Actually, I’ll tell you how: The promotional material for the Warcraft movie has been atrocious. But that shouldn’t take away the fact that these gifs made by a Polish Warcraft fan are pretty great.
The fan, who goes by Quass on Twitter, has been posting neat little gifs that compare the locations shown in the movie to where they are on the maps of World of Warcraft:
It’s a simple but effective idea. Sure, it’s catering to fans of the game who are probably already going to see the movie, rather than the new audience Warcraft will need if it’s going to make any money, but it’s also advertising that makes sense.
This campaign grounds the movie as a world of fantasy. It has a unified aesthetic that matches the tone of the franchise. It’s about selling the world this movie is set in, as a place you want to see more of, and get lost in. It reminds me almost of Lord of the Rings, where you’d get shots of Tolkien’s vivid maps fading away to the actual location, fantasy being brought to life.
Compare that to the hot messes the Warcraft Movie twitter account has been putting out:
They look awful, and the splash quotes haphazardly pasted over them are about as generic and tonally dissonant as you can get.
These come on the heels of those recent, terribly edited trailers with cheesy rock guitar soundtracks—which instead of focusing on the scope of the world this movie takes place in, like the first trailer did, just repeat the same clichéd “We must save the kingdom!” line from Travis Fimmel’s character like it’s the best moment in the film, over and over.
It’s pretty clear Legendary has little idea of how to show Warcraft to an audience beyond World of Warcraft fans who would already go and see the movie. Which is why you end up with tired MMORPG jokes that literally no one other than the people that would hate this kind of thing would get as ‘advertising’ instead:
(Side bar for those unfamiliar—i.e. the vast majority of the audience going to see this film—“Aggro”, or “threat”, is a concept in video games based on how much attention an enemy pays to you in combat. In a game like World of Warcraft, characters designated as the “Tank” generate threat so enemies hit them rather than a squishy character like a healer. The more you know!)
Just like the video games, right? So cool! They deleted that from their social media accounts. Hopefully out of embarrassment.
I am admittedly an unabashed fan of Warcraft, so I’d like the movie to not be as terrible as every other video game adaptation out there. But Legendary’s approach to selling the movie isn’t exactly instilling me with much hope. It doesn’t seem to be instilling Warcraft director Duncan Jones with much hope either, who’s been rather open with his distaste for the movie’s marketing so far:
In fact, I only learned about those fan made little promos from Jones’ account, who’s been retweeting them on Twitter... while tellingly not retweeting much of the content from the official Warcraft accounts.
It shouldn’t be this hard to advertise a movie about magic and space orcs and people jumping onto giant bird-lions to go stab said space orcs in the face—even if it isn’t a great movie overall, because it’s still got easily marketable stuff like people jumping onto giant bird-lions to go stab space orcs in the face. It really shouldn’t.