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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Are You Excited About Duncan Jones's Warcraft Movie?

Posted by on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 11:32 AM

There has never been a good movie based on a video game. Think about that for a second. For twenty years, Hollywood has been trying to adapt video games to film; Wikipedia lists 29 adaptations made in that time. They've never successfully made a good one. And so I am highly nervous about the news that Duncan Jones is going to make a World of Warcraft movie. Jones's first movie, Moon, was a home run. His second movie, Source Code, was not very good at all, although it was at least ambitious and demonstrated his craftsmanship. But this is going to require a lot of work. I mean, look at Badass Digest's description of Warcraft:

World of Warcraft is just the latest iteration of the Warcraft universe, which sees a Tolkien-esque fantasy land known as Azeroth divided in a massive, ongoing war between the Alliance and the Horde. The Alliance is a group of all the boring fantasy races - humans, gnomes, dwarves, lame elves - while the Horde is made up of totally awesome races like Orcs, Trolls, Undead, Blood Elves and minotaur-like Tauren*. Over the years the ever-expanding universe has grown to include multiple planes of existence, outer space, time travel, werewolves, a race of kung-fu pandas and more. Warcraft offers an embarrassment of fantasy riches; it's like every fantasy concept thrown into a blender.

Now, I expect that Jones will manage to keep the story fairly simple, since this is the first Warcraft movie. And you can't doubt Jones's dedication to Warcraft—Badass Digest discovered a previous interview of Jones raving about the idea of a Warcraft movie back in 2010. So there's a possibility that this might work out. But Jones is battling against twenty years of tradition, here, and there's a distinct possibility that his third movie could be his first truly bad movie.

 

Comments (34) RSS

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Tracy 1
All I know is, I was always scolded when calling it "Warcraft," as that's a different game. It's "World of Warcraft" or "WoW," so I've been told (repeatedly). I haven't played in years, so perhaps the community has relaxed their strict nomenclature rules. But I doubt it. *smile*
Posted by Tracy on January 31, 2013 at 11:39 AM · Report this
2
What is the big deal about Duncan Jones? Moon was a decent movie, but you could see it coming a mile away. Source Code was also fine but nothing spectacular.
Posted by clint on January 31, 2013 at 11:51 AM · Report this
Akbar Fazil 3
I know I am in the minority, but I actually enjoyed Prince of Persia, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and Wing Commander. But the rest, definitely there has not been a good video game movie.
Posted by Akbar Fazil on January 31, 2013 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Knat 4
I thought Silent Hill was the best video game adaptation movie made so far. I haven't really played much of the series, so I have no fan boy outrage over any changes that might have been made to the plot. It only got 29% on Rotten Tomatoes, but that's a pretty strong showing, comparatively.

As to a WoW movie, no thanks. A movie like this can't possibly meet fans' expectations, and I imagine those of us who are not fans of the game have little collective interest in it. If this movie must exist, I'd be interested only if the top-notch talent in Blizzard's cinematics dept do it, with maybe a little input from Hollywood script editors.
Posted by Knat on January 31, 2013 at 11:57 AM · Report this
5
I really wish people would stop referring to Moon as a "home run".

It was fine, it was visually pleasing (if entirely too sound stage-y), Sam Rockwell was plenty watchable. But in the end the plot construction was just too tidy in the same way as the mid-level Hollywood blockbusters Jones apparently had set his sights on making.

Moon ended, I felt nothing, I moved on with my day.
Posted by d.p. on January 31, 2013 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 6
I thought to myself, "now, there has to have been one halfway decent video game movie."

But no. Nope. Not a one. Hilariously, on the Wikipedia page for video game movies, the "announced/upcoming" section just has a box that says "untitled Resident Evil reboot."

Could have had that there for almost a decade now.

I always thought a good Resident Evil movie would have to consist of Jill, alone in the mansion for the most part, terrified and essentially suicidal with fear and despair, her one pistol not enough to guarantee survival, constantly almost out of ammo. Perhaps barricaded in a "safe room" shaking with fear and contemplating just putting the gun in her mouth.

Now that is how Resident Evil used to make me feel.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on January 31, 2013 at 12:02 PM · Report this
7
Hollywood studios have no concern with making a *good* movie based on a video game, just wildly profitable ones. I believe they've been fairly successful in that regard.
Posted by tiktok on January 31, 2013 at 12:03 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 8
That should be "flaming bag of cinematic shit." A fresh turd wouldn't burn in an atmosphere of 100% fluorine.

(Not intended to be an actual statement of chemical fact.)
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on January 31, 2013 at 12:06 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 9
Back in my day we had the computer game Warcraft 2 and that was good enough for us! None of this " World" of Warcraft business.

