Warcraft (alternatively known as Warcraft: The Beginning) is a 2016 American action-fantasy film directed by Duncan Jones and written by Jones, Charles Leavitt and Chris Metzen. It is based on the Warcraft video game series and novels set in the world of Azeroth. The film stars Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky and Daniel Wu. The film portrays the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs and takes place in a variety of locations established in the video game series. The film was first announced in 2006 as a project partnership between Legendary Pictures and the game’s developer, Blizzard Entertainment.
Warcraft premiered in Paris on May 24, 2016, and was released by Universal Pictures in the United States on June 10, 2016. Despite receiving negative reviews from critics and a disappointing domestic box office performance, the film has grossed $433 million worldwide, surpassing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time as the highest-grossing video game adaptation of all time,although it was still considered a financial disappointment.
Draenor, the homeworld of the orcs, is being torn apart by a mysterious force known as fel magic. Gul’dan, a powerful orc warlock, unites the orc clans and forms the Horde, and creates a portal to the world of Azeroth. The orcs begin to use fel magic to drain the life out of captive draenei in order to sustain the portal. Once it is operational, Gul’dan leads a small warband to capture prisoners on Azeroth and sacrifice them to bring the rest of the Horde through the portal. Despite their doubts, Durotan, the chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan, his pregnant mate Draka, and his friend Orgrim Doomhammer join this initial warband. While crossing through the portal, Draka goes into labor. When the orcs arrive on Azeroth, Gul’dan assists Draka with giving birth, but the baby is stillborn. Gul’dan then drains the life out of a nearby deer to revive and infuse fel magic into the baby, which Durotan later names Go’el.
The orcs raid several settlements throughout Azeroth. Anduin Lothar, the military commander of the human forces in the Stormwind Kingdom, looks over some of the men that were killed, and finds a trespassing mage named Khadgar, who explains that he was investigating the dead bodies because they contained traces of fel magic. Khadgar persuades Stormwind’s king, Llane Wrynn, to consult Medivh, the renowned Guardian of Tirisfal, and Llane sends Anduin and Khadgar to Medivh’s stronghold, Karazhan, to inform him of the fel magic’s presence on Azeroth. In the Karazhan library, a ghostly shadow leads Khadgar to a mysterious book, which he takes.
Anduin, Khadgar and Medivh join a scouting team following traces of fel magic, but are ambushed by orcs. Medivh uses a spell to kill the fel-corrupted orcs, leaving the Horde’s warchief, Blackhand to flee along with Durotan and Orgrim. Khadgar restrains a half-orc slave, Garona, and the soldiers take her prisoner. King Llane frees Garona in exchange for loyalty to Stormwind, and she leads the humans to spy on the orc camp, where they learn of Gul’dan’s plan to bring the Horde to Azeroth. Meanwhile, Durotan realizes that the fel magic is responsible for the destruction of Draenor, and if Gul’dan is not thwarted, Azeroth will suffer the same fate. Despite Orgrim’s objections, Durotan invites Llane to a secret meeting so that the Frostwolf Clan and the humans can unite to defeat Gul’dan. While studying the book he took from Karazhan, Khadgar learns that Gul’dan could not have opened the portal on his own; he had help from someone on Azeroth. He is confronted by Medivh, who burns Khadgar’s research when Khadgar offers to help him with his work.
The Frostwolf Clan meets with the humans to negotiate an alliance, but the group is ambushed by Blackhand. As the humans retreat, Medivh forms a magical barrier to protect them, but Lothar’s son Callan is separated from the rest of the group and killed by Blackhand. Medivh is severely weakened, and Garona and Khadgar take him back to Karazhan to recover. After noticing Medivh’s eyes shine green, showing that he is infected by fel magic, Khadgar returns to his former home, Dalaran, to seek help from the Kirin Tor, the authority of human and high elven mages. The Kirin Tor facilitate a meeting with Alodi, revealed to be the shadow who led Khadgar to the book; she confirms that Medivh has indeed been corrupted by fel magic and possessed by an unknown demon. At the orc camp, Blackhand purges the Frostwolf Clan. Orgrim helps Draka to escape, and she sends Go’el down a river in a basket, but is then found and killed by another orc. Durotan challenges Gul’dan to Mak’gora, a traditional orcish duel to the death for leadership of a clan – in this case, all of the orcs. During the fight, Gul’dan violates the honorable combat rules by draining the life out of Durotan with his magic, killing him and earning the disapproval of the orcs watching, and he empowers Blackhand with the same magic. Medivh, now in a half-demonic state, starts to open the portal to Draenor, and Gul’dan begins sacrificing the captured human villagers to allow the rest of the Horde to enter Azeroth.
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