It won’t matter about reviews, in the end. It never really has. You only have to look at last year’s enormous Summer hit about the dinosaurs to grasp that actually, it doesn’t matter what a middle aged guy who’s never played your video game actually has to say about the Warcraft Movie to begin with. Because this movie is not for you, America. When you understand that most of the finance for the film was Chinese, and that the eleven locations it’s already opened in don’t include the USA? This is not about creating a critical success on home turf, anything but. Ironically you could argue that the cynical nature of large portions of the ‘accepted’ Western audience would doom such endeavours to failure to begin with. What isn’t noted in the Variety article on opening is that Chinese pre-sale figures are frankly staggering: according to this article the midnight opening will net two million dollars which makes Warcraft the sixth best ever in the Country’s history.
That’s really nothing to sniff at.
For me, this is the only review that really matters. Mark Kermode’s something of a British Film institution, and is pretty much the voice of reason (in my mind) amongst UK film critics, and if he likes it? It’s a good movie. The fact he also has kids that game is a source of some satisfaction, as is his comparisons of Warcraft to John Carter are significant, as that film performed remarkably well in the Russian market and indicates that just because a film does poorly in its country of origin is no indicator of final worth. I’d strongly suggest giving the review a listen, if only for the audio clip that gives away that Legion’s probably more of a film tie-in to The Beginning that ANY of us actually realised.
I’ll be seeing the Movie on June 4th, and I’ll let you in on a secret: I wasn’t really that bothered about content until I heard Mark Kermode’s review. He talks about Duncan Jones perhaps struggling to get his fingerprints on the narrative, but ultimately succeeding, and his mention of women as strong role models was particuarly interesting considering all the fuss there’s been leading up to release (and via the marketing) that has perhaps suggested this would be otherwise. Mostly however, the ‘fathers and sons’ metaphor is front and centre, and that was how this whole thing was pitched to begin with. In this case therefore, I’m listening to someone who’s opinion I trust, yet not revising my persona opinion until I’ve actually seen the Movie.
When I have, you’ll know about it.