'Warcraft' [4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD]
(Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, et al / 4K Ultra HD Blu ray+Blu-ray+Digital HD / PG-13 / 2016 / Universal Studios Home Entertainment)
Overview: The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction.
Blu ray Verdict: I think we all have to admit that there hasn't been many good reviews of this film from day one, sadly. I'm not one for believing the hype beforehand, so I waited until this stunning (quality wise) 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray arrived for review and sat down and experienced it all for myself.
Well, and now that my journalistic viewpoint is well and truly undertaken and locked in, first of all, every single actor brought their B-game ... and failed miserably! I mean, when you're trying to act, and a CGI orc is expressing more emotion than you, you are a failure. Travis Fimmel as Lothar came across more as a twitchy junkie with a lot of sass, rather than a stern and battle-hardened warrior. No matter what line he was delivering, he would get crazy eyes and start weaving his head around, kind of like a ghetto chick ready to throw down with another ghetto chick.
Ben Schnetzer as Khadgar looks like he just got hazed at his local fraternity, and needs to shave that pathetic pedo-stache immediately. Ben Foster, who is usually pretty awesome in movies, must have been on buckets of Xanax to sleepwalk through this movie and get his check. Even Paula Patton had nothing to do, trying to act confident and independent, only to be dressed up in rags and chains and saved by big strong white men every few seconds. Yikes, could they have made the racial undertones any more obvious?
Now that we've gotten most of the awful, unmemorable characters out of the way, let's move onto the plot. The bad guys' motivations come down to, "Felfire made me do it." Magical evil makes normal people evil, because the plot needs evil people. How typical. Meanwhile, the good guys are only good because everyone around them acts like morons in comparison. Durotar is the savior of the orcs and sides with the humans, because apparently he's the only dude who thinks a life- sucking warlock with glowing green eyes and bone-spikes growing from his back might not be such a nice guy after all.
You will expect every single plot beat before it happens. Oh, the main character's son is a soldier and wants to make his father proud? Yeah we know how that's gonna end up, no spoilers required. Big showdown between the hero and his nemesis? Forget imaginative choreography, let's just repeat the fight between Johnny Cage and Goro, because people loved that movie right? I think there were actually two brief moments that surprised me, a total of about 2 minutes in the 2 hour run time. For the rest of the 118 minutes, it was tedious and predictable.
Speaking of choreography, while the fight scenes look impressive, there is nothing happening in them. There is no ingenuity, no creativity, nothing. When it comes time for a powerful warlock to fight an orc chieftain, they just thrown down fists. I understand it's tradition, but the warlock never shows off any other skills besides "Drain Life." Gul'dan is the casual player who spams a single attack because they're brain dead. What happened to Shadowbolt, DoTs, or summons? Mages are either shooting blue balls, surrounding themselves in blue balls, or teleporting in a blue ball. What happened to Blink, Fire and Ice spells? The magic is the most unimaginative part of this entire movie, which is an absolute shame since it could have been a real strong point.
The only good thing this movie has going for it is looks. It looks good, the motion capture is great, and it doesn't have a washed out monochrome color scheme like most blockbusters these days. I appreciate the aesthetics of the armor and locations, geography, and creatures, but without any emotion or soul behind all the pretty stuff, it just feels empty. This movie is like an empty suit of decorative armor on a pedestal, it serves no purpose but to look nice!
Now, as for this WONDERFUL 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray, overall, well, 4K Ultra HD represents a giant leap forward in movie-watching, that's for damn sure. Indeed, the format’s stunning resolution and peak luminescence, combined with its deep bench of industry support, enables companies such as Universal Home Entertainment to deliver to the consumer a truly differentiated viewing experience; and one that has the capability to power the future of home entertainment.
But it doesn't always mean a crystal clear, as perfect as they would have wished for final presentation, trust me. For, and like with 'Batman v Superman', the cinema released 35mm was scanned at 2K, but the IMAX release was scanned at 8K, and the end result is supposedly a 4K master. It was far from it visually, so not knowing what 'Warcraft' was initially filmed and released in, all I can say is that it "looks" crystal clear and perfect to my eyes.
As for the en masse of special features, 'Warcraft' contains a large allotment of deleted scenes, a lengthy motion comic film, and many interesting featurettes. A DVD copy of the film and a voucher for a UV/iTunes digital copy are also included with purchase.
Deleted/Extended Scenes (1080p @ 14 minutes run time): Durotan & Orgrim Petition for Entry, Durotan Fights Dark Scar, Orcs Discuss Fel at the Campfire, Lothar Receives Booomstick at Ironforge, Callan & Khadgar Ride to the Lion's Pride Inn, Lothar Briefs Officers, Questions Medivh, King and Queen Talk on Balcony, Meeting of the Kingdoms, The City Prepares for War, Lothar Mourns, Garona Comforts Him, and Antonidas Asks Khadgar to Be the New Guardian.
The World of Warcraft on Film (1080p): A six-part feature that includes:
Origin Story (4:54): A quick look back at the game franchise that moves on to examine film origins, ensuring a movie experience that does right by the universe created in the games, world design, Duncan Jones' contributions to the film, and creating a balanced and emotional film.
The World of Talent (5:35): Discussing the actors who fill key roles in the film.
The World of VFX (5:09): How visual effects contributed to the film and made the world as depicted in the games come to life.
Outfitting a World (6:16): A brief glimpse into wardrobe.
The World of Mo-Cap (6:50): A discussion of how motion capture performances made the film's Orcs and some of the technical innovations that helped make the look complete.
The World of Stunts (5:06): As the title suggests, this piece examines the many stunts involved in making the movie.
In wrap, and in closing, 'Warcraft' may lack more readily accessible storytelling arcs, as mentioned, but via this 4K Ultra HD presentation it's a technical marvel. An entertaining film with that regard, throughout, newcomers to the craft will no doubt love it, whereas avid followers of the original video game might smirk occasionally when a plot point is overlooked - or underused. So yeah, it will most likely speak more to the hardcore legion of established fans, but this crystal clear presentation is a wonderful invention from Universal. Truly wonderful, of that have no doubt. This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.40:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the special features of:
The World of Warcraft on Film
The Fandom of Warcraft
Warcraft: Bonds of Brotherhood Motion Comic
Warcraft: The Madame Tussauds Experience
ILM: Behind the Magic of Warcraft
Warcraft Teaser - 2013
Digital Copy of Warcraft