Duncan Jones Discusses What He Wanted to Accomplish With WARCRAFT
Duncan Jones and Blizzard’s Warcraft film went above and beyond what I thought this movie was going to be. It could have easily turned out to be a complete disaster, but it didn’t! Warcraft is a well-crafted fantasy action film that is unlike any other fantasy film that has been made before. You can read my review of the film here if you haven’t already.
I had the opportunity to attend a press conference with the director and some of the cast of the film, and Jones talked about what his goals were for Warcraft and what he wanted to accomplish. When talking about why he decided to jump on board the project to write and direct it in the first place he said:
“I think one of the things, science fiction in particular, has had a number of different sub-genres over the years. Whether you have a gritty film like Black Runner, 2001, A.I., or Adjustment Bureau. There’s a big spectrum of what science fiction can be, and in fantasy the kind of gorilla in the room is The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The original one by Peter Jackson. It kind of feels like the spectrum of what is fantasy is much smaller than it is in science fiction. So I love the opportunity to maybe try and do a film, which would hopefully reach the same bar as Lord of the Rings, but give fantasy a little bit of a new voice and a new feel and that’s what we tried to do with Warcraft.”
Lord of the Rings is considered to be one of the greatest fantasy film franchises ever adapted for the big screen. Jones explained how he wanted to make Warcraft different and stand on its own:
“The Lord of the Ring really set the bar as to what fantasy films should be. Like I said, I think fantasy has got a much smaller set of films which are really the things that you aspire to make when you make a fantasy film. Peter Jackson, I mean I’ve been out there, and the workshops the studio, everything there is just phenomenal, what’s down there. And then obviously the landscapes in New Zealand lend themselves to this fantasy story telling. We wanted to find a way to do it differently. To give you guys a little bit of a rival. It would be nice if there was a little bit of a rival out there for fantasy films. So we just wanted to create a spectacle and give it an energy that was a bit different but hopefully achieved the same level of success.”
I honestly think he accomplished that. I believe there are going to be some people out there who will think this movie is on par or even better than The Lord of the Rings, and that’s a great thing to have. It’s awesome to build new fantasy franchise fanbase! The director went on to discuss hitting a high standard of quality for the film saying:
“This is a film with a whole different level of anything I’ve done before. When I made Moon from writer it to finishing the film was 12 months. That was everything done. This film was three and a half year of my life, so it’s really more like a marathon then any kind of traditional film. But I think maintaining that… we’re striving to make something that is amazing in all qualities whether it’s the wardrobe, the set design, working with this amazing cast of actors. All the time you try to push them to do the best work they can. I’m grateful that everyone just kind of stuck with me and that we were all able to believe in making the same thing. We all had the same ambition to make this work.”
They did make it work. They gave us such an incredible film that was both epic in scale but also told an intimate story of survival. When talking about adapting the film from the game franchise Jones said:
“We went right back to the very beginning of those games and the first story of the Orcs and the humans, you know, that first contact moment, the first meeting of these two cultures. Now in this storytelling from the games there are characters that we use in our film but they were probably painted in such broad brushstrokes as far as who those characters were and it was my job and absolutely the actor jobs to find a way to add the detail, put in the nuance, and add the humanity and depth to these characters. But with the way the script is structured, I think the relationships made sense, you understood who was effected by who and what they’re relationships were. We tried to put in as many family ties and things that really grounded it and gave it a reality as we could. It’s really a testament to the amazing cast of actors that I had the chance to work with that it actually feels like real people.”
He expanded a bit more on the rich and complex characters in the story and how he made them work for the story, saying:
“It’s a bit of a structural juggle, it was always going to be a challenge and I like those kinds of challenges. But I think what Lord of the Rings and Tolkien did so well and kind of established in those books and films was something which is now maybe feels a little bit dated. The idea that the humans and the good looking character were all the good guys and the monsters are all the bad guys. That worked then and now we have an opportunity to try something different and the idea that all the races have heroes in them, their perspectives are all completely reasonable if you look at things through their eyes.”
Warcraft comes out this week on June 10th, and I really hope you go out to see it. For some reason, some people aren’t liking the movie, but don’t let that sway you. This is truly a fantastic film that I really hope is a success.