While there are some notable examples of franchises making wizardry cool in ways that spell big bank for creators, publishers and movie studios alike, most would be hard pressed to find one that didn’t use children or preteens as their initial jumping off point when it comes to growing a loyal and ravenous clientele.
J.K. Rowling, her Harry Potter books, movies and Universal City theme park ride, anyone?
However, when it comes to the movie “Warcraft,” green lit by Universal Pictures on the strength of the fan base enjoyed by it’s precursor, the multiplayer video game Worlds of Warcraft, unlike the Harry Potter phenomenon and the financially buoyant “Adventure Time” series, World of Warcraft doesn’t come from a place that is particularly childlike or fanciful (as in being more ‘I believe in magic’ friendly) when stacked up against the blood thirsty and more tangible lust for power ( as in, I believe in beating the hell out of others in order to win prestige, money and women) that defines those who tend to flock to World of Warcraft.
This being what it is, maybe asking people to get excited about a young unknown in Ben Schnetzer as the “cool” wizard Khadgar, opposite a charismatic former Calvin Klein underwear model in Travis Fimmel, who plays Anduin Lothar, and the established cinematic eye candy that is Paula Patton, playing the tough but beautiful ( even with horns coming out of her face) Garona Halforcen, is a bit of a hard sell.
Truth be told, “Warcraft” is not getting much love – scoring extremely low on Rotten Tomatoes, and getting a number of pretty public dressing downs by many reputable movie critics.
Nevertheless, Schnetzer has taken his task very seriously and is looking to bypass the thicket of critical ill will and hit a home run when it comes to the actual moviegoers and World of Warcraft fans.
“Wielding magic in real life situations – that’s an exciting thing to play with and go for,” says Schnetzer of the task of making Khadgar real and compelling for audiences. “We all had extensive discussions about what role magic plays in the film and in this world and really broke down the mechanics of it, ” enthused Schnetzer.
“You need to know exactly what you are doing when you are casting a certain spell, or else it’s just not going to read and it’s not going to feel real.”
Hopefully Schnetzer finds that the reality that he is selling as Khadgar is one that the fans are willing to buy – if not the critics.
“Warcraft” starring Paula Patton, Travis Fimmel, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebell, Robert Kazinsky, Daniel Wu and Ben Schnetzer is in theaters now.