Saturday, 29 November 2014

Thoughts on the Warcraft Film Based on Zhang's Fanart

Blizzard or Legendary or whoever was in charge during the Blizzcon decided to show those attending a trailer or something of the Warcraft film. My issue with the whole thing, was that nobody was really sharing any details about what they have seen, and how accurate all that really was. Well, thanks to Yanmo Zhang, his good memory and artistic talent that is not so any more. If we trust him, that what he saw and then drew was truly shown, then we can to some degree decide for ourselves what to think about the upcoming Warcraft film without everyone who attended telling us how awesome was the orc face, or how real the emotions felt. I guess I care far much more about lore and "historical" accuracy than I do about the whole range of emotions an orc is capable of. So, let us examine what was all the excitement about, and if it is justified.

First five pictures are showing Stormwind, King Llane, the throne room, and the armoury. No problems, all is fine for all I care. The only gripe, is the armoury because weapons and armours shown on Blizzcon were ornamented as some sort of ceremonial gear, and not something you would wear on day to day basis for all the regular duties. But then, if the state is able to finance all this gear, well we can conclude that Stormwind kingdom is as rich as Marcus Licinius Crassus. Or more realistically, on the verge of financial collapse. I will let you decide for yourself. Just remember that Defias Brotherhood formed years later because somebody refused to pay the bills.

Next we have the four pictures of Draenor and orcs. And here is where the problems really begin for me. You see, the first picture clearly presents green lightning on brown background, thus establishing that next set of images, and the colour of orcs is not an artistic decision of Zhang, but instead the accurate depiction of orcs as they were shown in the trailer.

The picture clearly shows Hellfire Peninsula. We can presume that this is before the very start of the First War, but still after the orcs already attacked and defeated the Draenei.

On this picture we see an orc wearing a belt with the Horde symbol on it. That is great. Only one major flaw. The orc in this picture should be green. Green like that lightning in the previous picture. All orcs without exception were already green and tainted by demonic magic during the work on the Dark Portal. That is because they were exposed to the demon magic for a long period of time. The only group of orcs that did not get green, were the sick all the way back in Nagrand which were held in quarantine and were deemed useless by the rest of the Horde.

Next we have another picture of orcs. Once again, they are not green. That is a problem. After that comes the painting of how they carved out the Dark Portal out of the solid rock. I am fine with that, nothing to add here. Looks great.

Intermezzo with two horrible pictures of first Dalaran floating in the air, and then some High Elves. Let us focus on the Dalaran first. The First War was fought, won, and lost by the Horde, and Stormwind alone. There was nobody else. There was no Alliance at this time. Alliance was formed after Stormwind lost the First War as the opposition to the unstoppable Horde. Dalaran came into play only after the Second War. When King Terenas of Lordaeron wanted to imprison all the orc in the internment camps and needed additional funds to do so. Before that, Dalaran had nothing to do with fighting the Horde.

Same goes for the High Elves. Even if those are shown to be from Dalaran it would be all the same if they have shown the High Elves of Quel'Thalas. They did not partake in the First War. The High Elves took part in the Second War after Anduin Lothar invoked the ancient promise Anasterian, King of High Elves gave to one of Lothar's ancestors, and the Amani Trolls allied with the Horde and started burning the elven forests, but in no way were the High Elves involved in the First War, which we know this film is supposed to cover.

And last we have another orc face. And once again, this orc is brown, instead of green. Zhang says this is supposed to be Durotan. As far as I recall, Durotan was not in quarantine with all the sick and poor back in the day. When he was finally bansihed from the Horde with all the Frostwolves, he was as green as everyone else. Even he, the most noble and honourable and I don't even know what else quality you can pin on the orc was as green as any other orc. Because the effect of the demon magic.

I would like to end before I bring this post to the end that I am not pedantic to this degree just for the sake of it. I saw other flops in fantasy genre that all bet everything on looking great, and magnificent CGI effect but in the end because they threw the "lore" and the story to the lions they flopped like nothing before them. On of the greatest examples in recent years is Eragon. A film the world praised for its visually stunning aesthetics and beautiful design of the dragon and whatnot. Yet that film deviated from the story in the book. And because they made something on their own, they failed greatly. Same argument could be made for Clash of the Titans, or Immortals. If there is story, stick to it. Do not deviate from it just for the sake of general appeal.

Compromise when it comes to the Art is the greatest sin you can commit. Devil is in the details, and as it appears both Legendary and Blizzard threw caution to the wind, disregarded the details, and decided to make a film with a broader appeal even if they have to feed their creation to the wolves called mediocrity in the process. Warcraft's story might be cliche, done hundred times allready, but it is still Warcraft story. Stick to it for sake of us all. Nobody wants another Eragon.

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