In my latest column, I’ll be defending movies that were not received well, did lousy at the box office, critically panned, or altogether forgotten about. Most of them will, probably, be fairy tale movies. You’ve been forewarned.
The first film I plan on tackling is one that is still in theaters. You may have heard of Warcraft by now. But you may have not. The current film is directed by Duncan Jones (Moon) and stars Travis Fimmel as Lothar, Paula Patton as Garona, and Ben Foster as Medivh. The budget was an estimated $160M and has since made only $38M back domestically. However, international box office numbers take the total gross to over $308M, making it the most profitable video game film to date. It has received the following ratings:
Why Warcraft is failing (at least in the US)?
Warcraft and it’s numerous successors, including industry giant World of Warcraft have been pinnacle in PC gaming. Over the years, they have transformed gaming into what it is today, creating rich characters, backgrounds, and mythologies as well as stunning visuals. That’s not what American cinema is used to, though. It’s not always looking for a bigger picture, which is just what Warcraft is doing. If Blizzard was interested in making only one film, the story would have been much more concise and linear. Certain characters would have fallen in love while others would have lived to see the end. Since Warcraft is trying to build a cinematic world and not a one-time cinematic experience, they’re thinking of movies 2-6 here instead. American cinema is often short sighted and the universe building doesn’t plan for the future past the next film (Marvel is guilty of this).
That’s not the only reason why the film isn’t doing exactly well, either. While sitting in the movie, I had no idea what was going on. The movie assumes that you either already know the backstory to Warcraft or that you’ll pick it up eventually. For me, it was latter. It took awhile to figure out certain characters or be invested in the plot, but it got me there. I don’t feel like it’s such a stretch if American audiences didn’t immediately cling on to it because of the aforementioned reasons.
Where Warcraft Succeeded
Warcraft is visually stunning if nothing else. The technology used to portray the world of Azeroth is absolutely incredible. At no point does something look “off” or as if they cut corners at any time. Because of this, it’s easy to get sucked in. If you’re not worried about why this effect didn’t match this one from earlier, you’re more willing to grab on to the rest of the story and Warcraft’s consistency assists in this.
The acting was outstanding as well. With fantasy films that have a niche following, it can be difficult to bring in outsiders who care and understand the world as much as the original creators do and the fans that have grown it. Yet Warcraft did a superb job of bringing in actors who would care just as much about the subject matter as the others involved. Ben Foster was perfectly cast as Medivh, slipping seamlessly into the role so that I hardly recognized him. Paula Patton was a beautifully tragic Garona, successfully splitting her character between two worlds. Considering most of the time the actors were talking to tennis balls and MOKAP suits, I’m pleased with how much depth each person was able to bring into their stories.
Why You Should Give it A Chance
The movie is fun. It’s a great beginning to, what I hope, will be a continuous adventure. Within a few minutes, I felt captivated to learn more, and by the end, all I wanted was for the story to continue. I was never into Warcraft before, but now I have no choice but to continue to feed that new interest of mine. I want to know the stories of Lothar, Garona, and Khadgar. I want to read the books, play the games, and see more stories on the big screen. And that, is the point of any new series: draw in new fans to love what so many others do already.
Catch the latest TV spot below and find out more at WarcraftMovie.com.
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