Will Warcraft be able to buck the bad video game movie trend?
The Duncan Jones-helmed Warcraft movie is still a long way off -- even though filming finished in May, the movie isn't due out until March 11th, 2016. The message, apparently, is that Warcraft needs a lot of post-production time. A lot. Will the final film be worth all that time and effort? Warcraft fans, who have been waiting a very long time for the film to come to fruition (the film was first announced way back in 2006), certainly hope so... and our first glimpse of film footage at this year's Comic-Con offers a glimmer of hope that one day we'll be able to sit down in a theater and actually watch Warcraft.
The footage shown looks like nothing more than an in-game cinematic -- and if you're familiar with Blizzard's cinematics in World of Warcraft you know they look fantastic. The graphical style used in the trailer fits the somewhat cartoonish look of Warcraft well, but without making the characters look like goofy caricatures and CGI blends cleanly with live action elements. The orcs are apparently the creations of motion capture and CGI, mirroring the orcs of World of Warcraft's game trailers more than the human actors who play them. Scenes in Stormwind Castle mirror the design style of the castle in World of Warcraft (just with much higher resolution), with the throne room being a spot-on match. And because it's Warcraft, there's plenty of fighting. Mages sling spells and a human on gryphon-back swoops down to attack an orc.
With all of these digital effects, it's easy to see why the film has so many months of post-production work: a ton of the finished film seems likely to be a CGI creation.
As to plot, the story will focus on the crux of the Warcraft universe: the battle between orcs and humans. As an origin story for Azeroth as we know it, Jones explained that the movie is meant to be accessible to both fans and non-fans -- and, presumably, fans who follow Warcraft lore and fans who don't. Warcraft will tell the story of the orc Durotan and the human Anduin Lothar, and the teaser was pretty evenly split between footage form the orc and human perspectives.... and it paints a picture of two races who are more similar than different, yet heading towards an inevitable (and violent) confrontation.
In the teaser, a human muses that he spends more time protecting his king than protecting his family while an orc explains "Our home is destroyed; there's nothing to go back to," before concluding that the only solution is war. Though we didn't get confirmation in the trailer, the speaking characters are presumably Lothar and Durotan, both of whom want the best for their people -- and telling the story from both sides, as the trailer suggests (and Duncan has alluded to in the past) could make for a story with a lot of emotional punch... though we'll have to wait for over a year to find out if this promise holds true or if turns out to be just another video game movie.
The Comic-Con trailer hasn't been released to the public, though Legendary Pictures did release a short video (above) of the film's logo, that's slim offerings for fans who have been waiting quite a while for their Warcraft fix. If you just can't wait, maybe you could just watch (and rewatch) the Mists of Pandaria trailer to tide you over. (No, there's been no mention of Pandaren in Warcraft, but the trailer does have a pretty awesome orc and human fight sequence.)