While the mixed reviews facing Warcraft provide the film with an uphill battle at the box office, gamers' reactions to early screenings of the film suggest that there's a lot for fans to appreciate. Though some fans felt Duncan Jones' big screen take on the fantasy video game franchise was a muddled effort that failed to find its feet, others found it was true to the material in the best ways. Even if it goes down as a box-office failure, Warcraft fans have gotten the film they asked for. It's an epic origin story that sparks the beginning of the war between orcs and humans and, what's more, it's chock-full of cool nods to fans and Easter eggs, no matter what race or class you play in the games.
SPOILERS AHEAD! Here are 11 Warcraft Scenes To Please Video Game Fans.
Attentive Warcraft fans will notice that the opening prologue for the film bears a lot of resemblance to the opening cinematic of Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos. The third game in the series opens with a narrated battle between orcs and humans, before cutting to the story of Thrall. The prologue in Warcraft looks much the same, giving us a glimpse of a future war between orcs and humans before introducing its principle orc character, Durotan. Given how long the project has been in development, these similarities are unlikely to have been coincidental. Reign of Chaos and Frozen Throne are treasured by fans, and it's cool to see the imagery recycled here. It's a nice nod to what many consider to be the best game in the franchise and one that sets the stage nicely for the rest of the film.
The time that the Warcraft film spends with the Dwarvish capital of Ironforge is very brief, but it's cool to see the location on-screen nonetheless. We get to see snow-capped exterior of the city as well as the magma-lit streets. It's one of the more visually memorable cities in World of Warcraft and the faithful recreation of it accomplishes the same effect here. If anything, it's disappointing we don't spend more time here. Stormwind might be the capital of the Alliance but Ironforge is the city fans will be most excited to see. Hopefully future films bring us back and we have a chance to flesh out the cast with at least one notable dwarvern character. A big part of the appeal of Warcraft is the diversity in the races that exist in the fictional universe; the Alliance should leverage that and bring more to the table beyond a bunch of humans.
Right off the bat, the Warcraft movie delivers some major fan-service moments when one of Gul'Dan's draenei captives begs Garona for help. Though the blue-skinned race has little to do with the main plot of the film, their inclusion here as part of the orcs' origin story is a neat detail that's a nod to the franchises' greater lore and mythology. The draenei originally came from another world besieged by the demons of The Burning Legion before fleeing to the homeworld of the orcs. Their later enslavement and genocide at the hands of Gul'Dan ultimately prompts them to flee a second time. Though the arrival of Prophet Velen and the draenei refugees isn't due for decades after the events depicted in the Warcraft movie, this was a nice way to squeeze them in for fans to see on-screen.
Stormwind is such an iconic part of Azeroth, and it's great to see it realised on the big screen. There's great attention to detail at work, from the statue of Medivh to the throne room; from the griffin roost to the stockades. There's little nods here to both fans of the real-time strategy games and the MMO. It's the center of power for The Alliance and it's great to see it get the attention it deserves in Warcraft's first cinematic outing. Both at a distance and up close it's just as awesome to behold as Ironforge. Let's hope we get to see more of the major cities and locations of Azeroth in future films.
It wouldn't be a true Warcraft movie without at least some kind of appearance by the murlocs of Azeroth. Though their appearance is a brief one, the inclusion of the franchises' beloved frog-people in Warcraft makes for some great fan-service. The slimy troglodytes of the swamp are features during one of the film's establishing shots, staying on-screen just long enough to deliver their ridiculous war cry. It's a nice touch that, if nothing else, reveals Duncan Jones understands that murlocs are an important, albeit ridiculous, part of the universe's mythos. They are one of the many little moments in the film that isn't afraid to step away from the self-seriousness of the main plot. In any case, it's great to see the murlocs represented in the franchises' first big screen outing.
