made them sound less as warriors or wizards and more as accountants doing taxes. That level of monotony and disinterest can be felt in this movie.

The movie begins with the introduction of a race of war-loving beings known as the Orcs, portrayed as CGI monstrosities with big teeth, big hands and big feet. Their world is dying and they now rely on the dark magic of an evil Orc who uses the power of souls to open a portal to a new world. The world they seek to conquer is known as Azeroth and it’s occupied by humans, elves, dwarves, griffins and wizards (and possibly more fantasy creatures).

Warcraft MovieSpoon.com

CGI on top of CGI on top of CGI.

But the portal is only strong enough to bring a few Orcs through at a time. They need more souls to make it open, so the handful of Orcs that went through starts capturing humans to use as fuel for the portal. Why don’t they just talk to the humans about their dilemma?

Related: Review: ‘Now You See Me 2’ Has More Magic, More Tricks & More Problems

Well, the orcs don’t speak the words of man, but apparently some of their lesser Orc half-breeds can speak it for some unexplained reason. There are also plot elements of fantasy creature councils, traditions that the Orcs are struggling to protect, pathos for a baby, etc. Don’t bother getting too invested in these plot elements, however, as most of them are either underdeveloped or left out to dry for a supposed sequel.

Warcraft MovieSpoon.com

Travel Fimmel of ‘Vikings’ fame stars in the movie.

In this struggle for survival and land, a slew of laughable and underdeveloped characters are thrown at the screen. Durotan (Toby Kebbell), one of the chiefs of the Orcs, fears for the future of his people and his newly born child that he brings with the horde to Azeroth for some reason. Sir Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel) commands the human armies that drive back the Orcs, but is concerned about having his hardly acknowledged son on the battlefield.

Garona (Paula Patton) is a half-Orc slave that will be given sanctuary if she can help the humans with defeating the horde, but floats between so many strange motivations of who to trust, kill or seduce. Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer) is a young mage that seeks to prove his worth and play a bigger role in the forthcoming war, but everybody hates him for some reason. The mysterious wizard Medivh (Ben Foster) is supposed to be an all-powerful being, but appears more as a disinterested stoner with his long hair and thin beard. This punk doesn’t have the presence or the facial hair to go toe-to-toe with Gandalf or Merlin.

All of these characters do little more than go through the motions based on both a crowded script and low-level acting abilities. There are small nuggets of scenes reserved for these actors to display some level of charisma and every one of them fall flat on their face in failed attempts at levity and drama. I could hear a few pity laughs in the audience during most of these awkward moments.

Warcraft MovieSpoon.com

These griffins don’t have anything on the eagles of ‘Lord of the Rings.’

For Azeroth being filled with wizards, griffins, dwarves and elves, Warcraft does a rather terrible job at building up its world. The movie introduces the human kingdom of Stormwind, but we don’t see much of it outside the throne room, war room and dungeon (all of which are not that impressive). We don’t get to meet the people, understand their customs or experience their culture. I suppose we just have to accept it as your average fantasy kingdom and move on.

The fight scenes, which will most likely be the biggest draw, are decent at best. For the first few minutes, the combat is shocking and brutal. But by the time the movie reaches its tenth head smashed in by an Orc hammer, the abundance of brutality begins to lose impact fast. Quantity takes priority over quality as legions of knights square off against hordes of Orc warriors in large overhead shots.

[divider]Read more to check out the trailer:[divider]

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Izzy

Movie Magic: The De-Aging Technique of The Irishman

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Robert DeNiro de-agedHave you read Izzy yet? If so, you know that Izzy makes the apples that give the Gods their youth and immortality. It also seems Robert De Niro discovered one of Izzy’s apples too… In Martin Scorsese’s upcoming biographical film, he stars as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a labor union leader and alleged hitman for the Bufalino crime family. The trailer for the movie, which will premieres NEXT WEEK (!), also features a “de-aged” De Niro. “We’re so used to watching them as the older faces,” Scorsese said in an interview on the A24 podcast. “Does it change the eyes at all? …If that’s the case, what was in the eyes that I liked? Was it intensity? Was it gravitas? Was it threat?…How do we get that? I don’t know.” Some might consider this magic and I for one can’t wait to see the impact of Izzy’s apples on screen for myself. ????

