The summer movie season is currently in full swing, with kids and adults alike flocking to their local theaters to catch this summer's crop of blockbusters. While superheroes and sequels will likely dominate the box office this summer, with Captain America: Civil War already crossing $1 billion worldwide, there is one non-superhero movie that a large section of fans have been waiting years for. In just a few weeks, Legendary will release the long-awaited video game adaptation Warcraft, which hits theaters on June 10. Earlier today, the first wave of reviews were posted for Warcraft, and they aren't exactly positive.
Before we delve into these critiques, it's worth noting that only five reviews have been posted on Rotten Tomatoes thus far, two of which are positive and three of which are negative, resulting in an early 40% RT score. Of course, dozens of reviews will certainly come flooding in over the next few weeks, but this slow critical start isn't exactly a good omen for a massive blockbuster like this. Budget figures have not been released for the Warcraft movie as of yet, but just judging from the trailers alone, the budget is likely quite massive.
Warcraft is set in the realm of Azeroth, which has enjoyed peace for hundreds of years. Now this magical land stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders. Orc warriors are fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people and their home. So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.
This epic fantasy adventure stars Travis Fimmel, Dominic Cooper, Ben Foster, Paula Patton, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Robert Kazinsky and Daniel Wu. This action epic is directed by Duncan Jones from a script he co-wrote with Charles Leavitt. Warcraft is a Legendary Pictures, Blizzard Entertainment and Atlas Entertainment production, which will go up against a pair of sequels on June 10, Warner Bros. The Conjuring 2 and Lionsgate's Now You See Me 2. Take a look at excerpts from these early reviews below.
"Critics throw the term "soulless corporate filmmaking" around with abandon, but movies like Warcraft really manage to redefine the term. A film adaptation of the hugely popular [MMORPG], this latest video game adaptation ranks near the bottom of the deadly genre. Imagine Battlefield Earth without the verve, or the unintentional comedy, and you've got Warcraft. With his first two films, Duncan Jones took high-concept science-fiction stories and spun them into taut tales that never lost sight of their characters or the toll of the extraordinary circumstances in which they'd been placed. This time around, sharing screenplay credit with Charles Leavitt (In the Heart of the Sea) - based on story and characters by Chris Metzen - he's trying to wrestle with too many characters and locations and motivations and subplots, all in a movie that's clearly intended to be but the first of many."
"With little concern for all those already perplexed at the mention of orcs and mages, Warcraft plunges headfirst into a fantasy realm teeming with mythical creatures, magical spells and exotically named characters and locations. It's a take-it-or-leave-it approach likely to have most audience members opting for the latter, though devotees of the immersive role-playing source material may have an entirely different experience... That's despite the noble effort of director Duncan Jones, [who] labors mightily here to craft a solid emotional foundation in his script with Charles Leavitt. The Warcraft games... were never meant to have the narrative depth of The Lord of the Rings, or even Game of Thrones. But the film cribs freely from both of those sources anyway, as well as Star Wars, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Avatar and numerous other recent blockbusters."
"The orcs, wizards and warriors of Warcraft clomp determinedly onto the big screen in Legendary Pictures' live-action take on the 20-year-old video game series. The result is a 3D sword-and-sorcery adventure whose CG-heavy look and cartoonish action should work for gamers and hardcore genre fans, even if the flat-footed drama may put off mainstream audiences and limits the chances of the property - already turned into novels and comic books - becoming a long-running movie franchise."
The Hollywood Reporter
"[If] you've never played Warcraft the game, can you care about Warcraft the movie? Given the ardent global following of the franchise, will it matter? For non-aficionados, the two-hour experience could be more concise, but it's no ordeal. Neither, though, is it consistently involving. If you haven't already invested in the self-serious mythology, it can feel borderline camp, if not downright dull - or both... Yet there's no question that it's a breakthrough in both storytelling and artistry for features based on video games. And compared with another medieval-ish tale, the soporific Hobbit trilogy, this international production is a fleet and nimble ride, likely to conquer overseas box offices and make a solid stand stateside.
"Calling a film like Warcraft 'the best video game movie ever made' might be damning it with faint praise, but faint praise is something that this film deserves. Duncan Jones' ambitious, colorful foray into the mythology of Azeroth is a noble effort but not the sort of thing that will make you forget about The Lord of the Rings. If anything, it will actively remind you of Willow."
In addition to these early reviews, we also have two new photos from Warcraft. While Warcraft certainly does have a substantial fan base within the video game world, that obviously doesn't guarantee any sort of success at the box office. Warcraft is positioned in a way that it shouldn't be too affected by superhero behemoths like Captain America: Civil War or the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, so it's possible that fans seeking another action epic will turn to Warcraft. We'll be sure to keep you posted on how Warcraft fares when it hits theaters June 10, but in the meantime, take a look at the new photos below.