Let’s be blunt, there have been very few good movies based on video games, even though countless studios have tried to exploit their popularity. Video games inherently have vast and imaginative worlds, designs, and characters, and their universes seem ripe to be translated in epic form in the world of cinema. But more often than not these movies lean on their spectacular milieus and fail to deliver a compelling screenplay to go along with it.
This could all change soon as a rash of young filmmakers and actors are spearheading their own productions. Michael Fassbender is leading the charge of “Assassin’s Creed” (which will co-star Marion Cotillard), Tom Hardy is doing the same with “Splinter Cell,” “Kings Of Summer” filmmaker Jordan Vogt-Roberts is attached to “Metal Gear Solid,” and next summer, one of the biggest game adaptations will hit screens with a cinematic version of “World Of Warcraft.”
Directed by Duncan Jones (“Source Code,” “Moon”), and titled simply “Warcraft,” Universal and Legendary Pictures are putting a lot of muscle behind what they call a “3D epic adventure of world-colliding conflict.” Based on Blizzard Entertainment’s globally-renowned video game universe, “Warcraft” has been going on for more than ten years, so summarizing the expansive story and history is next to impossible. But this world is a essentially a kitchen-sink like high fantasy adventure series with sci-fi elements that mashes up all kinds of monsters and races next to space ships, dragons, and futuristic technology. Its features orcs, humans, werewolves, vampires, golems, trolls, the undead, dwarves, gnomes, high elves, etc. all fighting for dominance in a future that’s maybe a cross between “Lord Of The Rings” and “Star Trek” (or something like that).
“Warcraft” centers on the origin story of the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs, with an emphasis upon the conflict between the Alliance and the Horde. The cast isn’t very starry, but given that half the actors will either play mo-cap monsters or be covered in lots of make-up, it arguably doesn’t matter so much; this film is likely about the spectacle and creative world building. Nevertheless, “Warcraft” stars Travis Fimmel, Ben Foster, Paula Patton, Ben Schnetzer, Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Toby Kebbell, Robert Kazinsky, Clancy Brown, Anna Galvin, and Daniel Wu.
Once set to open this December (perhaps a little too close to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” for comfort), “Warcraft” moved to March 2016 and then finally summer of next year. That may feel like a lot of release date changes, but post-production and VFX on a film like this must be intense, and with a prime June 10, 2016, summer release date, Universal and Legendary probably feel pretty confident about their product. The first teaser trailer for the film has arrived and you can watch it below.