From this writer’s perspective, Warcraft is the biggest question mark of the whole summer season (though the fact that both The Huntsman: Winter’s War and The Legend of Tarzan are happening is a close runner-up). Universal has been mightily supportive of the whole project, despite it being a mainstream adaptation of a decidedly nerdy RPG, giving it time to shine at Comic-Con and a host of interesting trailers, and so far my impressions of it have been very good.
Director Duncan Jones clearly cares a lot about the property, having taking a serious approach to turning the humans-versus-orcs war into a legitimate epic with real, complicated characters at its core. And the CGI work looks absolutely spectacular. The international trailer, above, has a lot of recycled footage as well as some new shots, but the main takeaway from it is simply that a boatload of thought and cinematic invention has gone into making this an exceptionally faithful adaptation of the World of Warcraft game.
Whether that means it will be good is another question entirely – the dramatic performances need to be very strong, and the stakes need to feel real, otherwise the entire thing will get lost under its overload of visual effects. But Jones is doing something interesting here, and watching more of the movie leak out ahead of its summer slot will be mightily entertaining.
The studio is clearly thinking Avatar, and if the movie beneath the effects is as crowd-friendly as that record-breaking epic, they might actually be onto something. But even if the film does solid, unremarkable numbers, it’s hard not to get excited at the prospect of seeing the likes of Paula Patton, Travis Fimmel, Toby Kebbell, Dominic Cooper, Ben Foster, and Ruth Negga battle and banter in a studio tentpole this massive.
Warcraft opens June 10. Let’s all pray it’s awesome.