Movie premieres are weird. Even more so when the movie's based on a video game property that has eaten nearly a decade of your life (off and on). But when you”re asked to see Warcraft at the TCL Chinese Theater in glorious IMAX 3D, you yell “FOR THE HORDE!” put on a fancy party dress, and proceed to throw your analytical mind out the window because OH MY GOD, THAT FAN IS DRESSED AS AN ARAKKOA!!!!!
Last night was the premiere of Duncan Jones' (Moon) latest film, Warcraft. Based on the Blizzard video game franchise of the same name, Warcraft pits humans against orcs in the ultimate battle for the survival of the world (Azeroth). Nearly three years in the making, the movie features cutting edge special effects from ILM that pushed the boundaries of CGI characters. But can a lore-dense video game be converted into a film for general audiences?
Having been Warcraft trash for nine years, I have no idea. But I wasn”t going to let a lack of objectivity stop me from A) going to my first movie premiere, and B) completing the trifecta of Warcraft publicity I began with the set visit in 2014 and the VFX presentation last month. Which is how I found myself at the TCL Chinese Theater taking selfies with an Alliance
scum soldier and trying to look semi-professional.
I failed. Pretty sure the fans are supposed to be the ones freaking out and demanding photos, but when you”re a fangirl masquerading as press, social norms go out the window. I mean, look at how cool these guys looked! (But somehow I missed the amazing Jamie Lee Curtis!)
As for the movie itself? It”s a love letter to fans of Warcraft. My date for the evening was my co-worker Roth Cornet, and she probably has bruises from how many times I slapped her arm as another Easter Egg appeared. Roth has never played the games, and was not able to share in my enthusiasm of murlocs and bloodthistle. Seeing cities that I”ve ransacked while collecting my “For the Horde!” achievement come to life was a bit overwhelming, like having nostalgia for a place you”ve never been. If anything, the Alliance was a bit bland. I”d have much rather spent an entire movie in the orc perspective. But that”s just my bias. Probably. Maybe.
For general audiences, though? Putting on my critical hat, I can say it”s probably too esoteric. There is just a lot going on. Trying to balance the Alliance and the Horde as complex entities with heroes and villains while creating a coherent and simple plot through line was a Herculean task. One that Warcraft balances unevenly. But with over 12 million players over the years, the fanbase should be large enough to carry the day.
The real fun was at the after party. Hosted at the historic (and allegedly haunted) Roosevelt Hotel, guests were led into a party room bisected into two sides: the Alliance and the Horde. Each appropriately draped in the gaudy gilded gold of Stormwind or the earthy natural hides of the Horde. Obviously, everyone wanted to commemorate their time with some photos, because if you don”t take photos, were you even there? I was not above falling into the gratuitous free publicity trap.
Yes, I am drinking a Shirley Temple. Yes, I am an adult. Fight me.
Other than delightful Sprite and grenadine cocktails (and free booze if you were into that), the coolest snack of the night was the Dragon”s Breath. Throughout the rooms, metal tins smoked ominously. They were full of dry ice and Rice Krispy treats. You had to ask a handler to fish one out for you with a net, but once you popped the snack into your mouth, you were able to breathe “smoke” as the air pockets in the Rice Krispy released the dry ice smoke into your mouth. The closest you”ll get to feeling like one of the Dragon Aspects.
My night ended with me satiated on smokey marshmallows and cherry-flavored sugar, ready to head back to the theater to watch Warcraft a second time. Surely there were Easter Eggs I missed. This movie won”t be for everyone, but it doesn”t have to be. Warcraft arrives in theaters on June 10, 2016