In The Beginning…

Welcome to another movie weekend and today it’s all about the movie “Warcraft” also known as Warcraft: The Beginning. Adapted from a video game series and novels set in the world of Azeroth, Warcraft is a 2016 American fantasy film directed by Duncan Jones and written by Jones, Charles Leavitt and Chris Metzen. It stars Travis FimmelPaula PattonBen FosterDominic CooperToby KebbellBen SchnetzerRobert Kazinsky and Daniel Wu.

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Warcraft: The Beginning portrays the initial encounters between the humans and the orcs and takes place in a variety of locations established in the video game series. The film was first announced in 2006 as a project partnership between Legendary Pictures and the game’s developer, Blizzard Entertainment and was originally set to take place in the era of Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. This setting, however, was later dropped, with Blizzard feeling that it would be too similar to The Lord of the Rings. Initially scheduled for a 2009 release, the film was later delayed to 2011. However, by 2011, the film was announced to still be in the “Treatment stage”.

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Concerned that a bad movie would destroy the ongoing income with the big online game success, Blizzard finally decided to go with director Duncan Jones in January 2013. Jones immediately voiced his displeasure at the script, which he said felt like the usual stale fantasy trope of, humans are the good guys, monsters are the bad guys. With Blizzard’s approval (who had also been looking to change the story), Jones altered the story so that it became a “50-50” stuff.

Warcraft was initially scheduled to be released on December 18, 2015, but following the announcement of the coinciding release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the release was pushed back to the following year. The film premiered at TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles on June 6, 2016, was released in the United Kingdom on May 30, 2016, in North America on June 10, 2016, and in Australia on June 16, 2016, ten years after the project was first announced. Talk about over planning.

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In the United States and CanadaWarcraft opened, alongside The Conjuring 2 and Now You See Me 2, and was projected to gross around $25 million in its opening weekend. But it seemed to only generate moderate interest among U.S. moviegoers (fickle people). This coupled with poor reviews and films like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, (released the week prior)  possibly hurt its box office performance. It went on to gross $24.2 million, finishing second at the box office behind The Conjuring 2 ($40.1 million) Guess you should know which film we’re seeing next

Despite a poor domestic box office performance, the film has grossed over $422 million worldwide, surpassing Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, (Loved that movie by the way) as the highest-grossing video game adaptation of all time.  It is the first (and only) video game film to cross $400 million in ticket sales globally. The film joined Terminator Genisys as the only American films to earn $400 million worldwide without also crossing $100 million in North America,  and also the only Hollywood release to earn $100 million in China without making $100 million in the United States. However, according to the The Hollywood Reporter the film needs to gross $450 million break-even.

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The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 30%, based on 179 reviews, with an average rating of 4.2/10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “Warcraft has visual thrills to spare, but they – and director Duncan Jones’ distinctive gifts – are wasted on a sluggish and derivative adaptation of a bestselling game with little evident cinematic value. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 32 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating “generally unfavorable reviews“.

Some criticized the film’s attempt at trying to create material from a video game series without depth. Another described director/cowriter Duncan Jones as “a talented sci-fi fabulist who’s fallen screaming into the same CGI abyss that consumed Peter Jackson during his unfortunate Hobbit cycle. With gaudy light-show effects, half-assed character development, and formulaic franchise groundwork. More complaints were about at least 12 major characters competing for space …zipping from one to another here so quickly that they only have time for the most portentous, and sometimes clichéd, dialogue. Dave Robinson of Crash Landed, however, praised the film’s depiction of the Orc race and the motion capture performances by the actors.

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What does Jollyhood think? Though not a fan of video games, die-hard fans of the game say the film is a great adaption of the game and who is moi to argue otherwise?  But I feel “Warcraft” didn’t live up to expectations depicted by the trailer. I expected more action, hard core battle scenes and spectacular creatures (it is called Warcraft for a reason). To be captivated for 120 minutes, but got a sappy Orc story about a dying world instead. While it may not be that easy creating a storyline with depth from video games, as we saw with Hitman: 147, Warcraft didn’t do badly at that, but spent too much time trying to cramp how it all started into one sequel, that it ended up with “more narratives and less action”. I suppose in support of the title “Warcraft: The Beginning”.

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As for having “too many characters competing for space”, The Lord of The Rings trilogy had twice as many characters and that didn’t take away from the story, only made it richer, but characters with depth. Warcraft can’t boast of either. Even Travis Fimmel, such an intense actor from the much I’ve seen on “Vikings” barely gave a convincing performance in the movie.

Anyway, the film’s storyline leaves “Warcraft” open to possible sequels, likely to be adapted from Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, the second video game in the Warcraft franchise, so let’s keep our fingers crossed that the second installment gets our adrenaline pumping.

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Have fun with the movie guys and if you happen to be on the mainland this Sunday morning, why not join me for the Music Concert “One Voice” at David’s Christian Centre, before Fatgbems Busstop, Amuwo.  It promises to be a blast. Take care folks. Bye!

 

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