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What We Know So Far: Based on the extremely popular video game World of Warcraft (2004), this film follows the origin story of the Dark Portal, a conduit where fleeing orcs of their dying world encounter humans, igniting conflicts and allegiances on both sides.
The Trailer: (Official #1)
Dan: I’m an old school Warcraft player, like pre-Internet, I think. It was a lot more simple than the massive multi-player online realm of Word of Warcraft. So I have an idea of the storyline: orcs versus humans, right. A lot of gamers have been anticipating this big scale, big budget adaptation for a while now… and this definitely looks BIG scale. Unfortunately, the CGI graphics are more on par with the video game or something like the Marvel Studio features. From the Sneak Peek, it feels more like a cut-scene from the Blizzard game. However, there are some good moments. The attention to detail on the weaponry and armor is impressive, feeling like WETA at their best. Perhaps the best part of this movie is the rising talent of director Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code). That said, I just can’t get into the CG bombardment. When the screen is filled with warring orcs, maybe I just get overwhelmed. I’m still open-minded. Perhaps the visuals will look much better on the 3D big screen… surrounded by the 4D enthusiasm of thirsty fanboys.
David: I’ll admit that I’ve never played the game but I do know well enough about it and appreciate the popularity of it to know the lore of the film. With the Lord of the Rings (2001) and The Hobbit (2012) films firmly establishing the potential and the interest, Warcraft looks to be a solid fit in the genre and, as the games in one of the most popular video games in history with a built-in player base of over 10 million players, it seems almost inevitable that a film would be produced. That said, as the game is obviously centered on combat as warring factions seek control of various lands, there is a great story at its heart that I think has kept players so invested. The trailer looks to try and build some emotional attachment to the characters and build a franchise of its own, though as expected, concentrates much of its two-minute running time on battle. This is where it loses me, mostly. An on screen massive-scale war has been done so often it’s beyond boring at this point and there is truly nothing that can make it inspiring any more. Worse, the CGI is hardly on par with what audiences are growing used to, though that may be a design choice to give a it video game cutscene feel. The Orcs do look very well-animated and appear to resemble the game characters closely though, and the world does look lush, but it all has a very obvious CGI glean to it that does detract. This one might have a legions of fans breathlessly waiting, but I’m holding out, sitting on the fence.
What To look For in The Trailer
Dan Says: Some of the main principle orcs are really detailed, with imperfections in their complexion and such. The simple fact that Warcraft orcs have made it on screen may be the best Moment for a lot of fans. For me, the highlight of the trailer comes from the human side. Travis Fimmel (Vikings) portrays the armored hero. My Sneak Peek Moment is when he rides a griffon, flying in the sky, high above the war below. The mythical beast dives for an attack, and Fimmel’s hero raises his sword, charging towards the battle. It’s an epic scene ripped right from the richest fantasy tapestries… and would make a perfect poster too.
David Says: The trailer is as formulaic as a trailer can get, trying to draw in as many viewers as it can, but is suffers from a blandness that really keeps it from truly being great. It does introduce some of the major players and gives us a tease of the locations, but comes off like a checklist from a how-to trailer making project. It’s a bit unfortunate but this is how the system works now, with bombastic booming noises and rapid cutaways. Still, despite this being a battle film, I appreciate the small attempts at “humanizing” the plot, with a bit of the backstory concerning the Orcs and their need to find a new home. My Sneak Peak Moment comes when we realize that the Orcs themselves are a divided race and in order to ensure survival, some propose an alliance with the humans. This sparks some issues on both sides of the conflict and I think will be the most appealing part of the film. When Durotan (Toby Kebbell) and his clan visit with the humans in a smoldering rocky valley, he is met with one question: Why are you here? His reply offers the first glimpse of a necessary pact and reveals that the mighty Orcs are much more aligned with human nature than as monsters. This could be the story thread that propels this in the right direction.