Throne of Games


Warcraft: The Beginning brings the hit gaming franchise to the big screen. But can it break the game-to-movie curse? We weigh the evidence

The film’s director, Duncan Jones, is a huge Warcraft nerd…

Jones was a fan of Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, the 1994 real-time strategy game this film is based on. “We’re telling an origin story about when orcs first meet humans,” he told FilmInk in February. “But we’re working with [games publisher] Blizzard Entertainment to make sure we keep within the lines of the world they’ve built.”

But he’s not a games snob… 

“There’s a huge fanbase for [Warcraft], but it’d be wrong to assume they’ll all turn up,” Jones told the BBC in November. “There needs to be a broader audience.” He has a point. At its peak in 2010, World Of Warcraft was the world’s biggest game, with more than 12 million subscribers. Today, it’s closer to (a still-impressive) five million. “I don’t think it’s necessarily what the source material is,” said Jones. “It’s about how you find the core that makes it worth caring about.”

Warcraft: The Beginning is in cinemas from June 3

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He has the right movie cred…

Jones has shown he can make cool, geeky movies, having directed low-budget sci-fi hits Source Code and Moon (its sequel, Mute, is in the pipeline), and he also understands games. “I feel they’ve been sold short shrift in films so far,” he told The Guardian last year. “It’s my generation’s opportunity to right that wrong. I want to give people a sense of why so many play and care about the game.”

His family has history in fantasy flicks…

Jones is the son of the late, great David Bowie, who memorably played the Goblin King in the 1986 fantasy classic Labyrinth. “I was on the set when it was shot,” Jones told wegotthiscovered.com in 2011. “Part of my passion for filmmaking [came from] being on Jim Henson’s set and being able to experience what it was like to work on a project of that scale, creating worlds to tell one’s story.” 


Three reasons the Warcraft film has its work cut out

Super Mario Bros (1993)
This fiasco – with Bob Hoskins as Mario, John Leguizamo as Luigi and Dennis Hopper as Koopa – came out at the height of Super Nintendo mania, and was clearly directed by the only person in Hollywood who had never actually played the game.

Street Fighter (1994)
Almost in the so-bad-it’s-good category, but not quite. Jean-Claude Van Damme played hero Guile, Kylie Minogue was Cammy and Raúl Juliá was the villainous M Bison. The film even spawned its own videogame.

Doom (2005)
To their credit, the filmmakers tried to appeal to Doom fans, adding a sequence shot in the first person, like the game. But even stars The Rock and Karl Urban couldn’t save this movie from shooting itself in the face.

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06 2016 The Red Bulletin

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