Warcraft (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Warcraft 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray ReviewWarcraft is a fantasy adventure film that I can honestly say I know next to nothing about going into this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review.  Many years ago, in another life, I remember my co-worker talking about the Blizzard video game of the same name.  He passionately spoke about it pretty much every day.  I honestly had no idea what he was talking about, but I humored him nonetheless in pretending that I cared and was paying attention.  I’m nice like that.  Now let’s fast forward to 2016 and all I knew from watching the Universal trailers of Warcraft was that it should look really cool on the big screen or in 4K being the case here.  However, I could also see it sucking really hard too.  What a great way to start a review here, huh?  Not really!  Ha ha.

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Despite receiving many negative reviews (like Aaron’s here) from critics (with the exception of Ken’s here) and a poor U.S. box office performance, Warcraft managed to gross $433 million worldwide.  It surpassed Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time as the highest-grossing video game adaptation of all time.  However, despite all of these achievements, Warcraft is still considered a financial disappointment.  It’s funny how that all works out, eh?  Universal must have done some expensive marketing on top of the 160 million dollar budget, but I digress.  Let’s chat about the basics here before dissecting the film and the reasons why it’s so bad.

Warcraft is directed and partly written by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code).  I’d be lying if I told you I knew this to be factually true, but it’s based on the 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.  In Warcraft Humankind faces extinction at the hands of a brutal enemy as the film portrays the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs.  It supposedly takes place in a variety of locations established in the video game series.  Having never played the video game myself, I can neither confirm or deny that statement.  I just roll with the info I receive via the Internet.

Before we move onto what I thought everything here I want to briefly discuss what goes down in Warcraft.  The peaceful realm of Azeroth (think Medieval Earth) stands on the brink of war.  Its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize theirs.  As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction.  From opposing sides, an unlikely group of heroes is set on a collision course that will ultimately decide the fate of their families, their people and their home.  It’s orcs versus orcs versus humans versus humans or as I like to call it simply blue versus green.  The latter will make sense once you’ve partaken in a viewing of Warcraft.

Make no mistake, I kind of knew going into this one to set my expectations really low.  Not only did friends and peers tell me this, but come on and admit it.  Those trailers for Warcraft weren’t all that captivating, were they?  I think not!  What it all came down to for me was how awesome is this going to look in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.  No really!  I was thinking that far ahead even when this film was still playing theatrically.  I was really interested to see how seamless the blend of live action and visual effects would be in this one as presented in 4K.

Needless to say Warcraft impressed me.  Sure it’s a technical and marvel achievement in the world of filmmaking, but the story wasn’t half bad either.  Sadly though, it’s set up to be something more than just a standalone film.  With that being said and the critical reception of it, I don’t know what the future of the franchise is on the big screen.  However, for what it was, I was mildly entertained throughout.  I managed to stay invested in it and didn’t look at my phone once.  Score!  It’s definitely better than what I sat through in The Huntsman: Winter’s War.  That much is for sure!

What I liked most about Warcraft was that it is a war movie that allows the audience to emphasize with both sides.  After all, not everybody is a villain, right?  If Star Wars taught us one thing all these years, then that’s a universal fact.  Next, being the ski-fi geek I am I loved the fantasy of the Warcraft world.  However, even more important than just the mere fantasy I loved the complexity of it all too.  This could have been such a big, bloated, dumb film, but there’s actually some heart and moral complications sprinkled throughout.  You got to admire those factions, no?

Not counting the special effects, which were seamless by the way, I want to talk about the performances.  Here’s another aspect of the film that could have completely bombed, but thanks to some really good performances the ridiculous story adapts well to the big screen.  The acting performances were genuine and sincere.  They were not silly and unbelievable like Rob Zombie’s 31 that I just watched yesterday.  Travis Fimmel impressed me with his leading man charisma.  Ben Foster knocked it out of the park as the Guardian.  Paula Patton looks ridiculous, but you can see her determination and passion for the project.  Plus she’s still sexy even with those big tusks, am I right?    Dominic Cooper is unmistakable and larger-than-life as usual.  I love seeing him in anything.  Basically all around, it just seems like every one showed up despite the lunacy of it all, the complete opposite of say Bruce Willis in a low budget film nowadays.

