Alternate headline: Warcraft movie is so bad, David Bowie died after watching an advance cut!
Despite the jest, there are no strong feelings about the Warcraft film. When reacting to the critics who are slamming the film, it’s important to keep the following in mind: Most critics hate fantasy films, most video game movies are mediocre at best and there’s not any great expectations for Warcraft anyway.
It might seem a little ridiculous to say “critics hate fantasy films” in the age of a comic book movie. All one has to do is look at the awards shows, though, and see that box office success does not translate to critical accolades. The Dark Knight is one of the greatest movies of all time yet didn’t even get nominated for Best Picture (which went to Slumdog Millionaire). Even after the number of nominations increased from 5 to 10 after that controversy, The Avengers didn’t warrant consideration in 2013. This isn’t even a new phenomenon: Annie Hall beat out the original Star Wars and Lord of the Rings only received the Best Picture honors in its last year when it should have won three consecutive awards.
So, yeah, critics aren’t going to like Warcraft or movies like it anyway. Of course, video game movies have a pretty terrible track record. What would be the best video game movie? Resident Evil (which has inexplicably spawned a series of films)? Tomb Raider? Silent Hill? Mortal Kombat? None of these are on the level of a Dark Knight or The Avengers, which comic book fans can proudly point to as great representatives of their medium.
Since critics aren’t going to like the movie and all since most video game movies are “eh” at best, the expectations for Warcraft should be very low. It also faces some rather tough competition: the star-studded Now You See Me 2, The Conjuring 2 (which will most likely be the popular alternative to the former) and for critical snobs there’s Genius. Oh and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel will be in its second week, which while action blockbusters tend to be front-loaded in their box office take, there will be that someone who thinks it’s worth seeing again (or didn’t see the movie the week before) and goes to see TMNT than Warcraft.
Let’s also not discount Blizzard’s rather awful track record with Warcraft since its merger with Activision back in 2008: Wrath of the Lich King? Hit but shouldn’t count since development on it started well before Activision and Blizzard got in bed. Cataclysm? Awful. Mists of Pandaria? Meh. Heartstone? Hit. Warlords of Draenor? Critical miss!
Sure, Warcraft could rejuvenate the series and be a super awesome fantasy movie this summer…but it won’t. Critics already hate it. Video game movies struggle to be “decent” at best. Unless there’s more hardcore Blizzard fans than thought, people are going to be more interested in something else than what looks to be “ye olde derivative fantasy movie.” Maybe a December release date would have been better? Sure, it could still flop like Eragon and Narnia did but it’d also have a better chance of succeeding than it does now; sandwiched between Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Finding Dory.