WARCRAFT movie REVIEW:
The Warcraft movie, although visually stunning, was lackluster and fell flat. The Orc's story line and characters were very well developed. Kudos to that. The human characters, on the other hand, were all underdeveloped and all had the exact same boring motivation (that's right -- singular, not plural).
"Protect the King!"
Warrior guy. "Protect the king!"
Guardian. "Protect the king!"
Mage kid. "Protect the realm and thereby protect the king!"
Orc halfbreed. "Protect the king who isn't even my king."
It's astonishing how many times they actually say those lines, or a variation of them.
And that's the whole of it. All the human character motivations are indistinguishable and makes the characters bland. You could fold all the human characters into one and it wouldn't change the story any, and that's just poor story telling.
As for the rest of the film.
WARNING: the following contains ***SPOILERS*** *
In the end...
They all fail to protect the king.
Which was predictable. Which made it sad that none of the characters had any real motivations beyond protecting the king.
All of them except for our warrior hero who also wants to protect his son. Who is busy protecting the king. But then fails to do so, and dies. And our warrior hero ends up failing to protect anyone at all.
And then, once everyone they're trying to protect is killed, their motivations suddenly change to... fight for peace! All at the last minute.
Really cheesy, really bad writing. I half expected William Wallace to walk out onto the battlefield and cry out "FREEEEDOMMM!"
All the side-stories were underdeveloped as well. Only the father & son story had any weight to it but it was cut short because, as stated, our warrior hero fails to protect his son too.
Very sad. Right? But not really because you never felt that there was any relationship there.
It seemed like a needless bit of melodrama packed into the drama. Very cliche. It's the same old, same old. The son gets murdered so the hero then wants revenge trope. It wasn't necessary to throw this into the film, and because their relationship was so underdeveloped anyway, and the acting wasn't so great (aren't the two actors who play father and son virtually the same age?), it comes off feeling, you guessed it, flat.
Maybe the actors could have pulled it off if they were more commanding actors. Or if they were given more to work with in terms of the development of their relationship. But as it is, it's just poorly executed and unnecessary since it doesn't drive the plot forward as it comes rather late and the confrontation of our warrior hero and the evil Orc was coming regardless of whether or not the evil Orc killed his son or not. Because, remember, the hero's motivation is "Protect the king!" So the son's death is superfluous here.
The only interesting scene to come out of it is when the hero is in the bar getting drunk and the Orc halfbreed girl comes up to him and they share a moment because they are both wounded souls. But then the story cuts away, and instead of showing them fall in love, it hints at a relationship but doesn't make it into anything.
I mean, given what happens at the end, maybe fleshing out their relationship more at this point, even throwing in a mild love scene, would have made her seeming betrayal at the end seem all the more unforgivable to our hero. That would have been interesting to see. But really, all I felt was, he loves her, he loves her not and, ah-ha, we're onto something else. Never mind. It never really mattered. Oh, well.
Even the young Mage, the so-called "chosen one" just sort of floats along with only a minor motivation to figuring out what's behind the mysterious portal compelling him, all the while saying his lines (badly and feeling really out of place in the cast), and is the key to solving the who let the Orcs in mystery. But, in the end, it doesn't really matter who let the Orcs in because they don't go back.
So, yeah, the one character they had the chance to do anything with they sort of push into the background of the B-story line. Too bad.
As for the King, he wanted to protect his people and his shining kingdom (well, duh). This is another very boring character motivation. And the king is played rather straight. The actor's lines are delivered straight. There's nothing particularly commanding or interesting about the king. He's just sort of there. It would have been more interesting to see the king being the one who let the Orcs in through the portal, not the guardian. Although still cliche, it would have at least been an interesting character dynamic amid otherwise bland and predictable characters with bland and predictable performances.
But, as it turns out, that didn't happen. And all we are given instead are these very basic, unoriginal, predictable, uninteresting characters with no real motivations to speak of beyond protect the king and fight the bad guy.
And that was the entire depth of the human-based story lines.
