Rugged Reviews

What the Warcraft movie will NOT be

by Ouroboros on November 10, 2015
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It’s not great, it’s not bad either, and considering I’ve been a hugemongous Blizzard games fan since around the times of The Lost Vikings, I’ll definitely check it out.

I’m hoping it’s a more actiony version of Lord of the Rings, with more magic, less talking, and considerably less walking.

What the Warcraft movie will NOT be

After a crap-load of years of mostly rumors, and then some announcements relating to casting, this year’s Blizzcon revealed the first trailer for the very long-awaited – and one might say, highly demanded – Warcraft movie.

But will the Warcraft movie do to game-inspired movies what Blade did for comic book-inspired movies?

Let me be clear from the onset, and I think this needs to be said very loudly and clear, this is what the Warcraft movie is NOT going to be.

What the Warcraft movie will NOT be

The Warcraft movie isn’t going to be some epic story akin to Lawrence of Arabia, it won’t delve deep into the duality of man, nor will it make one reflect upon the relationship between human civilizations and warfare throughout history.

The Warcraft movie will be about a crap-ton of CGI things, interacting with a bunch of partly CGI other things, set in a high-fantasy world, that a lot of us, gamer-like people, have a very deep relationship with. And, to be honest, it doesn’t have to be anything more than that, as long as it fulfills a couple of requirements.

Blizzard fans have been asking of Blizzard to expand the size and scope of their game intro cinematics for about as long as World of Warcraft has been around, but the seeds of great cinematic potential have been around ever since the cinematic cut-scenes from Warcraft 3, and even more-so from the Frozen Throne expansion.

The game-development company never did that, although they continued to create increasingly gorgeous looking cinematics for all of their games, following the launch of vanilla WoW. This only made the Blizzfans more vocal about wanting a Warcraft feature, until eventually, and finally, after many years of rumors, it became a sure thing.

And now we have the first trailer for the movie that will launch in June of 2016.

So what are those requirements that the Warcraft movie has to meet?

What the movie absolutely has to deliver on is on the look and on the atmosphere. I know this might sound weird coming from a movie reviewer who puts a lot emphasis on story and scripting, but I also put a lot of emphasis on being entertained. And I have to break it to you, and movie snobs in general, but the two aren’t necessarily dependent on each other.

The Warcraft movie has to look right

Wacraft movie - Karazhan

When I say it has to look right, I’m not talking about frame composition, transitions and lighting, those are as relevant and important as they are to any feature, no. I mean that the world, characters and objects that populate the movie have to look genuine to the very well-trained eye of the Warcraft fan. Trust me when I say, that is a very nitpicky bunch of people to satisfy.

Does the trailer deliver on this?

warcraft-movie-costumes

As far as I’m concerned, pretty much. The armor, costumes and props – the physical ones – look as I imagine they would. Not a big fan of the beards the humans are sporting though, they look a wee bit fake, at least in the trailer. Not saying this is a problem, but it remains to be seen if there are other things that look fakey in the movie, and if they are sufficient to pull me out of it.

warcraft-movie-orcs

The orcs look great, there was no way that they were going physical effects with the orcs, but thankfully the technology has reached the point where they can create some pretty credible CG constructs. It helps that the orcs are only humanoid and not actual humans, this means that they can stay outside the Uncanny Valley and we can accept them as fantastical beings.

What about the Azeroth atmosphere?

Warcraft players, and I’m talking both about the stand-alone titles and the MMO, have spent an insane amount of cumulative hours in Azeroth. They’ve learned by heart the street system of the various cities, memorized a crap-load of weird names for characters and places, they have their favorite hangout spots around in the world, they know how things look and sound in Azeroth.

And as far as the trailer is concerned, things do seem to look and, more importantly, sound, as they do in Azeroth. The orcs sound like orcs – even though we haven’t heard them say “zug, zug” yet, I sure hope we get to hear that. Also, towards the end of the trailer you can hear the same sound that you hear when clicking the button to enter the World of Warcraft.

The trailer drops quite a few moments where we see The Dark Portal being built, not to mention a very green explosion, color which is usually associated with demons, especially the Burning Legion.

warcraft-movie-alliance

During some of the scenes in the human kingdom we can see very quick glimpses of Elves and Dwarves, thus setting the stage for the Alliance between the three – Humans, Elves and Dwarves – which is formed, at a certain point, to fight the orc invasion.

What’s my conclusion about the Warcraft trailer?

It’s not great, it’s not bad either, and considering I’ve been a hugemongous Blizzard games fan since around the times of The Lost Vikings, I’ll definitely check it out.

And since I talked about what the Warcraft movie isn’t and what it is like, what do I hope from it?

I’m hoping it’s a more actiony version of Lord of the Rings, with more magic, less talking, and considerably less walking.

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