WARCRAFT MOVIE gets a warm reception at Blizzcon

After years in development hell and a change of director, the Warcraft movie finally made a prominent appearance at Blizzcon 2014. Duncan Jones, of Moon and Source Code fame, will direct.

The full cast was confirmed alongside new footage of the movie, which is now scheduled for a 2016 release. Jones and actor/mega fan Rob Kazinsky (Orgrim Doomhammer, but you may remember him being slapped about by Charlie Hunnam in Pacific Rim) were there to reassure Blizzcon attendees that the film was in the right hands.

Jones made the bold statement that this would be “Avatar and Lord of the Rings at the same time... it’s a big, big movie.” The cast, however, is mostly made up of midlevel stars, the likes of Dominic Cooper (King Llane) and Ben Foster (Medivh) taking on Alliance characters, while Clancy Brown, Daniel Wu and Kazinsky will be embodying the Horde. Paula Patton (from Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) will play Garona.

For the Horde characters, Jones and his crew are making extensive use of mo-cap and green screen don’t expect painful prosthetics here. On stage, Kazinsky demonstrated his slouched walk for Doomhammer and assured attendees of his hundreds of hours spent playing WoW.

The new footage built on the trailer shown at Comic Con earlier in the year. The PC Gamer members who saw it describe it as a more magical Game of Thrones (only without the gratuitous nudity), which is surely as much as anyone could have hoped for. There’s clearly the capacity for subtle acting beneath those CGI orc faces too, as shown in a brief new scene between Frostwolf clan leader Durotan (Tony Kebbell) and his pregnant wife, which exhibited none of the overcooked cockney villain fluff you might expect from a Peter Jackson orc.

Blizzard’s endorsement, the quality of the early footage and the choice of director all make me confident that Legendary Pictures, the production company behind the film, have got it right. I don’t want to drone on about the long history of bad movie adaptations, because I don’t think they’re comparable. This film is clearly in a different category, as evidenced by Blizzard’s strong involvement and the lack of Uwe Boll.

I’m not expecting other games to follow suit I don't particularly care if upcoming movies based on Assassin’s Creed and the like are good or not. I'm just impressed that Legendary has found someone who loves the material, with a proven track record of making quality genre films, to bring this fictional universe to life.

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