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Movie Review

Orc don't win beauty contests. It's just a fact. The protruding tusks, the squinty hate-filled eyes, the steeply sloped forehead, the scarred and pierced ... everything. They have faces only a mother orc could love.

That doesn't mean orcs aren't loved, though. For all of their growling and chest-thumping, drooling and pillaging, they have loved ones. They have families.

And it's his family that drives Durotan, the Frostwolf chieftain, to the human land. He's seeking a new life. A life where he can raise his newborn son. A life free from corruption.

Durotan isn't stupid. He can see that the dark magic the shaman Gul'dan used to open a portal to this land is the same malevolent Fel magic that laid waste to his old homeland. And he can recognize that Fel is beginning to corrupt this human world of Azeroth, too.

Something must be done. Durotan must consider the long view of things. Stopping Gul'dan's evil might mean bitter enemies must find common ground. That foes must become allies for the greater good.

So he decides that the human warrior Lothar is likely the best one to approach. The man is a seasoned fighter but a creature of sense, it seems. He also has ties to the human king. If those loyal to Durotan join forces with the humans, they might be strong enough to prevail.

Of course, that will make Durotan a traitor in the eyes of many. It won't be pretty, for sure. But then nothing in an orc's life is pretty.

Positive Elements

Self-sacrifice for those you love is a common theme on both sides of the human and orc battle lines. Humans and orcs alike face impossible odds to save the innocent. And besides the general sacrifice in battle, Durotan is willing to allow himself to be publically pummeled by great power just to prove to his brothers that Gul'dan's magic is a foul and corrosive thing. The human king Llane, for his part, chooses to give up his life for the greater good.

Spiritual Content

It's easy to see Christ-like parallels in some of those selfless acts. Llane realizes that giving up his life could diffuse the evil at play and open a path to peace. His wife later says, "There is no greater blessing a city can have then a king who would sacrifice his life for his people."

Llane and Durotan and Lothar are questing against the magical evil of the day, an evil that is recognized and labeled as such. Within that construct, this fantasy universe is one of shamans and mages, dark and light magic that we see exhibited on many occasions. Mages speak incantations and stir up massive magical effects—from draining the life force of scores of victims, to opening a multidimensional portal, to animating a giant golem. It's made plain that the Fel magic can be the conduit for dark demonic forces. It fact, a mage is possessed by what appears to be a demon.

Sexual Content

A half-orc/half-human named Garona shows cleavage as she reclines for the night. She states that a man who is gazing at her wants to "lie with her." (He denies it.) Several orc women wear midriff-baring leather outfits. And an elf female wears a cleavage-boosting bustier. The massive male orcs are generally bare-chested.

Violent Content

The battles between men and orcs are percussive and wince-worthy. The orcs look to have, generally, five to 10 times the muscle and mass of a man, and they use that girth to crush and pound men with enormous metal hammers. Those heavy strikes cave in armor plating and in a few cases appear to take soldiers' heads clean off with their helmets. Humans slash back with swords, and we see orcs impaled and cut. One human battler, for instance, slides between the legs of his much larger foe, raking his sword up across the creature's crotch and them jumping up to stab it in the back. Men also use gun-like "boomsticks" to kill their foes. (We see an orc's hand get blown off.) A young soldier is impaled and thrown a good 10 feet.

A horse is picked up and thrown at a group of men. A giant wolf chomps down on a man's head. A golem crashes down on a man, crushing him beneath its weight. A baby is either grievously hurt or stillborn while his mother writhes in agony.

More disturbing than the boisterous battles is the torturous effect of Fel as Gul'dan uses it to suck out the life of his victims. In one case we see him repeatedly go back to one poor soul, slowly and painfully wringing out the man's life until he falls over, a hollowed husk.

Crude or Profane Language


Drug and Alcohol Content

Lothar gulps down a goblet of wine.

Other Negative Elements

A person of power lies and deceives those he pledges to protect.


In the vast online realms of video games, one encounters a whole lot of trolls. Not the mythical guardians of bridges, but guys or gals who really enjoy sowing discord and goading people. And if you're a fan of the Warcraft video game franchise, you probably think all of them have now taken jobs as movie reviewers because the general reviewing consensus of this game-based flick has been very far away indeed from two thumbs up.

As a movie reviewer and a game reviewer for Plugged In, I shall for a moment distance myself from that consensus and tell you that this movie depiction of a very popular gaming universe is actually a fairly well-done affair. You don't have to have logged a single minute of online game time to understand what's going on. The CGI-enhanced visuals are impressive. The fantasy-magic tale is action-packed. The good-versus-evil heroics are often cheer-worthy. And you can even find some self-sacrificial spiritual parallels worth their weight in WoW gold.

Sure, it's not The Lord of the Rings, but on the plus side, you won't have to spend three-quarters of a day just working your way to the end credits.

All of that said, however, there is one issue here that's going to hit many an unsuspecting viewer like an orc hammer to the solar plexus. And that's, well, all the orc hammers smashing into solar plexuses. This PG-13 rampage packs quite a violent punch with its bone-pulverizing thumps and sharp-blade hacks. There's not much gore or goo. But just before the camera's eye cuts away, it sure feels like things would get pretty goopy if we stuck around for the aftereffects.

Add in scenes of the foul shaman, Gul'dan, torturing victims with his life-force-draining dark Fel magic, and you've got a film that does live up to its name.

Pro-social Content

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Plot Summary

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Readability Age Range



Travis Fimmel as Anduin Lothar; Paula Patton as Garona; Ben Foster as Medivh; Toby Kebbel as Durotan; Ben Schnetzer as Khadgar; Daniel Wu as Gul'dan; Dominic Cooper as Llane Wrynn


Duncan Jones ( Source Code)


Universal Pictures



Record Label



In Theaters

June 10, 2016

On Video

September 27, 2016

Year Published



Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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