Video games almost never translate well into movies, but that’s not stopping Legendary Pictures from swinging for the fences with the high-concept adaptation of Blizzard Entertainment’s “Warcraft” franchise. In a recently released TV spot for the upcoming movie, the battle lines between the humans and the infamous orcs gets a little murky as the audience is invited to sympathize with the monsters.
The trailer, while only lasting a brief 30 seconds, does a lot to set up the orc faction as more than just the horrible creatures that the human heroes have to defeat. Speaking to the BBC in November, director Duncan Jones stressed the importance of making the film about more than just a conflict between good guys and monsters.
“When I came in I pitched what I thought it should be: essentially a war story where the story is told from both sides and both sides can be empathized with,” he said. “And that is the film that we made.”
According to Variety, the film will focus on a group of orcs invading the human’s land in the fictional world of Azeroth. Although the orcs are technically invading the human’s territory, their own home is being destroyed by an unknown cataclysmic force, displacing them and their families. Unfortunately, the orcs are built for war, not diplomacy. As a result, when the humans see these battle-ready monsters on their property, war ensues. Although the trailer shows some of the CGI-heavy action that will make the fantastical environment an imaginatively wonderful warzone, it seems the “Warcraft” film will deal with heavier topics other than slaying green-skinned beasts.
In addition to making sure the audience understands that the orcs aren’t the bad guys, the trailer once again shows some of the locations that the director adapted directly from the video game “World of Warcraft.” Released in 2004 as a spinoff to a game franchise that began 10 years earlier in 1994, the massive multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) is one of the most famous and most popular video games around. It is solely credited, in some circles, with popularizing cooperative online gameplay. However, despite the success of the game, the film industry doesn’t have a stellar track record when it comes to adapting video games to film (“Doom,” “Street Fighter,” “Mortal Kombat, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time,” “Super Mario Bros.” etc.). Jones, son of the late David Bowie, who co-wrote “Warcraft” in addition to directing, says that he’s not unaware he’s treading on uneven ground.
“I love games and I feel like they’ve been sold short shrift in films so far,” he previously told The Guardian. “It’s my generation’s opportunity to right that wrong.”
“Warcraft” hits theaters June 10, 2016. The film stars Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Ben Schnetzer, Toby Kebbell, Ruth Negga, Clancy Brown, Robert Krazinsky, Daniel Wu and Anna Galvin.