Wednesday, 22 June 2016


It's too easy to scoff at a film like Warcraft. It offers no promise of hope, no suggestion of respite from the overbearing vulgarity of its style, lifted so faithfully from its video game source. Here is a work of art that engages with the language of a form of entertainment often dismissed as inherently unartistic. In objective analysis, there is thus much that Warcraft misjudges from an artistic perspective - it's a derivative, aesthetically ugly, laughably macho fantasy, marred by some poor acting and even poorer scripting. But to dwell on these mistakes is itself a mistake, since these are mostly anything but - Duncan Jones has grappled with this aforementioned video game language in a manner unlike those directors before him attempting similar tasks. He strives not for the incoherent chaos of the action sequences, nor the perfunctory yet convoluted narrative structure of his inspiration (though fails to entirely excise either), rather its style, its stakes, its sense of purpose which the action and the narrative only serve. While the quality he engenders from such a sub-standard product is surprisingly strong, more admirable still is Jones' refusal to acknowledge it as sub-standard at all. He's a fanboy, but an intelligent one, and instead of accepting the lowliness of this enterprise, prescribed by a narrow-minded elite of cynical cinephiles, or vainly aspiring to exalt it, he addresses it as a worthy approach to art-making in and of itself. Warcraft is the video game adaptation warts and all, but with a dedication to the design of those warts that betrays a contagious love and respect for them. To scoff at such craftsmanship is too easy, precisely because it only requires an easy glance in its direction. Look closer at Warcraft, both because you can and because it deserves it.