warcraft trailer

Back in the day, I knew a handful of people who failed a college class or lost a job because they were too busy playing World of Warcraft. In a weird, dark way, that’s the biggest compliment you can give Blizzard’s long running video game franchise – the world of Azeroth was so compelling and addictive that people damaged their lives to inhabit it.

So the upcoming Warcraft movie has to appease an army of the faithful, the fans who commanded the Orc and human legions in the classic real-time strategy games and quested as individual heroes in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game. More importantly, it also has to convince regular audiences to take a chance on a complex high fantasy world full of its own unique rules. It worked out well for The Lord of the Rings, but the more colorful, sillier world of Warcraft may be a tougher sell.

The first Warcraft trailer is here. Sharpen your opinions and get ready for war.

Warcraft is the third film from director Duncan Jones, who previously made the remarkable science fiction drama Moon and the very good Source Code. He’s a technically ambitious filmmaker with an eye for character – he’s an inspired choice for this material. Also, Jones hasn’t been shy about reshaping Warcraft‘s screenplay to give more focus to the Orc characters, which makes him our kind of guy. Who wants to play as the squeaky clean humans when you can pillage and destroy as an army of giant green people?

Watch the trailer for yourself right here:

And it looks, well, fine. The footage here is colorful and vibrant, but there’s an artificiality to it. So many of those big battle scenes look like there were shot in front of a green screen in an enclosed studio. Those Orcs, while impressive in single shots, look like walking cartoons en masse. However, Warcraft is still over six months away and you know that visual effects guys will be rendering until the last possible moment. We’re less worried about the visual effects and more concerned about how familiar it all feels. The trailer is cut like it’s The Hobbit when it should be giving off its own unique flavor.

Then again, if we had a dime for every single time a trailer didn’t accurately portray a movie we ended up loving, we’d have about $7.60.

The first footage from Warcraft premiered at Comic-Con earlier this year and it left the audience baffled. Even those who appreciated the technical grandeur of what was on display were hopelessly lost by the story and the characters. By all accounts, those 10 minutes from the film threw everyone into the deep end before teaching them how to swim. If a movie is too impenetrable to win over a Hall H crowd, how will it fare with normal folks who have to see this thing for it to be a hit? That’s the problem facing Warcraft right now and it could be the reason Universal apparently thinks of it as a “problem movie.”

But we trust in Jones. Few modern filmmakers have showcased such strong genre instincts. Whether the trailer works for you or not, watching him tackle high fantasy should be worth the price of admission. Warcraft may end up being a lot of things, but lazy and boring probably won’t be the adjectives everyone uses.

Warcraft will rampage into theaters on June 10, 2016. The cast includes Travis Fimmel as Anduin Lothar, Ben Foster as Medivh, Paula Patton as Garona, Toby Kebbell as Durotan, Dominic Cooper as Llane Wrynn, Ruth Negga as Lady Tario, and Robert Kazinsky as Orgrim. It also features the great Clancy Brown playing a vicious Orc chieftain named Blackhand, which the exact kind of casting that should give you half-a-cup of faith that this movie will something special.

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