• by Wes Singleton

Review: Warcraft, C-

Rated PG-13, 123 minutes

The new action fantasy "Warcraft" is an overlong, CGI-heavy escape to another world, and if it looks like a video game, it's because it's based on the popular video game series of the same name. The visuals will keep you engaged in the vacuous film, as the muddled story is all over the place. Looking to escape from his dying world, the orc shaman Gul'dan (Daniel Wu) utilizes dark magic to open a portal to the human realm of Azeroth and organizes the orc clans into a conquering army called the Horde. Uniting to protect Azeroth from these hulking invaders are King Llane (Dominic Cooper), the mighty warrior Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel), the powerful wizard Medivh (Ben Foster) and Garona (Paula Patton), a half-orc, half-human caught in-between. As the two races collide, leaders from each side start to question if war is the only answer. Directed and co-written by Duncan Jones, director of "Moon" (and the late David Bowie's son, if that matters), it certainly has a visual flair and brisk pacing, though the story and characters only show up the weakness of the source material, which is hardly meant for dramatic depth or any sort of subtly. On that note, if you're unfamiliar with the video game series, the characters and places won't mean as much, though Jones does stage some impressive action sequences, including the final orc-vs-human battle along with the CGI orc-on-orc battle, which is more fun to watch. Less impressive is the confounding plot, which may confuse even the gamers out there familiar with some of this stuff, but basically it boils down to the familiar, overused good-vs-evil; even that becomes much too repetitive in the overextended climax, and Jones seems intent on giving people their money's worth. "Warcraft" is also seemingly tailored to the PG-13 audience as well, which may mean more swords and magic and less blood and guts that the game is known for. Entertaining for a minute or two (watch for that uncredited Glenn Close cameo in the last act), it goes on too long and except for a few good fight scenes, is mostly forgettable, mindless summer action fare.