The time is finally upon us, and even though I heard of it years ago, it's hard for me to believe that we're actually getting a live-action Warcraft feature film. Thoughts and feelings of its expected quality aside, Warcraft stands on very important ground. The ground has been broken before, but we've never gotten very deep in it, and the war between Orcs and Humans has the potential to send us deeper than ever before in the world of video game films.
Sure, we're getting the Ratchet and Clank film, which by all rights looks excellent, but it isn't doing much to separate the traditionalist expectation that video games are for children, or adults who haven't grown out of being children. Much like comic books before the films Batman Begins or Iron Man proved, on a very successful level, that the stories within the illustrated pages of a graphic novel could be enjoyed by anyone, many people still see video games as a time-waster for kids. Though that belief is diminishing as years go by and the success of sites like Youtube and Twitch become ever more present. I'm still waiting for the day when Pew Die Pie or someone in a similar position will purchase a mansion across the street from Kanye. That's when we'll know we've reached the point of true video game acceptance into our culture.
Anyways, what does this have to do with Warcraft? Well, Warcraft has the potential to be good. Really good. And as long as it proves to us that video game films can and should be taken as serious forms of entertainment media (clarification: not, as in, "look at how serious that video game film is" but rather, as in, "look at how much care and effort went into that well-made video game film") then I expect we'll see a whole new age of video game films.
Sure, we have Assassin's Creed coming into play this year as well, with big name Michael Fassbender commanding the lead role. If Warcraft fails to deliver on the quality and the sales, hopefully Assassin's Creed can take over the ground-breaking. And there is an Angry Birds movie as well, but I doubt that film will do anything other than solidify the cash-grab mentality that accompanies so many video game films (however I could be surprised). But Warcraft is something different. It plays into the strong desire for sweeping, epic, fantasy stories and worlds that our pop-culture is craving. It is coming out long enough after mega-films like The Hobbit that it is hard to accuse it of riding the coattails. And it is a property that the entire world is familiar with, even if it's in name only.
I want this to be good. I want this to feel like Iron Man felt the first time I saw it. I want to watch this film and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it will spawn a collection, a cinematic multiverse where I could eventually see the triumph of Lordaeron in Warcraft II, the tragic story of Arthas going from prince to death knight to lich king in Warcraft III, and hear the whispers of C'thun in Warcraft IV. Down the road we may even see James Raynor and Sarah Kerrigan battle against countless Zerg and form tenuous alliances with exiled Protoss in Starcraft. And eventually see my dwarf pirate, Dloin Stonehammer, on the big screen with his crew of vagabonds and miscreants in Pirates of Khaz Modan: A Warcraft Story.
Doubtful, but hey, we've got to start somewhere.