SEOUL, June 13 (Korea Bizwire) – Warcraft, the latest fantasy blockbuster film, hit Korean theaters last Thursday and is competing fiercely against director Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden for the Korean box office title.
Warcraft portrays a predestined warfare between Orcs and humans based on Blizzard Entertainment’s 1994 real-time strategy game of the same title with over 100 million users worldwide. The game was a big success for the company, which has released several sequels to the original game with the latest release being World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor in 2014.
The first mentions of the film adaptation came in 2006, when Legendary Pictures and Blizzard Entertainment announced that they were teaming up. After a decade of rumors and high expectations, the film has finally hit the screens.
But this is not the first time that a movie was based on a videogame.
Super Mario Bros. (1993) was one of the first film adaptations of a popular videogame. In 1994, the movies Double Dragon and Street Fighter were also based on videogames of the same titles. But these movies weren’t commercially successful. Instead, such adaptations were often criticized by the fans of the original games.
But then came Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in 2001, starring Angelina Jolie. Despite negative reviews, the movie was a box office success, grossing over $270 million and reaffirming the potential for film production based on videogames.
Resident Evil is another film franchise, and has been praised for fresh adaptation of the original videogame Biohazard (in Japan). Biohazard is a zombie-themed horror game, first released in 1996. The first film adaptation was released in 2002, and the sixth and final installment of the series is expected for release in January 2017. The five films so far have grossed over $900 million worldwide.
Other successful videogames such as Final Fantasy, Silent Hill, and Prince of Persia have also been remade into movies over the years.
Reviews of such adaptations are still mixed, despite commercial successes.
“The story was easy to understand for me because I’ve already played the game,” said a netizen after watching the latest Warcraft movie. “But my friend who has not yet played the game didn’t seem to appreciate the story. Yet again, I feel that it has failed to surpass the limitations that videogame-based movies have long been criticized for.”
“I didn’t know that this game had so much more to the story than what I already know about,” said another Warcraft moviegoer. “It was fun and definitely exceeded my expectations.”
“Successful film adaptations of videogames often only capture the essence of the original storyline and come up with entirely new narratives,” said Park Su-jin, a graduate visual content student from Dongseo University. “But it’s still important that producers stay true to the original characters of the videogames, because fans usually have high expectations for the way that they’re portrayed.”
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)