Why I remember when my old friend Heathcliff Jones and I would stay up for ALL hours with our computing machines hooked up...oh the good times we had combating each others forces! Oh ho! Yes! it was sure something...

Darn kids...grumble, grumble, wheeze...
Posted by ArtBasketSara on January 31, 2013 at 12:08 PM · Report this
DeaconBlues 10
FFVII: Advent Children was decent. But then, I am the exact person it was made for.

Anyway, this will probably suck.
Posted by DeaconBlues http://radzillas.blogspot.com/ on January 31, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
Zebes 11
Video game movies are shit because they skimp on the narrative and character development to focus instead on special effects, action and spectacle. To be fair, this is because most games do the exact same thing, and this is what cynical producers try to translate to the screen.

Maybe we'll see a good video game movie someday, but video games themselves need to grow up first before they expect to be represented well in other mediums.
Posted by Zebes http://www.badrap.org/rescue/index.html on January 31, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
Pick1 12
I spent years playing Warcraft and learning the lore playing Warcraft I-III and WoW for many unfortunate years.

There are a lot of stories there and there is a lot of freedom. The kung fu pandas you speak of (Pandaran is the name of the race) were actually created as an April Fools joke many years ago. When the fanbase decided they loved the concept, Pandarans became canon.

I don't know from where they will pull this move from, but there are several fairly incredible storylines in the universe. There are also a myriad of godawful ones that will likely be chosen.

I feel no excitement for this movie.
Posted by Pick1 on January 31, 2013 at 12:16 PM · Report this
13
How about just "Yes" as an option. I've never heard of Duncan Jones or that Sam Raimi was "attached" to this movie project.

Seems like most slog polls these days are ruined by witty commentary in the options.
Posted by cliche on January 31, 2013 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 14
Knowing altogether too much about Warcraft lore, all I can is: damned if I know WHAT they will do a film about. It's not like the mostly linear tales of Tolkien. There are dozens of Tolkien scale tales, all with mostly equal weighting.

I'm guessing that the only thing that would work for the likely desired film trilogy to translate for audiences is a condensed version of the story of Arthas:

http://www.wowwiki.com/Arthas_Menethil

Film 1: hero, champion, knight, versus the undead zombie plague threatening his land. End with Stratholme's fall, and tie it into the fall of Lordaeron altogether somehow, since you need that. Brutal, bittersweet end, highlighting the corruption of him already underway that others can't see, and the whispers of the Lich King in his fracturing mind. As much a horror story as a fantasy film, like the best Warcraft stories. This would be the hardest to build into a coherent and doesn't-suck film. All the major people like Tiorin, the Kirin Tor people, Jaina, etc. need to be here. I suppose work Thrall in.... somehow.

Film 2: Mal Ganis. Frostmourne. Lich King. Quel'thalas. The Scourge. The iconic CGI film where Arthas walks back into Lordaeron with the falling roses. Add in him putting on The Famous Armor. Everyone crapping their pants when they all realize the big surprise of who/what he is now. Dum dum dum.

Film 3: The whole Northrend thing and Frozen Throne story (taking the ring to Mount Doom) while the Scourge goes South (War of the Ring). It could work.

Yes, someone will cry that they should do the very, very good Thrall story, or a hundred others. Which would be more accessible for a $300+ million box office per film? I think just Arthas.
More...
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://www.zombo.com on January 31, 2013 at 12:25 PM · Report this
nicholaus 15
Too lazy to actually look it up right now because I'm at work, but isn't Duncan Jones David Bowie's son?
Posted by nicholaus on January 31, 2013 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 16
There's a giant theme park in China with Warcraft Land in it.

It could be a fun movie, especially if it's in 3D.

Will critics like it? Nope. Will the audience care? Nope. Will it do record box office? Probably.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 31, 2013 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 17
@9 actually, it was you kids and your Warcraft II that messed it up. Warcraft was better before all you meddling kids showed up and demanded more. Although I did love the turtle boats.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 31, 2013 at 12:32 PM · Report this
DeaconBlues 18
@11 Are we pretending that there aren't games that prioritize storytelling over flash? Are we also pretending that there aren't films and books that do the same?
Posted by DeaconBlues http://radzillas.blogspot.com/ on January 31, 2013 at 12:35 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 19
@7 nailed it.