Even though the human story lines were very bland, I felt that the Orc story line was really, very well done. That's the redeeming aspect to this film. They had family story, politics, ritual, conflict all within their own side of the story. And the Orc characters were genuinely interesting and their CGI performances were -- dare I say it -- better than the live actors. Although this may have had something to do with the fact that the live actors were acting with CGI actors, which is much harder to pull off convincingly. Especially when your cast is a mixed bag of talent.
Sadly, in the end, the excellent Orc story line just was not good enough to save the film from being flattened into a terrible two-dimensional cliche. A pity too, considering the source mythology of Warcraft is so rich.
Overall, I'd give the film three stars.
It wasn't terrible. It had good moments. But it seems almost as if it was two films mashed together seamlessly by having a great editor and excellent CGI transitions. But the story felt disjointed, as if he lead director handled all the Orc stuff and gave an unskilled second unit director all the human stuff and ended up with a really skewed film.
I've been writing in one form or another since 2000. I've mainly been blogging and writing articles about Japan and movies reviews.
It wasn't until 2012 that I wrote my first novel. It was a non-fiction work that I decided not to publish. I was so dissatisfied with it, I wrote another book immediately after to improve upon. It was slightly better. But only just. I didn't publish that one either.
By 2014 I finally grew confident enough to publish my first non-fiction book. At that same time I was just finishing up work on my post apocalyptic zombie series BITTEN. It would be my fist non-fiction work.
By the end of the 2014 I signed with Winlock Press, an Imprint of Permuted who graciously snatched me up and re-published the first two installments of the BITTEN series. It was my first published work by a traditional publisher.
Needless to say, ever since I started writing fiction I've decided that's what I want to do with the rest of my life. Be a full time writer.
Back in 2014 I made the personal promise to myself to have completed at least 50 novels by the times I turn 50 years old. That's two and a half novels a year, at least.
If I can keep my current pace up, then I'd say I'll be ahead of schedule.
Since I began writing and publishing full steam ahead in 2014, as of this year, 2016, I have published 4 fiction and 5 non-fiction books. I have three more non-fiction ready and lined up for release in the next few months, including BITTEN 3 (the continuation of my zombie saga), Valandra The Winds of Time Cycle (my fist foray into YA fantasy lit), and Robotica (my first cyber punk sci-fi work).
That leaves the question as what I have planned for next year and beyond.
Well, in short, I have two more installments of The Winds of Time Cycle lined up, plus BITTEN 4 for later next year, and a sequel to my Tokyo's Lost Souls novella. The sequel will be called Tokyo's Lost Souls: The Girl Who was Accidentally Triggered. If you have read the first novella, you'll have a good idea of what the title implies.
Additionally, I have an unrelated zombie story in the work, Romeo & Juliet VS the Undead. Like the popular parody novel Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, I'll rewrite the Romeo & Juliet story to include a post apocalyptic setting with zombies. It'll be fun to write. I intend to do in in full Shakespearean verse. Time allowing.
After that (or perhaps before depending on where my mood takes me) I'll be completing my steampunk fairy tale Little Red Gauntlet. Originally it was a short story I wrote for an anthology which never got published and which I've decided to turn into a full length novel.
It is exactly what it sounds like -- a take on the Little Red Riding Hood fable set in a steampunk fantasy world.
I have plotted the story of BITTEN 5 and will get around to that as time allows. But for now, I'm going to focus on the above works for next year. BITTEN 5 may be a year off yet given the amount of work I have lined up for myself.
I know it sounds like a lot. But it's a challenge I put to myself. And one I intend to keep.
If the amount of novels I've been able to publish this past couple of years, I think it's doable. After all, my motto is sleep less, write more.
I guess only time will tell if I'm successful in my endeavor.
Well, I better get back to it. Cheers! And stay tuned for more updates.
“I am no peasant,” I inform him. “I hail from the northern kingdom of Bellera. My people have no caste system. No hierarchy to divide us. Social status is quite meaningless to us. Everyone is treated as an equal and everyone learns to fight like a warrior. We are an ancient and noble race, and even though the likes of you have gone out of your way to disgrace us and mock our ways, we will never be intimidated.”
Shocked, Dathrium’s eyes grow large and one eyebrow crawls to the top of his head in an inquisitive fashion. “Ha!” he bellows. “A barbarian girl?!”