So needless to say I think we all know what we’re getting into bed with here in Warcraft.  The real question is how does this beast look and sound on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.  Now we’re talking and I have a feeling it’s the real reason we’re all here today.  So without further ado I present to you the 4K Ultra HD’s disc vitals.

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The below video score and relative comments about it all are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Warcraft.  I have skimmed through the regular 1080p Blu-ray presentation too for the sake of comparison and it all looks equally impressive.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Layers: BD-66
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Clarity/Detail: The clarity and level of detail throughout here is just mind blowing.  Let’s tackle the CG of the Orcs first.  You wouldn’t normally hear me say this, but they look remarkable in this real world environment.  The textures on their skin, scars, hair, etc. are all marvels to behold.  In other words, the special effects look simply gorgeous and I can honestly say save for a few moments they all blend in seamlessly with their real life counterparts, sets and humans alike.  Then there’s the real world to contend with and I’m happy to report the level of intricacy doesn’t stop with the Orcs.  Oh no!  Every texture is rendered practically flawlessly from the smallest stitch in fabric to the chiseled rock in castle walls.
  • Depth: Everything is about the scale here.  And I’m pleased to report that scale is huge!  Along with the three-dimensional, eye-popping visuals, the environments are big, vast and go on forever here.  There’s literally too much to even discuss as we embark on climbing endless tower steps, traverse through the forest or even scale the tallest of mountains.  Depth is everywhere you look in this presentation.  Savor it!
  • Black Levels: The black levels on Warcraft 4K Blu-ray were outstanding.  At all times they were all deep, inky and pronounced throughout.  There was even a sequence much like the ones I love in Under the Skin where our onscreen character finds himself in a dreamlike, pitch-black surrounding.  It was absolutely gorgeous to behold.  Bravo!  Nothing is crushed or lost by the dark, shadowy moments of this presentation.
  • Color Reproduction: Here’s where 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray’s HDR gimmick really shines.  The color palette is vast and seemingly limitless.  All environments whether real or CG are rendered lifelike in appearance thanks to the wide color gamut employed throughout here.  The greens of Fel magic and the oranges of flames and fire balls pop with vibrancy and contrast nicely against the deep, inky shadows of their environments.  You have to love it!  This is what 4K dreams are made of!
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones on the humans all look natural, healthy and authentic throughout the film’s runtime.  Humans are a bit softer in complexion than their Orc counterparts, but how many times can you watch a movie like this filled with CG actors and kind of forget that what’s on the screen isn’t part of real life?  That’s a testament to how good the CG looks in this one.
  • Noise/Artifacts: There’s some slight source noise sprinkled throughout, but nothing worth writing home to momma about to complain.  Things just look “out of this world” good here!



Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and judging comments are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Warcraft.  Universal did not skimp in the audio department here.  Both the 4K UHD disc and the regular 1080p Blu-ray come armed with a Dolby Atmos surround track.

  • Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
  • Dynamics: Composer Ramin Diawadi’s sweeps you off your feet in this thrilling presentation as he rivets you in the brutality of war and calms you in the most caressing of moments.  From swords and shields crashing and clanking to gusts of wind blowing and moments of magic swirling all about, directionality and realism is everywhere you perceive to look within this presentation.  Thankfully, prioritization is fundamental and key here.
  • Height: The beautiful part about the Atmos track here in Warcraft is there are a lot things happening above our heads such as the majestic griffins flying by and taking off to lighting on top of the mountains and magic swirling overhead in the Guardian’s tower.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel is where I expected to be pummeled.  Rest assured that does happen, but I wish it was a tad punchier and aggressive.  However, I’m very happy with what I have to work with here because the LFE makes itself known as a force not to be reckoned with.  From tribal drums, footsteps and thuds to all out, heavy-hitting war and perils of magic.  There are way to many clashing moments to make note of here, but rest assured the LFE ferociously lets you know this surround track means war.  I mean after all you have to hypothesize that each of the Orcs typically weigh in around 500 or so pounds.  So every time they take a step the LFE channel faithfully reproduces their hefty bulk.  That’s what I love about a good sound system.  What say you?
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Equally, going hand-in-hand with the LFE channel, are the surrounds that keep you engaged and immersed throughout.  From big gusts of wind and sand, swirling magic and a rousing score to all out destruction, war and chaos you’re a central part of the action here.  The rears, while not always particularly chatty, keep you invested in the fun and brutality of everything happening onscreen.  For me that means I stay awake, attentive and yearning for more.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialog and spoken words, whether Orc or human, were always loud, clear and intelligible throughout for me.  I can’t complain at all here.