The target audience of the video game market will shell out whatever it costs to see these shitty movies. The movie producers don't need to make it good, they just need the rights to the video game's title to be profitable.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 31, 2013 at 12:38 PM · Report this
20
mortkal kombat = top tier film.

i too found moon to be subject of overhype. i thought it was in the ok-good range, definitely not in the home run range. mortal kombat, however, is definitely in that home run range.
Posted by captain underpants on January 31, 2013 at 12:44 PM · Report this
DeaconBlues 21
Street Fighter was bad, but the hilarious kind of bad, mostly because of Raul Julia. I think he was the only one who understood what movie he was in.
Posted by DeaconBlues http://radzillas.blogspot.com/ on January 31, 2013 at 12:54 PM · Report this
Mattini 22
Mortal Kombat was fun and everything that I thought it could be.

I'm not a fan, but the Pokemon series has been very successful.
Posted by Mattini on January 31, 2013 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 23
George Lucas's Star Trek series was based on a video game, wasn't it? Those were pretty good movies.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on January 31, 2013 at 1:01 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 24
No one is mentioning the Super Mario Bros. Movie? Pretty sure it was awesome.
Posted by ArtBasketSara on January 31, 2013 at 1:47 PM · Report this
zivilisierter Wurm 25
@24: Awesome indeed! That movie has a special place burned into my then 8-year-old memory core. I forced my parents to rent that VHS so often from the corner store, I'm surprised they weren't driven to infanticide. I blame Super Mario Bros. for my continuing love of John Leguizamo
Posted by zivilisierter Wurm http://peregrinari.tumblr.com/ on January 31, 2013 at 1:55 PM · Report this
Zebes 26
@18

Nope. There's a lot of shit films out there from a variety of sources!

But the majority of games out there are pretty shallow, and that is the standard that most producers aim for, and most consumers are comfortable with. For every game that tries to deal with adult themes, there are a dozen more that don't even make the attempt. But hey, it's what sells, so.
Posted by Zebes http://www.badrap.org/rescue/index.html on January 31, 2013 at 2:07 PM · Report this
27
There has been a good movie based on a video game.

The first Resident Evil movie was an excellent horror/suspense film.
Posted by Lack Thereof on January 31, 2013 at 2:24 PM · Report this
28
Adding my agreement that Resident Evil was a good movie. I liked Mortal Kombat, too.

Now, if only they would make a movie adaptation of Soul Calibur! :-)
Posted by dianasquiver on January 31, 2013 at 2:52 PM · Report this
Simone 29
@3, I glade I'm not alone in liking Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

And I liked Source Code.
Posted by Simone on January 31, 2013 at 3:06 PM · Report this
Wandergeist 30
I couldn't decide between the last two choices. But: there's a treatment for an Ian Fleming biopic floating around? That's intriguing. Though the biopic I'd love to see is one about Fitzroy MacLean, who had the kind of life that seems like a movie -- and was one of the "two or three" real people Ian Fleming used as the basis for James Bond (among other things, he's the reason Bond is Scottish).
Posted by Wandergeist on January 31, 2013 at 3:19 PM · Report this
mkyorai 31
@29 Spirits Within should have been a much better movie. They totally botched the ending, though. I wanted to like that movie, but I just went away kind of sad.
Posted by mkyorai on January 31, 2013 at 4:37 PM · Report this
32
How long did it take Hollywood to make a good adaptation of a novel?
Posted by robotslave on January 31, 2013 at 7:43 PM · Report this
McJulie 33
Wreck-it-Ralph was a good movie based on video games. Run, Lola, Run is structured as a video game, and is a good movie. I would even count the first Tron, arguably, as a decent video game movie. What do those three movies have in common? They tell a story about video games, or using the tropes of video games, but they are not an attempt to take the "story" of a video game and turn it into the story of a movie.

Video games don't have stories the way movies have stories. They have a lot of story elements, but the basic story structure isn't there. So the only way to take those elements and turn them into a good movie is to invent the structure. I think it could probably be done, but it would have to be a scriptwriter who understood what the actual problem was.
Posted by McJulie on January 31, 2013 at 8:46 PM · Report this
34
Agree with everyone who said "Moon" was decent, but it never really clicked for me. I think it played well with folks who weren't hard sci-fi fansc but to many who'd seen this same twist in countless places it was too predictable in the end. There was too little tying together the wonderful scenes (Rockwell is superb, though, and the mood he establishes is marvelous).

But Source Code... Did Mr. Constant watch the same movie as the rest of us? The one that has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes? The Hugo award nominee? Richard Roper's favorite movie of the year?

It's fine to disagree with critical and/or popular opinion, but you should frame your comment that way ("I never figured out what people saw in 'Source Code'") rather than just assuming the rest of the world is objectively wrong about their taste in art.
Posted by CGW on January 31, 2013 at 10:19 PM · Report this

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