Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Warcraft Movie Poster Image
Violent, boring, badly told video game-based fantasy.
  • PG-13
  • 2016
  • 123 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 14 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

At first it seems as if the movie advocates opposing forces working together for the greater good, but this idea is dropped, to be replaced by the message that violence is necessary to attain peace. The concept of "honor" is valued above teamwork or peace, but this is ill-defined.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The film features a strong female character, but she functions more as a symbol than anything; she's mostly just convenient for the plot. And she decides to commit an act of violence to achieve peace, which doesn't make much sense. Other warriors exhibit bravery, but they're so thinly sketched that the focus is more on action than their courageousness.


Fantasy battle sequences include bashing with giant hammers, stabbing with swords, and slicing with knives. Skulls are crushed, necks snapped. Primitive guns and shooting. Some battle wounds, but not much blood is shown. Characters die. Some scary scenes/characters (monsters, a bad guy sucking the life force from a human, etc.). Gruesome dead body. Horse smashed up against a tree. A (fake, CGI) baby in peril.


Flirting, near-kissing. A woman wears a skimpy outfit.


At least one use of "hell."


Nothing in the movie itself, but it's tied to the hugely popular video game franchise, which has lots of associated merchandise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Warcraft is a sci-fi/fantasy adventure based on the hit video game franchise, and teens are very likely going to want to see it. The biggest issue is violence, which is frequent and strong, with lots of visual effects, fighting, and killing. Characters are stabbed with swords, shot with primitive guns, and bashed with giant hammers. There are quick images of skulls being smashed and necks snapped and a horse smashing up against a tree, as well as some scary images (monsters, a bad guy sucking the life from humans, etc.) and a digital orc baby in peril. Characters die, but not much blood is shown. Expect a bit of flirting and a woman in a skimpy outfit; while the movie does feature a capable female character, she -- like the rest of the characters -- isn't very fleshed out and seems there solely to serve the plot.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJesuslover29 June 17, 2016

Fine for preteens

I was originally skeptical to the idea of sending my 12 year old son with my 14 year old to see this given the rumors of this game being addictive. I went to se... Continue reading
Adult Written byCountrylife71 July 4, 2018

Light on plot but action packed and thrilling for fantasy loving kids

I enjoyed watching this with my boys who were aged 10, 13 and 14 at the time. They all enjoyed watching LOTR, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Narnia, Hunger Games... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byKenna2988 June 14, 2016

I love the game, and love this movie!!

This movie is spectacular! I am a huge Warcraft fan, and this movie was great. Khadgar is a great role model, and it teaches the importance of sticking together... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bytsundere.goals June 28, 2016


I'm a huge fan of the game, World of Warcraft, and I think that this movie was really good! There were really good special effects and I think it portrayed... Continue reading

What's the story?

In WARCRAFT, the land where the orcs live is dying, but they can survive by traveling through a glowing green portal to a human-inhabited world. As the orcs begin to take over, the king (Dominic Cooper), his best warrior (Travis Fimmel), and a young mage (Ben Schnetzer) try to stop them. They summon their protector, the wizard-like "Guardian" (Ben Foster), and they also meet a kind of half-orc, half-human refugee, Garona (Paula Patton). Meanwhile, the benevolent, noble orc Durotan (Toby Kebbell) decides to try to team up with the humans to stop their cruel leader, who's using dark, evil magic to stay in power. Everything leads up to a final battle, wherein the portal could be opened again, and all will be lost.

Is it any good?

Disinterested, disengaged storytelling, stale dialogue, and an overuse of familiar visual effects add up to a forgettable big-screen rendition of the beloved video game. Even fans will find this dull. Most of Warcraft is likely to make you think of other, more successful movies -- Avatar frequently comes to mind -- or else makes you wonder what the heck is actually going on. Story elements are either dropped, ignored, or forgotten, and eventually viewers are left either confused or bored.

The movie seems to want to be about teamwork and striving for peace, but, as it ends, it seems to promise only more war. Characters are extremely thinly drawn (it will be difficult for non-fans to even remember their names), and their emotional interactions are mainly dialogue-based (i.e. they explain their relationships to one another). There's no feeling here. It's a shame, since director Duncan Jones' previous two movies (Moon and Source Code) were so smart, and Warcraft is just the opposite.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Warcraft's violence. How intense is it? Does the relative lack of blood make it feel any less brutal? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • What's the appeal of movies based on video games? How well does this one work compared to the game?

  • What's the movie's message? Is teamwork valued? Is peace valued? How does war affect the characters?

  • Is Garona character a role model? Why or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and action

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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