Longtime World of Warcraft players know Karazhan as the haunted tower located in the heart of Deadwind Pass; it was undeniably cool to witness the tower in its prime in the Warcraft film. Seeing the great library of Medivh before it becomes a dilapidated ruin is a treat for fans, with the appearance of Moroes the Castellan only adding to the cool-factor. While Ben Foster's performance comes across a little inconsistent at (likely as a result of the 40 minutes cut from the film's theatrical release), it's hard not to argue that seeing the Guardian of Tirisfal in his full costume and wielding his signature weapon Atiesh wasn't worth the ten year wait for this movie.
A lot of Durotan's actions through the film are motivated by his desire to see his newborn son (who grows up to become Thrall) to safety. However, knowing the destiny attached to the Son of Durotan adds a lot to his scenes for fans. In some ways, the film is an origin story for the orcs and the perfect setup for Thrall's rise to power in a later film. Fans know that he'll grow up to become the new leader of the Horde, lead his people to their new homeland in Kalimdor and eventually ascend to become the Earth-Warder of Azeroth. Knowing all this adds so much rich context and to scenes where the young warchief features, casting all the talk by Durotan and Draka about his destiny in a different, more compelling light. Even in a film filled with nods to fans, it's a highpoint that only hardcore fans are going to appreciate.
Flying around Azeroth on a flying mount for the first time is an experience that a lot of Warcraft fans have a particular fondness for and seeing some of that recreated in the Warcraft film was something special. It was cool to see characters travel to and from various locations in Azeroth via griffin roosts, just like players do in the MMORPG. It helped it feel like a more authentic take on the material since players themselves could appreciate and understand how much travel time was involved whenever characters did so. It didn't hurt that it also made for some great fight sequences towards the end when we got to see a Lothar's griffin tear up scores of orc grunts without breaking a sweat.
One of the film's biggest laughs comes from a moment where Khadgar polymorphs a Stormwind guard keeping watch over an imprisoned Lothar. It's a comedic beat that plays off both the old-school magic at work in the film and the abilities that players have access to in the games. Similarly, there's a another great moment when Durotan's attempt to attack Medivh is foiled by a magical bubble-like barrier that fans will recognize. The geeky humor of Warcraft is something fans might have been expecting to see lost in the translation to the big screen, but it was great to see it present and accounted for here.
The Kirin Tor play a major role in Warcraft. Responsible for training both Medivh and, later, Khadgar, the powerful order of mages have a lot of influence across Azeroth. While the glowing eyes may have been a bit overdone, it's hard for fans not to get excited at the chance to see the Kirin Tor in their prime. While the film's detour to Dalaran leads to the revelation of a pretty major plot point, it also acts as a cool moment for hardcore fans. In the original lore, Dalaran is a landlocked metropolis devestated by the events of Warcraft 3. Later, Wrath of the Lich King sees the Kirin Tor rise again and raise their rebuilt city to the sky in order to act a vanguard in the fight against The Lich King. The film version of Dalaran is already airborne, but the sight of it hanging on the horizon is one that fans will find is warmly familiar nonetheless.
As the threat posed by Gul'Dan and the orcish horde's incursion continues to grow, King Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper) calls his allies from across the Eastern Kingdoms to ask for aid. While his efforts ultimately prove fruitless, it provides the movie with a nice chance to introduce and acknowledge the existence of the High Elves (later called Blood Elves) living on the northern end of the continent. Even if, for now, the High Elves stay out of the war between orcs and humans, this a great way to include them in the film. The rich history and sprawling mythology around the High Elves is something a lot of Warcraft fans are very attached to and even if Blizzard and Legendary only end up producing a single Warcraft film, their inclusion here is sure to please.
Medivh's fall from grace is a pretty major component of the Warcraft movie and the film did a great job at hinting at the demonic forces pulling the strings. While fans already know about the lurking threat of The Burning Legion, seeing Medivh begin to transform into a dreadlord provided a chance to acknowledge that, whilst still saving the arrival of the Legion itself for a future movie. Seeing the last guardian of Tirisfal's features begin to deform and melt away into a terrifying shape was absolutely a moment intended for diehard fans of the franchise and one that hints that there is still more Warcraft to come.
What did you think of Warcraft? What moments in Warcraft tickled you as a hardcore fan?