Warcraft is the first big screen adaptation of the Warcraft gaming property, so it’s only fitting that the film draws inspiration primarily from the first Warcraft video game installment (released in 1994), Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. The fantasy adventure is headlined by Travis Fimmel (Vikings) and Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) as the human Sir Anduin Lothar and orc Durotan, respectively: warriors from the two races that find themselves on the verge of war when the orcs flee to the human-ruled realm of Azeroth, in order to escape their dying world.
Meanwhile, caught in between these two war-mongering races (represented by the armies known as The Alliance and Horde, in turn) are such individuals as the half-orc warrior Garona (Paul Patton). The Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol star’s character is officially described by Legendary Pictures and Blizzard Entertainment as being “a strong-willed survivor who must decide where her true loyalty lies.”
A newly-released international Warcraft trailer (see above) highlights Anduin and Durotan’s combined efforts to prevent a full-scale war between their respective people in the film, much like previously-released trailers and TV spots for the movie have. However, the preview also further alludes to Garona’s significance in brokering a peace deal between the humans and orcs, as well as the film’s narrative as a whole.
Warcraft director Duncan Jones (Source Code), who also co-wrote the film’s screenplay with Charles Leavitt (In the Heart of the Sea), further emphasized Garona’s importance in the Warcraft movie’s storyline when interviewed by USA Today, referring to the character as being the ‘fulcrum’ (so to speak) between “the invading orc culture and the slightly sedentary human culture that’s been at peace for a while.”
Images like the one above and the Warcraft trailer footage that has been unveiled to date have also hinted at a romantic connection of sorts between the characters of Anduin and Garona – something that Jones also alluded to when he spoke to USA Today (without flat-out confirming):
“Fundamentally there’s a respect of one warrior for another [between Anduin and Garona]. But they’re both good-looking people, so there might be more.”
Costarring the likes of Dominic Cooper (Agent Carter), Ruth Negga (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Clancy Brown (Daredevil) and Daniel Wu (Into the Badlands), among others, Warcraft is facing the challenge of introducing the Warcraft mythos to the filmgoing masses unfamiliar with the original video game property – and will therefore be working over-time just to remember things like “Alliance,” “Horde,” and other key franchise terminology – while at the same time crafting a satisfying standalone narrative that one could summarize as “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes meets Lord of the Rings.” Of course, there’s plenty of additional source material that will be left over for exploration in future movies, but at the moment it seems Legendary/Blizzard will be testing the waters here for a Warcraft movie franchise, and not taking it as a given – as so many properties and/or shared universes do nowadays (see: Marvel, DC, Star Wars, etc.).
While the quality of overall storytelling remains to be seen, one area where Warcraft should deliver is visual effects and digitally-rendered imagery. The movie entered post-production some two years before its scheduled June 2016 release date, as Industrial Light & Magic/ILM (Jurassic World, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens) set to crafting the film’s numerous digital elements – including motion-capture orc characters (among other fantasy creatures in Warcraft) and the film’s various fantasy landscapes/scenery – and thus far, all of that time and effort on ILM’s part seems to have paid off in Warcraft having a unique and impressive visual aesthetic, on the whole.
Indeed, if there’s a good storyline to go with the flashiness (which, given Jones’ track record, there should be), then Warcraft may yet be the rare video game property that makes a graceful leap to the big screen. If that happens, it could also result in other slow-developing fantasy genre IP adaptations (Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering) being put on the fast-track to production too – so it’s not just the potential Warcraft sequels that will be affected by how Jones’ film performs, both commercially and critically.
Warcraft opens in U.S. theaters on June 10th, 2016.
Source: USA Today