Captain America: Civil War looks to be the film that has officially kicked off the 2016 summer movie season. Sequels, just like the previously mentioned Marvel flick, will dominate the next few months. People are anticipating such follow-ups as X-Men: Apocalypse, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, The Conjuring 2, Now You See Me 2, Finding Dory, Independence Day: Resurgence, The Purge: Election Year, Ghostbusters, Star Trek Beyond, Ice Age: Collision Course, and Jason Bourne. But the film coming out this June has been a long time coming for gamers… Warcraft.
The video game adaptation from Legendary Picture is something PC gamers have craved for years. Seeing the fantasy realm of Azeroth on the big screen, obviously with the help of CGI, could possibly compare or compete with epics such as Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit trilogy if done right. Apparently with all the time available to create this mystical land inhabited by orcs, wizards, mages, and warriors, and the likely massive budget to achieve the look required for a film with subject matter such as this, the studio looks like they may come up short financially.
Early reviews are in for Warcraft ahead of its June 10 release and, from what critics are saying, the movie may not have to wide appeal the studio was hoping for. Despite the reaction from the press who have seen Warcraft, the early reviews so far are few. Rotten Tomatoes has a reported 5 reviews (2 positive and 3 negative) resulting in a 40% score. IMDB.com, however, has amassed a significantly larger number of reviews and is currently rated at an 8.8 out of 10. So what we may have here is something that has been showing up more frequently lately: critics not liking a geek/nerd/fanboy/pop culture film, yet those familiar with the property give higher marks.
You can see the reviews from major sources below…
“Critics throw the term “soulless corporate filmmaking” around with abandon, but movies like Warcraft really manage to redefine the term. A film adaptation of the hugely popular [MMORPG], this latest video game adaptation ranks near the bottom of the deadly genre. Imagine Battlefield Earth without the verve, or the unintentional comedy, and you’ve got Warcraft. With his first two films, Duncan Jones took high-concept science-fiction stories and spun them into taut tales that never lost sight of their characters or the toll of the extraordinary circumstances in which they’d been placed. This time around, sharing screenplay credit with Charles Leavitt (In the Heart of the Sea) – based on story and characters by Chris Metzen – he’s trying to wrestle with too many characters and locations and motivations and subplots, all in a movie that’s clearly intended to be but the first of many.”
“With little concern for all those already perplexed at the mention of orcs and mages, Warcraft plunges headfirst into a fantasy realm teeming with mythical creatures, magical spells and exotically named characters and locations. It’s a take-it-or-leave-it approach likely to have most audience members opting for the latter, though devotees of the immersive role-playing source material may have an entirely different experience… That’s despite the noble effort of director Duncan Jones, [who] labors mightily here to craft a solid emotional foundation in his script with Charles Leavitt. The Warcraft games… were never meant to have the narrative depth of The Lord of the Rings, or even Game of Thrones. But the film cribs freely from both of those sources anyway, as well as Star Wars, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Avatar and numerous other recent blockbusters.”
“The orcs, wizards and warriors of Warcraft clomp determinedly onto the big screen in Legendary Pictures’ live-action take on the 20-year-old video game series. The result is a 3D sword-and-sorcery adventure whose CG-heavy look and cartoonish action should work for gamers and hardcore genre fans, even if the flat-footed drama may put off mainstream audiences and limits the chances of the property – already turned into novels and comic books – becoming a long-running movie franchise.”
The Hollywood Reporter:
“[If] you’ve never played Warcraft the game, can you care about Warcraft the movie? Given the ardent global following of the franchise, will it matter? For non-aficionados, the two-hour experience could be more concise, but it’s no ordeal. Neither, though, is it consistently involving. If you haven’t already invested in the self-serious mythology, it can feel borderline camp, if not downright dull – or both… Yet there’s no question that it’s a breakthrough in both storytelling and artistry for features based on video games. And compared with another medieval-ish tale, the soporific Hobbit trilogy, this international production is a fleet and nimble ride, likely to conquer overseas box offices and make a solid stand stateside.
“Calling a film like Warcraft ‘the best video game movie ever made’ might be damning it with faint praise, but faint praise is something that this film deserves. Duncan Jones’ ambitious, colorful foray into the mythology of Azeroth is a noble effort but not the sort of thing that will make you forget about The Lord of the Rings. If anything, it will actively remind you of Willow.”
Ouch! From these advance reviews, the target group for this film appears to be gamers, rather than the wider audience you would expect them to reach. Time will tell, however, and we await its June 10 debut to hear what fans have to say about it. After all, they are the ones who will be filling the seats if it’s a hit or passing on it if it bombs.
Synopsis for Warcraft:
The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people, and their home.
Warcraft, the fantasy adventure film spawned from the hit video game, stars Travis Fimmel, Dominic Cooper, Ben Foster, Paula Patton, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky, Daniel Wu and Ruth Negga. The movie is directed by Duncan Jones and co-written with Charles Leavitt. Warcraft will face off against two sequels being released on June 10 as well: The Conjuring 2 and Now You See Me 2.