These past few months have witnesses a myriad of video game adaptations announcements to get true gamer hearts racing with wild abandon. Indeed, we need not look past the fact that Assassin's Creed is speeding towards release this December and that a Lara Croft reboot starring Alicia Vikander has just been announced to conclude that an era of video game is definitely upon us.
So understandably, ahead of the June 10 release of Warcraft, expectations have been raised very high. Check out the trailer below:
There's been quite a bit of hype surrounding the Duncan Jones CGI-heavy release during its many years in development. Over which time, naturally we have dissected the storylines, marveled at the stellar cast starring Travis Fimmel, Ben Foster and Dominic Cooper and lapped up all the breathtaking movie screenshots thrown our way. And now, just weeks ahead of the feature hitting the big screens, the reviews have started to trickle through.
And guess what? Unlike the movie's state-of-the-art special effects, they're not looking pretty.
Following a preview for the big budget adaptation for example, The Hollywood Reporter has categorized it as being "downright dull." Read a snippet from the review below:
"Compared with another medieval-ish tale, the soporific Hobbit trilogy, this international production is a fleet and nimble ride, likely to conquer overseas box offices and make a solid stand stateside."
Similarly, avid gamer Jason Schreier at Kotaku criticized the movie's failure to tap into the "goofy" nature of the original video games, writing:
"Rather than tapping into the goofy core that makes a game like World of Warcraft interesting, the Warcraft movie aims for grittiness, missing the mark quite a bit. It just doesn’t work. The lore is too campy. This is a world where a mage’s most popular spell transforms his enemies into sheep, yet Warcraft acts as if it’s a green-screen version of Game of Thrones."
The Wrap also had this to say:
"Imagine “Battlefield Earth” without the verve and you get this sludgy, tedious fantasy adventure, a fun-starved dud that’s not even unintentionally hilarious. The cast seems mostly adrift, with only Schnetzer giving what might be considered an actual performance. The usually reliable Foster is reduced to gadding about like a prog-rock Jesus in a series of robes that make him look like he’s posing for the side of someone’s van, and poor Paula Patton gets saddled with a sad pair of novelty-store fangs. (To her credit, she makes the green body makeup work; if the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever expands to include superhero-with-a-law-degree She-Hulk, we’re looking at a real contender here.) “Warcraft” promises, or threatens, sequels, but then so did “Super Mario Bros.” And come to think of it, if forced to watch either of these video-game movies a second time, I’d probably vote for the plumbers."
However, despite all this Warcraft bashing, it appears that fan spirits aren't being dampened. For one, there are still hundreds of acclaimed reviewers waiting to put their opinion forward in the coming weeks and after all, whatever the critics say, isn't it the fan voice that counts? Ultimately, at its peak, the video game giant had over 12 million fans — surely someone is bound to like the adaptation.
So, for the time being, let's all just wait out the first wave of reviews and at least settle for Crave Online's neutral approach:
"We are still waiting for a great video game movie. Maybe we’ll never get one, but a film like Warcraft at least makes it feel like we’re buffering for it. This is an honest attempt to recapture the finer qualities of its source material inside of another medium. When it works, it’s a lot of fun. When it fails, it’s merely an average fantasy adventure that focuses too much on familiar plot devices to make a major impact. But there’s nothing wrong with not being great, so long as you don’t suck. And Warcraft doesn’t suck. It’s a flawed but likable adventure that I would happily go on again."
It's "a lot of fun" and a "like-able adventure," you say? Count me in!