I have not enjoyed the cowboys but had a lot of fun seeing Azeroth on the big screen. Still both movies do have a thing in common: they are good movies.
You remember Brokeback Mountain? Well if not, you do not have to watch, surely not. But it happened 2006, that this film about two gay cowboys, struggling to find a way to live their love in a homophobic society was nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture.
What a success! This film must be massive – even though in only won three of the golden awards in the end! It is common sense, that a movie, being nominated for an academy award is a good movie and worth watching. Well I have watched it back then and I did not like it. I have to confess: I did not like Chicago, Slumdog Millionaire and Dances with Wolves either. They all got decorated as Best Picture in their respective years.
As the first reviews of the Warcraft movie showed up earlier this week, they all were mostly negative. Kotaku, Variety, the Wrap… they all clearly spoke out, that they did not like Duncan Jones’ latest piece of work.
What makes a good movie
Well, Warcraft is still a good movie. A damn good one. The opinion of an single random person, the taste of the judges at the Oscars does not decide wether a movie is a good one or not. And although the reviewers of Kotaku or Variety are writing for pretty large publications and therefore are being trusted to a certain level, this does not mean they’re right. They just did not see a movie, they could enjoy. And that’s fine, because I did not like Brokeback Mountain back then although it was a good movie.
It all comes down to a point, where we have to define, what makes a movie good or bad. Of course, this is the point were it get’s emotional and highly subjective. So let’s start slow: A movie is good when at least some people enjoyed it (or „being touched” by it for movies with more heavy topics). And hell yes, a lot of people, who have already seen Warcraft it, have enjoyed it as much as I did. Just check out Twitter or reddit, you quickly will find a lot of positive reactions.
Warcraft was not made for reviewers
And that’s besides the beautiful landscapes the only thing Warcraft has in common with Brokeback Mountain. Both are good movies for their core target audience. A story told good enough and well executed (acting, CGI, sound, …), that certain people liked it overall. It may not be the Kotaku reviewer and not the people deciding on the Oscars this time. But as already mentioned: that’s totally fine! This film was never made for them anyways! When reading and watching trough all the interviews and panels, Duncan Jones and Robert Kazinsky did over the last year, one thing clearly stands out: the wanted to get it right for the Warcraft fans at first. That was their main goal and this time it’s the big difference: Warcraft is a movie made by people, grown up with video games and Warcraft in particular.
I feel like there was some sort of misconception in the film industry about video game adaptions. Such projects should always focus on bringing the gamers, the people already loyal to the content into the cinemas at first. They should always focus on porting the feeling of an video game to the screen. And Warcraft does really well in that terms because Duncan Jones knows better. “Warcraft will take fans home”, he says:
However a good movie does not have to be successful and vice versa. Those are two different things but in best case, success follows goodness closely. I guess a lot of the bigger reviewers too often try to prejudge if a film has the potential to be successful.
So should I see Warcraft: The Beginning?
As a long term World of Warcraft player I am part of the target audience for this film and I really enjoyed it. There are strengths and weaknesses of course, but overall this piece of film interprets my beloved Warcraft-Universe in a new way while staying true to it’s core. If you do like the Warcraft universe, you should go an see it. The level of detail and game references is just astonishing and brings a lot of fun. And I guess that’s the main problem for people completely unfamiliar with Azeroth: they are missing one of the best things on this movie because they just do not have enough knowledge. So for sure, people that are new to Warcraft will most likely have not as much fun as I had.
That’s it! I will not tell you anything more detailed about the movie. Just one more thing: give a shit about reviews and if you can afford it, go see this movie and decide for yourself if it is good or not.