While many of Hollywood’s mega-franchises revolving around comic book superheroes and long-running action series (Fast & Furious) are riding high at the box office, and reboots of various properties have been huge hits (Jurassic World), video game adaptations remain an area of difficulty for studios. The past few years have certainly seen critical and commercial failures come from adaptations of video game properties — Need For Speed, Hitman: Agent 47 — but two big releases on the horizon have the potential to turn that pattern around: Assassin’s Creed and this June’s Warcraft.
Warcraft has Moon and Source Code director Duncan Jones at the helm and adapts a storyline from earlier in the classic video game series’ history, before the “World of” titles. The human knight and native of Azeroth Sir Anduin Lothar (Travis Fimmel) works together with orc chieftain Durotan (Toby Kebbell) as a massive conflict unfurls between Azeroth and a race of orcs from the dying world of Draenor.
The film’s first feature length trailer went a long way toward convincing audiences that Warcraft‘s approach to this kind of fantasy universe could work, even if the film’s overall appeal to general audiences remains an issue. Still, the various TV spots we’ve seen since offer plenty of expected fantasy action, and a new spot gives us a glimpse of the more ambiguous themes in play. Take a look above.
While the spot has plenty of quick-cutting between orc battles, magic lightning, and brief glimpses of some of the other main characters — like Garona (Paula Patton) and King Llane Wrynn (Dominic Cooper) — this 30-second package manages to find the time to touch on the relationship between Fimmel’s Lothar and Kebbell’s Durotan. To prevent a larger disaster as the orcs from Draenor descend upon Azeroth (via an ancient portal, because fantasy video games), Anduin Lothar and Durotan find they have to settle their native differences and fight side by side. This aspect of Warcraft has the potential to be a much more complex fantasy action spectacle than most.
There are a slew of other video game movies in the works (Angry Birds, Five Nights At Freddy’s, Minecraft), but the A-list talent involved with Assassin’s Creed and Warcraft have raised expectations for these two releases in particular. There are no guarantees, but Warcraft‘s prime opening spot of June 10 and relatively soft direct competition (sequels to The Conjuring and Now You See Me) could turn the genre around as a whole.
Warcraft storms into theaters on June 10, 2016.