Review: Humans and orcs battle in boring ‘Warcraft’

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

“Warcraft” is an endurance test for all but the mightiest of superdorks. This action fantasy is a mind-numbing (and mind-dumbing) tale of humans and orcs that either knows how ludicrous it is and refuses to admit it or simply has no clue. Either way, it’s hard to imagine a more colossal clunker this summer.

Fans of the hugely popular video game series upon which it’s based will find it hard to care about this story of wizards and spells and dimensional portals, which has all the accessibility of a deep web message board discussion about LARPing. Even the actors — especially an in-over-her-head Paula Patton as Garona, a green-skinned half-orc, and Ben Foster as a robe-wearing guardian with shifting loyalties — look like they’d rather be playing video games.

Director Duncan Jones, who co-wrote the screenplay with Charles Leavitt, does pack some impressive visual oomph into this lead-footed turkey, so it’s not a total washout. But his attempts to bring coherence to the story are met with a deadening thud.

The story opens when the orcs, hulking creatures who all look modeled after Ron Perlman, use a glowing gateway to invade the land of Azeroth to escape their dying world of Draenor. Loyalties and motivations are tested as war draws on, and only the most scattered attempts at levity in the script break up the huge blocks of narrative sludge.

Jones — director of 2009’s over-praised “Moon” and son of David Bowie — may have been the right man for this job, but that’s assuming anyone was the right man for this job. “Warcraft” isn’t meant for the movies. Sometimes video games are best left as video games.

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‘Warcraft’

GRADE: D

Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of intense fantasy violence

Running time: 123 minutes