A bewildering but stylish fantasy. 3/5 stars
Boasting impressive visuals and gathering a big-name cast including Dominic Cooper, Ben Foster and Paula Patton, this fantasy has a lot going for it.
However, for anyone who isn't a World of Warcraft devotee, this attempt to launch a Hollywood action-fantasy franchise from the phenomenally successful role-playing strategy game may leave you more confused than entertained.
The plot, which sees rampaging orcs passing through a magic portal and invading Cooper's kingdom, seems to make very little sense and the convoluted mythology merely adds to the mess.
Director Duncan Jones gives the big battle scenes spectacular heft, but his CGI-boosted efforts will probably be lost on those newcomers still stumbling over such tongue-tangling names as Medivh, Khadgar and Gul'dan or boggling at the tusked orcs' shocking underbites.
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A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.