“Why do you laugh, Lord Dathrium?” I ask him. “Have I said something to amuse you?”
“Indeed,” he sneers, his nostrils flaring with disgust. “I should have guessed by your lack of etiquette that you were a mere barbarian girl. But perhaps I can teach you a thing or two about social standing, and of kneeling before your king, after I beat the insolence out of you! Then maybe, if you’re lucky, I’ll spare you the dungeon and make you one of my concubines.”
Growing up in the highlands, I was painfully aware of the prejudice against my peoples. Something which was all too common among the noble lords of all the kingdoms of Valandra. Only Valandra, the capitol, and Urhuhlin, the dwarf kingdom, traded with the northern tribes of Bellera and Yulandra. That is, until Lord Dathrium took power.
“Funny,” I say, mockingly, “that you would resort to the barbaric custom of asserting your dominance over me by confining me to a life of sexual slavery yet have the audacity to call me the barbarian. It seems the only barbarian here is you, Lord Dathrium!”
“Gah!” Lord Dathrium balks, angered by my continued defiance. “I will have your head for your insolence!”
Sure enough, he takes the bait and lunges at me, swinging wildly as he lumbers toward me.
Our swords spark and sing again with the song of fire and clashing steel. But his clumsy blows are no match for my disciplined hand, my youth, and my stamina. In fact, it is quite apparent that Lord Dathrium hasn’t had to fight any of his own battles in quite some time. Not that he’d have to with the entire Royal Guard at his disposal.
I use my sword like a staff, taking it in both hands, I thrust forward and slam it into Dathrium’s chest. He staggers back, his garish black armor rattling like old pots and pans as he tries to catch his footing.
In addition to writing full-length novels (about one a year) I have decided to release a series of novellas too. My decision to focus on novellas is two-fold. First, it will let me experiment with genre and storytelling, allowing me to branch out and simultaneously challenge myself. Second, writing a full-length novel takes a lot of time and energy -- and there is very little financial return. Novellas are less costly, save time and, like short stories, more can be produced more quickly without sacrificing quality.
The truth is, even a best-seller will barely net a livable wage -- and unless you get extremely lucky to stay up on the charts chances are you're like 90% of all the other authors out there and your books just won't keep their momentum.
This forces writers to try and produce multi-part series... in the hopes of generating a renewed interest with each new installment of the series... but even so, full-length novel series, like my BITTEN novels, take a lot of time to plot and write well. They are detailed storylines epic in scope, and I can only write one novel like that in a year (at the most two).
This leaves me with either publishing short stories in anthologies or writing novellas. I have personally chosen to go the route of novellas since I am a creator at heart and a storyteller. I always have 3 or 4 ideas bopping around in my head and this way I can get more of my story ideas down onto paper. Furthermore, it becomes easier to produce ongoing series, or serial episodes so to speak (which is hugely popular in television right now), and I hope to experiment with genre and styles to find something that cliques with readers.
Also, it's worth noting that in this age of digital publishing, readers want instant gratification. Digital publishing has, to an extent, forced novels to become even more disposable of a medium. People download a book, read it, and then want the next one ASAP!
In the end, it just makes more logistic sense to write short, fast, installments in novella form instead of writing a 100K novel that takes over a year to produce and which is only capable of making enough back to cover production costs. Writing a series of novellas over the course of the year -- each 17K to 20K -- and each quicker and cheaper to produce than your standard novel ensures that the author can make back production cost. At least that's the hope, anyway. It's worth a shot.
So, that said, here's my next planned novella: Valandra: Vera Causa. My goal is to have it ready for a November release, after which I will clamp down on getting Robotica finished.
★★ NEW RELEASE! ★★
A mysterious girl seduces Masahiro on the train.
The following day there is a grisly murder. When the police call Masahiro in for questioning, he isn't prepared for what awaits him. Over the course of a year, Masahiro learns life sometimes throws you a curve-ball and love isn't always what it seems.
By day I am an educator and a cultural ambassador. By night I entertain notions of being a literary master. In reality I am just a family man and ordinary guy who works hard and loves writing just about as much as I love my family. Just about.