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“Captain Marvel” Retains Top Slot at the Box Office

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It’s no surprise that in its second weekend, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe of 2019 is still riding high. Captain Marvel, the latest in the MCU with Brie Larson starring as the lead, generated another $69 million over the weekend, placing its domestic total at $266 million. Tallying up the international box office, the film’s global total to date is $760 million. Despite the online controversy, the film is looking to be another strong box office smash for Disney and Marvel.

As for the premieres for the weekend, and there were plenty, they were all over the map. Just below Captain Marvel was the animated adventure Wonder Park, bringing in $16 million, another film with controversy when the director’s name was removed from the picture after sexual harassment charges. Five Feet Apart, the dying teen drama about a romance amid cystic fibrosis, only came in at #3 with a weekend gross of $13 million. And debuting the lowest in the top 10 for debuts was Captive State, a sci-fi dystopian tale, only making $3 million. The film debuted so low the little film No Manches Frida 2 was able to sneak about it at #6 with a gross of $3.8 million.

Drops were fairly low all around for the returning films, mostly because Captain Marvel was dominating the previous weekend. The only milestone worth noting is that The LEGO Movie 2, after six weeks at the box office, finally cracked $100 million. And the sun is now setting on Green Book’s post-Oscar run by coming in at #10 for the final weekend of its top 10 run over the past few weeks.

View the full top ten weekend box office results below:

Captain Marvel ($69,318,000)

Wonder Park ($16,000,000)

Five Feet Apart ($13,150,000)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($9,345,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($8,085,000)

No Manches Frida 2 ($3,894,000)

Captive State ($3,163,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($2,135,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($1,900,000)

Green Book ($1,277,000)

Next weekend, Captain Marvel may very well have some competition when Jordan Peele’s new horror film Us hits over 3,600 theaters.

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“Dragon” Continues To Soar, “Funeral” Close Behind, “Green Book” Back

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With little competition for the weekend, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, the third in the animated fantasy saga, was able to secure the box office once more. In its second weekend, the animated epic made $30 million to push its domestic total to $97 million. So far the film has done about the same as the previous film and is on track to stay in the top 10 for a few more weeks in March.

Debuts this weekend were small with one big exception. Tyler Perry’s latest Madea film, A Madea Family Funeral, naturally made a relatively big splash with its dedicated audience. Starting at #2, the film made $27 million for its first weekend. No word on the budget yet but it’s most likely on a budget as most Tyler Perry productions are, so it’s safe to call this a success, especially for debuting with a box office so close to Dragon.

The rest of the premieres were not as strong at all. Greta, the new thriller starring Chloe Moretz, debuted all the way down at #8 with $4.5 million box office. To be fair, however, the film was in a constant battle for its spot as three other films also reported earnings around $4 million for the weekend. Of note, Green Book, fresh off winning the Academy Award for Best Picture one weekend ago, splashed back into more theaters to arise even higher in the top 10 with its domestic total now sitting at $73 million. Don’t count on it remaining there long as bigger blockbusters will be swooping as we plow through the last remnants of winter movies.

Check out the full listing of the top 10 box office weekend results below:

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World ($30,046,000)

Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral ($27,050,000)

Alita: Battle Angel ($7,000,000)

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part ($6,615,000)

Green Book ($4,711,000)

Fighting With My Family ($4,691,284)

Isn’t it Romantic ($4,645,000)

Greta ($4,585,000)

What Men Want ($2,700,000)

Happy Death Day 2U ($2,516,000)

Next weekend is once again all about Marvel as their latest superhero solo film, Captain Marvel, will be appearing in 4,100 theaters.

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