Traditionally, movies that are adapted from videogames aren’t very good.
Another film that is falling victim to the “videogame movies are terrible” curse is Duncan Jones’ Warcraft, which is based on Blizzard’s hugely-popular RTS and MMO franchises.
The public release is only happening in two weeks, so more online reviews will be added as the showing gets closer.
One of the first reviews out the door was Variety:
“It shouldn’t take a mage to foresee that this pricey and preposterous adaptation of an online gaming phenomenon was preordained for artistic mediocrity…
With its meticulously detailed realms built out primarily on soundstages and enhanced via CGI during extensive post-production, ‘Warcraft’ aims for fresh and eye-popping and yet ends up shopworn and rather tacky.”
The Wrap was a bit more scathing:
“Imagine ‘Battlefield Earth’ without the verve and you get this sludgy, tedious fantasy adventure, a fun-starved dud that’s not even unintentionally hilarious.”
It also wasn’t very complimentary towards the cast:
“The cast seems mostly adrift, with only Ben Schnetzer giving what might be considered an actual performance. The usually reliable Ben 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.”
Screen International gave the film a 4/10, adding that the events possibly set it up for a sequel.
“The film takes a long time to build dramatic momentum and gets interrupted by what seem like unnecessary plot points; some of them, perhaps, geared towards potential sequels.”
Fans on the other hand, have been far more positive; some have wondered out loud why critics would pan the film. On IMDb the user-based rating is currently 9/10.
The Millennium eSport team in France even when so far as to record the standing ovation the film received from viewers during a recent premier.
— Millenium (@Millenium) May 24, 2016
Are movie critics just being biased against films based on video games, or are gamers and World of Warcraft fans just so completely enamoured with the franchise that they are willing to forgive the film any and all shortcomings?
Only time will tell, but we can’t pass any judgement until we have seen it for ourselves.
[Hat tip to our local TheMovies.co.za for spotting that early reviews have been posted online.]