Director: Duncan Jones
Starring: Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer
All along the banks of the internet, there is a horrible sound. It’s the sound of critics tearing into new game adaptation Warcraft like hyenas on an injured zebra. They’ve called it “dull-witted”, a “CGI slugathon” and a “colossal missed opportunity”.
MaryAnn Johanson from Flick Filosopher said derisively of it: “A masterpiece of cinema that truly speaks to the interests of white male teenage nerds from 1987” – dismissing an entire legion of women and black nerds who also love the game (or are we not considered “real” nerds?).
I’m here to tell you that critics have made a fatal mistake that the movie didn’t: they’ve taken it all far too seriously.
Gamers like myself have long been waiting for a director to bring one of our favourite titles to the silver screen, and Duncan Jones has done it with gaiety and sincerity.
The film looks spectacular, the characters are marvellously cheesy and, instead of the subversive wink to the audience that we might expect from a title like this, Jones is never condescending to his demographic. He is as earnest as a bright-eyed choir boy about these orcs and mages and knights. He doesn’t make us feel stupid for loving them, yet never pretends that these over-the-top imaginings are more than they are. There are no double entendres here, no political metaphors.
Warcraft is what it is meant to be: a great-looking piece of escapism. It’s as fantastic and voyeuristic as all good gaming titles are meant to be. Is the acting good? No, it’s horrific. Is the dialogue well crafted? No, it’s about as tacky as you would expect from gaming dialogue. But is it a whole lot of fun? You betcha.
I’m telling you to go and see this movie because, if Warcraft succeeds, it opens the door for more gaming titles to be turned into films. And if gaming titles start earning big bucks, that could well see the demise of comic-book movies (trust me, I’m at the point of nausea). Even the likes of X-Men and Captain America have turned into a slog. And then, we might just see a Diablo movie being made.
Now wouldn’t that be something.