So what do I think about it? Well, to begin with I think it’s not entirely easy to make a fair and “objective” evaluation of this little piece of art. Most commenters at WoW-Insider and MMO Champion are super excited, and I can’t help wondering if this excitement isn’t as much about the movie as such, as it is about the fact that the expansion finally is approaching. After spending over a year in the chains of ICC we’re about to break free from the frozen throne and see something else. The very thought of it is cataclysmic.
We WANT this expansion to be everything we dream of so badly, that I think it might affect our judgment a little bit. And you know… there’s no spice in the world that can be compared to hunger. Even something as plain and unsophisticated as a hot dog will taste like heaven when you’re walking home from the movies at 11 pm in the evening.
I’m no different to anyone else in this aspect. A part of me just wants to join the choir of enthusiasm, singing the praise of the new badass dragon and the world that is falling apart. I can’t wait to see the new Stormwind, I can’t wait to see what terror Deathwing will bring over the world. This is a fantastic teaser and I want more!
But if I try to beyond this and look at the cinematic as a piece of movie, I’m not quite as floored as I’d like to be. Don’t misunderstand me: I don’t think it’s bad, on the contrary. Blizzard has the muscles to maintain a standard that few other game producers – if any – can dream of. On a scale from 1 to 6, with 6 as the top grade, I’d give it a 5. So keep this in mind now that I’m about to talk about what I think they could have done better.
I appreciate the glimpses from zones that are redone, the bursting dams, the water flowing, the fall of the goblin statue. I especially like the end where the fire dragon comes cruising in over Stormwind, spreading death and destruction.
However, I don’t feel it in my stomach. I feel distanced as my mind calmly notices that this will be yet another advertising campaign with a male whiskey-dark deep-in-the-throat voice, like in 99 percent of the other commercials. I know people like to hear those voices. It sells for some reason. But doesn’t it get just a little bit old?
As I see the fire dragon flying up and down from the sky, I find my mind wandering away to the Lord of the Rings balrog at the bridge scene in Moria. I suppose there are only so many ways you can illustrate the concept of an evil fire creature? His gap was scarier though and more convincing. For some reason they’ve given Deathwing a severe form of underbite, which makes it a little bit hard to take him seriously. Maybe he should se a dentist?
Lack of people
I think the main problem with the cinematic, the reason why it fails to shake me up properly, is the lack of characters in it, apart from Deathwing. There are falling towers and exploding ships and statues blown into pieces. But where are the inhabitants of Azeroth? Even if the heroes were gone to Northrend, there sure must be some civilians around who will suffer from this terror?
They did a fantastic job creating and showing those landscapes, no doubt about that. But the question is: why would you care about them if they’re apparently empty? For all we know the dragon could roam about in a nature reserve for endangered species after everyone had evacuated the space.
Where are the victims? Where are the people who return to pick up the fight? What’s my role in this?
I want to be touched, and I’m not. I want to be scared, angry, upset, challenged, urged to bring out my dagger and my wand and join the good forces, trying to save this world once again, because there are people and creatures there who I care about.
It takes more than badass effects to make a good movie. You need to tell a story as well. And in order to do that you need some people, not just buildings and rocks.
So 5 out of 6 will be my grade for this movie.
Once again: Blizzard is great at doing this kind of things and I really appreciate the effort they’ve put into the cinematic. However, there’s always room for improvement, reasons to stretch ourselves and look for ways to become better. They’ve still got some things to work on in their storytelling, and I’m sure they will in their next cinematic and in the coming motion picture. Otherwise they wouldn’t be Blizzard.