All Blu-ray editions of Warcraft include over 90 minutes of bonus content, including deleted scenes, an exclusive stop-motion Warcraft comic and several behind-the-scenes looks at stunts, visual effects, story origins, and more.  Sadly, a commentary track would be very beneficial to us unfamiliar with this video game world, but there’s not one to be found.  This 4K Ultra HD edition of Warcraft includes all bonus features on the Blu-ray disc with the main feature in 1080p.  In addition, since it’s Universal, you will also get a Digital HD code that is redeemable in both iTunes and UltraViolet.  Bonus!

So without further ado, here’s all the extras below that you’ll find on the 1080p Blu-ray disc.  However, before we do go there I did want to make mention the difference between the two discs when you pop them in.  The UHD one obviously is bare bones, but when you pop in the 1080p Blu-ray discs to an Internet connected player you’ll have fresh previews loaded for you, one being a commercial for Universal 4K Blu-rays and advertising the benefit of HDR.  Ironic, huh?  Once you get past all that mumbo jumbo you’re greeted with the famous swish menu we’re all accustomed to from Universal Blu-ray titles.

  • WARCRAFT: Bonds of Brotherhood Motion Comic (HD, 53:47) – Here you can take an interactive journey through the official WARCRAFT graphic novel with a never-before-seen motion comic that brings the story of the film’s young heroes – Prince Llane, Captain Lothar and Guardian Medivh – to life in this unique experience.  This one is obviously for the fans who want more!  There are a total of five chapters in this one.
  • The World of Warcraft on Film – The “World of Warcraft” is much more than just a game – it is a cultural phenomenon as documented in this comprehensive multi-part feature focused on bringing the unique environs of WARCRAFT to film.  Let’s explore these six short featurettes in more detail down below here.
    • Origin Story (HD, 4:54) –  This one takes you all the way to the beginning with the first video game in 1994.  They talk about how the third game started to encompass a story and how things just exploded from there.  This one is also about how the story for the film came to be and how Duncan Jones brought in the missing ingredient.  Duncan infused the importance that the story be told from both sides.  That much I can say was very successful throughout here in this film.  I appreciate it too that they worked so very close with Blizzard.
    • The World of Talent  (HD, 5:35) –  This one is all about the amazing actors who brought these characters to life on the big screen.  Here fans can learn more about the casts’ reactions to being a part of the WARCRAFT film, how they prepared for their role and the challenges they encountered during filming.  It’s kind of cool to hear how the actors were so passionate about their roles instead of just collecting paychecks.
    • The World of VFX (HD, 5:09) –  The WARCRAFT universe wouldn’t exist without the tireless efforts of the VFX crew.  Here fans of the film can follow along with the filmmakers as they tell the story of how WARCRAFT came to life through VFX.  This one is quite impressive because when you see the film the universe is so expansive, but to see how it all was created is a whole other treat in itself.  It’s amazing to me to see how some of the forest scenes were even recreated on a stage.  There’s even digital human soldiers!  Yes!  I said digital human soldiers!  You also get to see how they filmed/created the griffins.  Come on!  Tell me you’re not interested now!
    • Outfitting a World (HD, 6:16) –  Besides the dazzling, seamless special effects probably the single most thing that impressed me the most were the rich costumes employed throughout here.  They made 650 costumes for this film and 70 people worked on them.  Wow!  So here you get the epic chance to learn how the filmmakers worked with WETA workshop, Blizzard and acclaimed costume designer Mayes Rubeo to create the weaponry and armor that must be familiar and otherworldly at the same time, all while creating a unique aesthetic for the film.  They pretty much go over all the major characters here and their respective costumes.
    • The World of MOCAP (HD, 6:50) –  Whenever you see the word “mocap” you know you’re in for a treat.  Here you will get an overview of the creation of the Orcs and other digital characters from inception all the way through to the final execution. Through extensive footage of the actors in their MOCAP suits and live in-camera renderings during production, you will see the incredible effort and detail that went into creating the Orcs.  It’s amazing how far this tech has come now that we can do extreme closeups on CG characters on film and make them look so real.  So in essence, this one’s all about the detail that went into making all these characters as real as “humanly” possible.  I say they succeeded.  What’s your thoughts on the matter?
