Australian Council on Children and the Media

Warcraft: The beginning

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Not recommended under 15 due to frequent violence, and disturbing scenes and characters.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Warcraft: The beginning
  • a review of Warcraft: The beginning completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 21 June 2016.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not recommended due to frequent violence and disturbing scenes and characters
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Warcraft: The beginning
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Fantasy violence
Length 123 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Durotan (Tobey Kebbell), orc chieftain of the Frostwolf clan, and his heavily pregnant partner Draka (Anna Galvin) want to escape from their dying world to a better life on the human world of Azeroth. The orc clans come together to form the Horde and the evil orc warlock Gul’dan (Daniel Wu) intends to uses an evil and dangerous magic to open a gateway that will allow the invading orcs to pour through to Azeroth.

Meanwhile in the kingdom of Stormwind, King Liane (Dominic Cooper) orders Commander Lothar (Travis Fimmel) and Khadger (Ben Schnetzer) to summon the Guardian Medivh (Ben Foster). Medivh goes with Lothar and Khadger on a mission to capture an orc to interrogate.

Lothar manages to capture a half orc/half human woman named Garona (Paula Patton) and he and the King gain Garona’s confidence. They learn that the orcs are capturing human prisoners whom they intend to use as fuel to power the magic required to open the gateway to Azeroth.

Garona leads Lothar and Medivh to the orc encampment to investigate the gateway. While spying on the orc encampment, Garona is approached by Durotan who requests a meeting with King Liane. At the meeting Durotan tells King Liane that the fate that befell the orc world will also happen to Azeroth if they do not stop Gul’dan.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

War; alien invasion; the supernatural; death of a planet

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains extended sequences of intense fantasy violence (frequently brutal), some gun related violence and some images depicting blood and gore. Examples include:

  • In the film’s opening scene a giant orc crushes and kills a knight with a blow of his war hammer
  • The human and orc armies charge towards each other, coming together in a clash of bodies and armour. Orc warriors raise their gigantic war hammers into the air and then crash them down onto soldiers. In one scene a soldier is crushed and blood and gore spatter in all directions. Soldiers and their horses are impaled on pikes and picked up and hurled through the air. Orcs are stabbed and slashed with swords, causing blood to spatter. An orc has much of his hand shot off, and cries out in pain.    
  • One brutal scene depicts an orc chained to the floor of a wagon. The orc break his chains and threatens a second prisoner, at which point a soldier stabs the orc with a sword through the top of his shoulder and down into his chest; we hear the sound of flesh being stabbed by a sword.     
  • Garona tell how her mother was burnt alive for giving birth to her.
  • One scene depicts images of the mass destruction of buildings and countryside resulting from war. There are apocalyptic images of burnt and ruined land and castles on fire with towers and walls collapsing to the ground.
  • In one of the film’s more brutal scenes, a teenage warrior stabs an orc in the stomach and slashes another across the throat, before a third orc with a massive clawed hand impales the young warrior through his stomach. He lifts him up and throws him through the air as the young warrior’s father looks on in horror. The young soldier’s dead body lies on the ground with his eyes open and blood trickling out of his mouth.   
  • A female orc warrior viciously jumps on top of a male warrior, biting his neck, wrestling him to the ground, and not releasing her bite until he is dead. When she gets up she has blood and gore covering her mouth and there is a large sword protruding from her stomach.  She collapses and dies with blood dripping from her mouth and fangs.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are many scenes and characters likely to scare or disturb children under eight, including the following:

  • The orcs are very scary giant humanoid creatures. They have green or yellow skin, large pointy ears, low foreheads and boar-like tusks protruding from their lower jaws. They have gruff threatening voices and carry a variety of large medieval weapons. They wear all manner of animal bones and animal skeletons as adornments to their clothing, armour and helmets.
  • One man has bright blue glowing eyes and hands.
  • A heavily pregnant orc woman passes through a portal and emerges underwater where she clutches her stomach and goes into convulsive contractions. She emerges from the water and crawls onto land where she kneels on hands and knees and screams out. An orc warlock walks up behind the pregnant woman, reaches down and tells the screaming woman to push, then holds up the lifeless body of a baby. While holding the dead baby, the warlock reaches out with his free hand and sucks the life force from a deer standing nearby.  A green light flows from the deer into the warlock’s hand, out of the warlock’s mouth and into the dead baby which comes to life.
  • One scene depicts a dead man’s body lying on the ground with his eyes open and a trickle of blood running down the side of his mouth. A second man pulls open the dead man’s mouth and a black mist emerges.
  • Several scenes contain images of a griffin, a fantasy creature with the body of a lion and the head, beak and wings of an eagle.
  • The orcs ride on giant sized wolves with snapping jaws which attack soldiers and their horses.
  • A human wizard utters a spell and causes white light to engulf orc warriors who writhe on the ground and scream in pain as their bodies disintegrate.    
  • A wizard transforms into a demonic creature complete with four large horns protruding from its head.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by many of the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by many of the above-mentioned scenes.

Product placement

Nothing in the film, but the film is associated with the Warcraft video games.

Sexual references

The film contains occasional low-level sexual references, including:

  • A half orc/half human woman tells a man that another man wishes to lie with her and that he would be injured if he lay with her and would not be an effective mate. She then states that she does not know how humans survive with such brittle bones and no muscles. When asked how she survived such things (with the orcs) she states that broken bones heal stronger and she has very strong bones.   

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • several images of the naked stomach of a pregnant female orc and her orc partner massaging her pregnant stomach.
  • women dressed in revealing clothing
  • some kissing

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • An orc woman is given a drink to “warm her up”. She takes a tentative sip and then gulps the drink down.
  • A man who has just witnessed the death of his son sits at a table holding a mug and then drinks the content

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, mainly insults, including:

  • “bloody guardian”; “dung heap”; “may your balls rot”; “fathead”; “runt”; “traitor”; “half-breed”

In a nutshell

Warcraft: The beginning is an action fantasy film based on the popular video game and targeting teenage and adult fans of the game. While the film contains some positive messages, with diverse groups working together for the common good, it also has conflicting messages, as these same two groups will forever be at war with each other and violence is shown as being necessary to maintain peace.

The film deserves its M rating. There is frequent brutal violence and many disturbing scenes and characters, so it is not recommended for viewers under 15.

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