Why I am excited about Warcraft: The Beginning

On this date we should already have seen the movie, Warcraft: The Beginning, which is based on the video game World of Warcraft. The fantasy flick should have been released in December 2015, but thanks to Star Wars: The Force Awakens the movie got postponed to 10 June 2016. We have known about this movie for so many years, but now it will only take a couple of months until we will finally get to watch it. Although many gamers are sceptic, which is pretty logical as there has NEVER been a good video game movie ever before, I think this project could actually work out pretty well. And this is why.

The Franchise
It is not a weird pick to make a movie based on World of Warcraft. The MMORPG is still seen as the worlds most popular MMORPG with approximately 5.5 million subscribers. World of Warcraft has gained more than 10 billion dollar and it is one of the most sold games ever. I know couples that met each other in World of Warcraft and are now happily married with kids, but I also know couples that were together for twelve years and then got divorced due to the many hours that one of the significant others put in World of Warcraft. This game has impact and who knows what a movie of the game can do?

It is a game that you can easily spend your whole day playing, thanks to its extensive character creator and the infinite amount of missions to do, but it is especially attractive as an ideal meeting spot and starting place for friendships. The big choice in features and the fact that there are so many different races with all their own issues are in the game, makes World of Warcraft an ideal movie to make a movie of.

The Director
A movie is only a movie when there is a director to make sure everything gets done in the right order by the right people. For Warcraft it was going to be Sam Raimi, that was announced to make the movie in 2009. It was actually Uwe Bol that wanted to helm the movie, but Blizzard turned him down by saying: “We will never sell the movie rights to you, especially not to you. This is such a huge online game success, that we cannot have a bad movie ruining our income.” Pretty harsh.

However, knowing Uwe Bols past it would have been better without him. But! Raimi was also not going to do it. In 2010 it was a bit quiet, we did not hear anything from the director behind The Evil Dead, Spider-Man 3 and Oz: The Great And Powerful. The reason was that Blizzard was not interested in the script that Rami had written (they had worked on this for nine months!). The fact that Blizzard wants to be very much involved in the creative choices that need to be made for this flick, was a total surprise to Raimi. An unpleasant one.

Thankfully there is the new director, Duncan Jones, who can handle that involvement by Blizzard. Jones, that has been all over the news recently because of the death of his father David Bowie, is a real gamer who sees it as a dream come true to make Warcraft: The Beginning. In an interview with the English paper Guardian, Jones said his father never really understood Duncans obsession with video games. Maybe Jones did listen to his father after all, cause he became a movie director. He made Moon and Source Code, for example.

Now he is very busy with Warcraft. Jones already promised that this flick is going to be the first successfull video game movie ever. Normally I would think that is an arrogant statement, but I believe it from a guy that not only helmed successfull movies, but who is a gamer too. About his work Jones has said: “it is a unique chance to make a game that I love and that I know so well into something that a big audience will attract. I want to make people understand why other people play video games and what is so awesome about it.”

The Man Behind The Story  
Jones has a budget of 100 million dollars to tell the story, but for that you will obviously need a story! That is done by Christopher “Thundergod” Metzen, a game designer that is not just voice actor and artist, but also author. He is a creative centipede (although I am not sure you would use this expression in English too, hihi) that works at Blizzard. He did work for multiple universes: Warcraft, Diablo and StarCraft.

Metzen already discussed the movie a few times in public. He promised that the movie will be full of action and violence: “We are not going to make a kiddy version of this, this is not PillowfightCraft!” The story was going to be about Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, but that would be too Lord of the Rings-y. So, the story is told through the eyes of the Alliance and the key character is a new hero.

The Story
If you want to know what the story is about, I can describe it a little bit, but please be aware of mild spoilers. Azeroth suffers because of the war between human and orc. The orcs are not coming to Azeroth for fun though: their planet Draenor is dying. A portal is opened between the two worlds, which means there are multiple new dangers. Anduin Lother (the leader of the humans) and Durotan (the leader of the orcs) have to look for a solution.

The Cast 
Travis Fimmel (Vikings) is the main character in Warcraft: The Beginning. He is the human Lothar, that has to make sure his kingdom is safe and sound. Paula Patton (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and 2 Guns) said yes to the part of Garona Halforcen, a half orc/ half Draenai, which is pretty difficult. Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger) is king Llane Wrynn and other actors you will meet in this movie are: Toby Kebbell, Ben Foster, Anna Galvin and Daniel Wu.

The Status
Movie database IMDB says the movie is completed, finished! It has to be, because filming has finished years ago. The first half of 2014 all live action pieces have been shot, and the time after was needed to make the CGI bits happen. The movie is not fully live action, as they use computer animation to make the fantasy creatures as real as possible. Editing a movie digitally, especially when you are adding CGI, is a lot more work than taping it.

The Promiss
It is obvious the editing and the CGI are essential. Anyone that has seen London Has Fallen, knows the difference between the different types of special effects. Those in Warcraft will probably be amazing, as the visual effects are in the trusted hands of ILM, that also worked on the Star Wars movies.Plus, Bill Westerhoffer is involved, the guy that received an Academy Award for his work on Life of Pi. Richard Parker! 😉

Director Jones says he does not want Warcraft: The Beginning to be a standard movie about a ‘good’ human race that fights ‘bad’ orcs. “Warcraft should be about heroes on both sides, that work very hard to make sure conflicts are avoided, until the bad guys leave them no choice.” A very cool message, that I look forward to seeing in the movie in June. Or maybe later, cause Jones already said he would like to make this a trilogy.

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