    • The World of Stunts (HD, 5:06) –  Let’s admit it.  There’s a lot of action in here!  Though much of WARCRAFT was created through extensive VFX, the fight scenes and stunts had to be very real.  In my opinion they had to feel real to give credibility to the subject matter.  In this featurette, you will learn more about all the extensive fight choreography and stunt work that fueled the film’s action from beginning to end.  I always like these kind of extras too because it’s interesting to see the journey the actors may have taken from amateur abilities to developing novice-like warrior qualities.  You picking up what I’m dropping?
  • Madame Tussauds’ Featurette (HD, 7:32) –   This one is a featurette on the making of the WARCRAFT wax figures by Madame Tussauds.  It’s the WARCRAFT Experience there and they are picture perfect.   First they showed an Orc and then Paul Patton’s character and I swore she was real.  There’s also virtuality reality in the experience too.  Nice!  Check out the process and huge amount of effort that went into reproducing all of this.  The clay sculpting in here is amazing to me.
  • WARCRAFT Teaser – 2013 (HD, 2:23) –  Here’s the early teaser which premiered at one of my favorite places in the world, San Diego Comic-Con in 2013.  It’s basically an extended scene from the movie.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 13:57) – At first look, there’s a lot of deleted scenes to partake in here.  There’s also a Play All selectable option here or you can choose one of the following to view: “Duration & Orgrim Petition For Entry,” “Durotan Fights Dark Scar,” “Orcs Discuss Fel At The Campfire,” “Lothar Receives Broomstick At Ironforge,” “Callan & Khadgar Ride To The Lion’s Pride Inn,” “Lothar Briefs Officers Questions Medvih,” “King And Queen Talk On Balcony,” “Meeting Of The Kingdoms,” “The City Prepares For War,” “Lothar Mourns Gerona Comforts Him” and “Antonidas Asks Khadgar To Be The New Guardian.”
  • Gag Reel (HD, 3:25) – The funniest clips in here for me were the MOCAP ones, but I’ll let you be the ultimate judge.  I did not chuckle much here.
  • The Fandom of WARCRAFT (HD, 6:36) –  Here you can delve into the history and breadth of the fandom behind the game and film, as well as the way it has influenced pop culture, friendships, marriages, etc.  I honestly never heard of Blizz Con.  It’s like Comic Con, but for the Blizzard games.  Wow!  I wish I was afforded the time in life to be so passionate about something.  Ha ha.  There’s a lot of cosplay going on in this extra.  Good times
  • ILM: Behind the Magic of WARCRAFT (HD, 2:59) –  Here we have even more VFX goodies to partake in and witness!  You can see some of the groundbreaking facial capture technology utilized by Industrial Lights & Magic to convey the emotion and depth of the visually impressive Orc characters in the film as we look at several sequences in various stages of completion (side-by-side comparisons so to speak).  I love this kind of stuff!



So there you have it folks…the wonderful world of Warcraft.  It wasn’t that bad was it?  At least it received a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release as discussed in detail up above.  So that means if you’re a fan of Warcraft, then you’re in luck.  You get to own and experience all the wonders of the film and the “world of Warcraft” in the finest presentation possible…4K Ultra HD Blu-ray!  Happy, happy, joy, joy!  Right?  Absolutely!  Despite what you may feel about the property or story there’s no denying the technical merits and achievements of this film.  Even better, Universal delivers an outstanding presentation of this property on both the Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD versions of the film here.  That alone has to count for something.  I say whether or not you’re a fan of this lore or just a connoisseur of technical marvels you owe it to yourself to check out Warcraft on the finest home media format possible…4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.  I can’t promise you there will be a sequel, but for now enjoy what you have.  And thank you.  Thanks for doing your part in keeping our world safe from Orc and goblin invaders!  Your service is much appreciated.  Enjoy!


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified A/V gear found here.  Make sure to check out all out 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.


Experience The Fantasy World of Warcraft

In Stunning 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

on September 27th!




Warcraft 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Cover


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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