Posted Sun, Feb 12, 2012 by Saia
You know a videogame is successful when someone decides to make a movie about it and World of Warcraft is no exception. A movie adaptation has been on the cards for a couple of years now, Sam Raimi’s going to direct and Blizzard will be heavily involved.
Heck, Paul Sams refused to let Uwe Boll go anywhere near the beloved franchise. As we wait patiently while Raimi works on Oz: The Great and Powerful, this is the perfect time to muse on what we can expect from the Warcraft movie?
The Warcraft movie was announced way back in May 2006 as a collaboration between Legendary Pictures and Blizzard. A single piece of gorgeous concept art was released to tantalize; an image of the great tree Teldrassil lit up with lights. To date, that’s all we have, one glimpse of one of Azeroth’s most beautiful zones. In 2009 it was announced that Sam Raimi was on board to direct but since then little has changed.
The storyline, we learned, would not retell Warcraft lore or focus on Thrall, Metzen’s favourite poster-orc. Instead, the live action movie is apparently going to focus on a human but that’s about all we know right now.
There is a problem though. Looking back over decade’s worth of computer game adaptations, the jump from pixels to the silver screen often creates films, which are not remembered as fondly as they should be. Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Doom, Super Mario Bros., the list goes on and on.
The problem with movies made from games is that they lose the essence of what made the original so successful. Storylines often suffer in the name of action and characters become pale shadows of their former selves. The other problem - particularly with fantasy games - is that it’s often difficult to translate the look and feel.
Concept art of Teldrassil from the Warcraft movie.
The Warcraft film is slated to be live action and here lies the problem; unless it’s done like Avatar, mixing real actors with CGI, there’s going to be a problem. It’s very hard to make the various races, especially the Tauren, Forsaken and Night Elves look realistic with makeup and prosthetics.
One of the most beloved aspects of the franchise is the amazing cinematics produced by Blizzard’s in-house team. If you ever needed any indication of how Azeroth should look on the big screen then it is in the form of the various cinematics introduced since the days of Warcraft II.
The other problem is the storyline. Most of the characters whose storyline might make awesome movies - folk like the Morgraine family, Arthas, Deathwing and the Dragonflights - have been covered to death in the game itself. Their lore has been at the heart of recent expansions and they were told in a way which really doesn’t need retelling, even if it would be awesome to see these infamous characters on movie screens.
Using these storylines in the movie would look awesome but movies need to be different and not just a cheap rehash of content we played three years ago. However, creating new lore just for the movie is risky though. It’s too easy to go down dangerous roads which dilute the world and cheapen the game. It is a catch 22, which has dogged many an adaptation over the years.
With this in mind, what should be in the Warcraft movie? Well, for starters, it’s a Warcraft movie so there should be some awesome battles; we’re talking Helms Deep huge here. Full on clashes between Alliance and Horde with all the notable figures, we have met so far … Thrall, Varian, Sylvanas, Malfurion. There should be dragons too because it would not be Warcraft without the various flights.
The crux of the film needs to be massive though, something which threatens Azeroth in a way that we have not already. So no Arthas, no Illidan, no Kil’Jaeden or Deathwing. We need something new, something huge and something deadly. The film also needs to be stand alone to an extent, in the same way that the lore of the comic books - particularly the Me’dan storyline - exists on its own but occasionally intersects with the game itself.
At the end of the day, we can only hope that the collective vision of the Blizzard loremasters, Legendary Pictures and Sam Raimi remains true to the game we know and love, whilst at the same time making one of the world’s largest MMOs accessible to a much larger audience. At the same time though, millions play the game and it’s important to remember that. Make an awful movie and your players will vote with their feet and the let everyone and their cat know if a movie falls short of the fans’ expectations.
How do you think the Warcraft movie should be adapted? Do you think it would be better for it to be CGI over live action? What about plot and storyline, do you have any ideas? Let us know in the comments below.