I woke this morning with a comparison in my head generated from two vastly different genres—two stories about war done in film—War and Peace and Warcraft, which I’d never heard of until its recent release. War and Peace I read too young to fully understand its layers. I was probably twelve and too invested in Natasha. Both works have a great deal in common. (Don’t go fainting on me now, you lovers of classics.) Both are tales about family, responsibility and honor, how we respond to these on personal and national levels, which pretty much boils it down the basics.
The War and Peace series with Lily James, Paul Dano and James Norton wrestled Tolstoy’s massive work into submission. Previous film versions could not do it justice due to the scope of the story. Production work was, without exaggeration, extremely well done.
Warcraft was the surprise. The graphics were superior to Gods of Egypt, which was visually beautiful in the forefront but criminally childish in the backgrounds. If you’re going to do a flick like that, do it right. No, what impressed the heck out of me was Warcraft’s screenplay/script. Action films are just that, a lot a smashing up and intense movement meant to keep the viewer revved up. The Warcraft action was on a level above the usual action fare with subplots, in-depth characterizations, admirable reasoning, pacing and structure.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not in any way glorifying war. I think the term “necessary evil” is a feeble excuse for lack of nothing better to say. In Warcraft, Durotan fights to save and protect his people, his family, a drive beyond that of honor. He exemplifies the true meaning of sacrifice.
So now we’re down to the comparisons in my head. To paraphrase what Frank Langella said last night on the Tony Awards, strife will either define, destroy or strengthen us.
Both films deal with war and how the characters are carried along in its futile wake, doing what must be done. Natasha, Pierre and Prince Andre in War and Peace, Durotan, Anduin and Garona in Warcraft, these are individuals to admire even when war itself is not. What I found in both renditions, and from recent events, was validation for an opinion.
There is no comparison, whether fictionalized or not, to the sleazy cowardice of ISIS and its followers. They are pathetic and inferior. What they and terrorism perpetrate is valueless and in the end will come to nothing. History has shown that no matter how a people of courage and resolution are brutalized, in the end, it only makes them stronger. Gulags, death camps and rendition holes will pass away. Valor will not.