The Ninjabot

WARCRAFT Film Comic-Con Panel Showcases Stunning Footage

Posted on July 11, 2015 at 5:48 pm by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

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There’s not exactly a video game movie curse, it’s just that none of them have been good. Ever. But a glimmer of hope surfaced when Moon and Source Code director Duncan Jones signed on to direct Warcraft for Legendary Pictures, based on the insanely popular World of Warcraft game. The sprawling nature of WoW made the prospect of condensing the game into a satisfying standalone narrative challenging, but Jones stumbled on a basic idea that he thought would be the key: there are heroes and villains on both sides of the central Alliance vs Horde battle. The result is an epic, high fantasy film that creates a deep emotional connection to both sides of this war, and Jones and some cast members took the Hall H stage at Comic-Con today to reveal the first-ever extended look at the film.

Panel Highlights

  • Duncan-Jones-Warcraft-SDCCDirector Duncan Jones made his third appearance for Warcraft, after teasing the film for the past two years during past Legendary panels.
  • “We wanted to make a film which everyone could be interested in beyond just Warcraft.” Jones compared his challenge to the one Peter Jackson had in making The Lord of the Rings engaging for Tolkien fans and those unfamiliar with the books alike.
  • Travis Fimmel admitted he hadn’t seen any footage from the film until today, speaking about the experience of shooting on set with motion-capture.
  • Paula Patton says Garona was the greatest challenge she had as an actress, because she plays a half-human half-orc. She’s a slave of Gul’dan (Daniel Wu) but finds herself in Azeroth amongst the humans. She doesn’t fit in in either world, so she has one foot in each.
  • Moderator Chris Hardwick, who’s seen a cut of the film, had extremely high praise for Ben Foster’s performance as Medivh.
  • Foster on Duncan Jones: “This is a man with a very specific vision, and he brought that vision to a beloved game, and he elevated that game to a film.”
  • Toby Kebbell, who played Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, plays the lead orc role of Durotan.
  • Rob Kazinsky (Pacific Rim) is a massive World of Warcraft fan. He’s up to 600 days played on the game, so he was the expert on set. He said as a result of playing that much Warcraft, he lost a warcraft-poster-horde-400x600relationship, he lost self-esteem, “but doing this movie makes it all okay!”
  • Kazinski on the film versus the game: “I’m a gamer and I know what I’m expecting, I know what you’re expecting from this thing, and I promise you Duncan Jones has made the movie you want to see.”
  • On the motion-capture experience, Clancy Brown just started making grunting noises and speaking like an orc.
  • “Behind every great man there’s a greater woman,” says Ruth Negga about Lady Taria.
  • Daniel Wu said he did the film because his wife is a big World of Warcraft fan, “When I got the audition for this, I actually was meant to take a year off because my wife had a baby and we were gonna spend a year with the baby.” When he told her he got offered Warcraft she said, “You have to fucking do it!”

Footage

Jones and Legendary revealed an extended sizzle reel from the film, showing off 6-8 minutes of footage that was insanely nerdy, but also kind of great. It opened with the Horde, and the effects on this film are positively next-level. The amount of detail with which the orcs are rendered is unrivaled—it feels like a technological step above the admittedly fantastic effects in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. And this warcraft-orgrim-1-600x400technological wizardry is crucial to serve Jones’ central idea, which is to portray both sides of this war with shades and three dimensions. These look like living, breathing creatures inhabiting lush, colorful environments, and Warcraft promises to be a must-see theatrical experience for the visuals alone.

But the story is promising as well. The Horde is almost out of resources on its home planet. Using magic, Gul’dan is able to open a portal to a different world, but in order to operate, it sucks the life forces out of living prisoners. Some members of the Horde, like Orgrim, have mixed feelings about the means to this end, but it’s necessary in order for their kind to survive.

So the central conflict arises when orcs begin to arrive in droves on this other planet, threatening the security of the humans and creatures living there. Jones has captured both the characters and surroundings in gorgeous detail, wholly embracing the game’s fantasy aspects. Frankly speaking, this is some epically nerdy shit. This level of high fantasy hasn’t been seen on the big screen in a very long time, and I’m incredibly curious to see how audiences greet Warcraft when it opens in theaters next June.

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