The Explainer explains: Warcraft: The Beginning | Virgin Media
The Explainer explains: Warcraft: The Beginning

The Explainer explains: Warcraft: The Beginning



Every once in a while, our guest blogger The Explainer explains to us all a phenomenon with which we might not be familiar: think of it like crib notes for the movie industry. This week, The Explainer explains... Warcraft: The Beginning, available now on Virgin Movies.


Hello there, Explainer. Nice to see you. What in the world is Warcraft?

When you can’t unlock your level 100 Warlock

When you can’t unlock your level 100 Warlock

I'd say you must have been living under a rock to have not heard of Warcraft, but statistics show that most hermits are actually fully-fledged Warcraft subscribers. It's only one of the biggest-selling and most popular videogames of all time. A massively-multiplayer online role-playing game, or MMORPG for short, although no one ever actually uses that abbreviation in real life because obviously it's a total mouthful and therefore is not helpful in the slightest, Warcraft allows players to adopt a fantasy avatar and quest with other players around the world.

Ah, I think I know this one. My nephew plays it a lot. He's very pale.

That sounds about right. The game became known as “Warcrack” due to its addictive nature. The levelling system keeps adventurers online by slowly teasing out player upgrades and new treats. So sure, it's great that you just earned an Enchanted Coracle, but FYI your cat hasn't eaten for a fortnight and your wife left you in February.

An expert in videogames now, are we?

Far from it. But Warcraft recently joined a long and very depressing line of videogames that were deemed appropriate to adapt into movies. Spider-Man director Sam Raimi was originally set to helm the Warcraft movie but he pulled out, so Moon director Duncan Jones stepped in, rewrote the project and worked with creators Blizzard to make the best dang Warcraft movie he possibly could. He balanced the story so the Orcs were just as sympathetic as the humans and gave characters depth and pathos to ensure there was an emotional core among all the big-budget special effects.

So how did it go?

Warcraft: The Beginning has its fans, but the critics – save for a few – weren't especially kind. The movie flopped in the US, which was a surprise: at one point, the game had 12 million subscribers, but the film only made $47 million domestically and was #3 in the box-office charts in its opening weekend behind Now You See Me 2 and The Conjuring 2.

Those Plaguebats are really getting on my wick

Those Plaguebats are really getting on my wick

Blimey. So no sequel then?

Not so fast. There is a silver lining for fans of the movie. Warcraft opened big in Asia, and we mean super-duper-extra-extra-large big: by the end of its run, the movie had earned over $200 million from China alone, making it the fourth most successful Hollywood movie in the country's history, outgrossing Star Wars: The Force Awakens by $80 million. So when the dust had settled worldwide, Warcraft made a very respectable $433 million. Hollywood still don't really know how to cater for the global market, so no decision has been made on a sequel one way or the other just yet. But money talks.

I bet the Chinese version is good.

Y-you understand it's the exact same movie, just dubbed in Chinese, right?

Um, of course.

Good. For what it's worth, the movie is already undergoing a critical re-appropriation, not six months after its original release. Pomade enthusiast Mark Kermode is leading from the front and released a video online urging critics to give it another chance, claiming that the movie's press screening – which took place the night before its UK release, playing havoc with print deadlines – sent a message to journalists that the movie was beyond saving.

Wow, film critics are total babies.

You don't know the half of it.

I'm convinced. I trust Mark Kermit implicitly. I'm going to watch Warcraft: The Beginning on Virgin Movies tonight!

Excellent. Just avoid the video game if you have an addictive personality – I can guarantee that you'll get so sucked in you'll forget to process my invoice.

Hey, it says here it's free to play and easy to sign up! I'll just give them my bank details, and...


Watch Warcraft: The Beginning on Virgin Movies. Find it in On Demand > Movies.