Yesterday, Mike Geib wrote up the quite phenomenal Persona 3 anime adaptation and mused briefly on the problems of video game movies. Namely, the nature of player agency and player authorship that makes adapting game narrative to an innately noninteractive medium. A whole lot of people have tried, and a whole lot of people have failed, to adapt the biggest video games in the world to the big screen, unable to surmount this problem.
Perhaps, then, the solution is to adapt a story that has no single narrative but is rather about inhabiting a world, and telling a story within that world. Such is the attitude of Duncan Jones, the incredible filmmaker behind the film Moon, which you should absolutely see the moment you stop reading this article, who has been trying to make a World of Warcraft movie happen for years and, over the course of 2013 and 2014 so far, has finally been able to do so. And today, he announced that the Warcraft movie had finished principal photography, meaning that the work now goes into visual effects and post-production.
Telling the story of the origins of the conflict between men and orcs, and focusing equally on the Horde and the Alliance, the film has a pedigree unlike any other video game adaptation thus far. Jones is colossal gamer, who has as much an influence from video games as films to his directing style (go watch his film Source Code and look for all of the Grand Theft Auto references in the cinematography), and is one of the most talented young filmmakers on the planet. The cast is not A-list, but rather loaded with character actors like Ben Foster and Clancy Brown who show up to work, and always work damn well. And the producers, of Legendary Pictures, have a practically spotless record when dealing with geek properties (Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, Pacific Rim, the most recent Godzilla).
Warcraft comes out on March 11, 2016. You should be exciting. I think this might finally be the good one we’ve been waiting for.