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Warcraft posterLet me start with a confession: I am not a gamer and when I initially heard about a film being based on yet another game, I mentally added it to the list of “Don’t Bother”. So, no-one is more surprised than me at just how much I loved Warcraft: The Beginning.

Even if you have never played the game, you have probably heard of The World of Warcraft, a popular game involving battles between humans and the Orcs. Warcraft is BIG, dramatic, intense and, like other fantasy films before it, very human.

At the heart of every good war story is one about man’s (or beast’s) search for a safe haven for his or her family, protection of their own clan and survival for the future. The Warcraft origin story goes something like this: the Orcs’ world is being destroyed, and in order to survive, they move through a portal to the human world, Azeroth. Durotan (Toby Kebbell), a clan Chief, is a father-to-be and prefers peace to war. He wants a future for his newborn son and is supported by a loyal second-in-command, Orgrim (Robert Kazinsky).

The Orcs’ arrival doesn’t come unnoticed by the humans, under the rule of King Llane (Dominic Cooper) and he calls on the help of wizard, Medivh (Ben Foster), to help his warriors, led by the King’s brother-in-law, Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel). Young apprentice wizard Khadgar (Ben Schnetzer) uncovers the way to beat the Orcs and quickly joins the fight.

Meanwhile, Garona (Paula Patton), herself a capable warrior and happen to be half-human/half-Orc, is captured by the humans and acts as an interpreter for Lothar and the King who want to negotiate with Durotan but is stopped by Gul’dan (Daniel Wu), the leader of all the Orcs. Without delving into spoiler territory, epic battles ensue (I mean, this is a story called Warcraft for a reason).

I was absolutely captivated by the performances of the cast. Despite the ridiculousness of the giant Orcs with their pointy ears and tusks, the artists who created the action have delivered a piece of cinematography that made me soon forget the actors behind the motion-capture suits are wearing grey tights with dots on their faces in front of green screens. Fimmel looks as at home fighting the Orcs as he does on his hit television show, Vikings.

Directed by Dunan Jones, Warcraft opened in Australia on June 16 and will soon be available on DVD/Blu-ray.